In case you haven’t had a chance to chat with our fantastic Advocacy Organizer, Tapiwa Jere, we’re thrilled to introduce her in this special employee spotlight. Tapiwa plays a crucial role in supporting and pushing our legislative agenda every day, ensuring that policies and bills receive the attention they need to pass. Let’s take a closer look at Tapiwa’s invaluable contributions and the impact she’s making on our advocacy efforts at Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King and Kittitas Counties.
Championing our Cause: Tapiwa is the face behind our advocacy newsletter, keeping everyone on our list informed and engaged. She’s also responsible for sending out alerts when you text HABITAT to 231-HABITAT (231-422-4828), which we should all be subscribed to already! Tapiwa’s dedication extends to writing the letters we send to legislators, simplifying the process for us to make an impact with just a click of a button. Additionally, she organizes and encourages our homeowners, volunteers, and citizens to become advocates, reminding us all of the power of our voices and the importance of being heard. Tapiwa emphasizes, “Sometimes it can be a very slow process and it takes a lot of patience.”
Building Partnerships: As part of her role, Tapiwa works diligently to build grassroots support and establish relationships with other organizations and advocates in the community. Collaborations with organizations like Futurewise, Eastside for All, and WLIHA strengthen our network and amplify our collective efforts towards affordable housing solutions. Tapiwa particularly enjoys connecting with our homeowners, finding inspiration in their stories and their unwavering determination. Their firsthand experiences help shape our advocacy work, ensuring that real people’s voices are at the forefront of the policies we seek to influence.
Growing Advocacy and Support: One of Tapiwa’s goals is to expand our database of advocates, with a specific focus on engaging our Habitat homeowners. Having homeowners testify during sessions and increasing their participation garners greater support and conviction from legislators and fellow advocates. Tapiwa recognizes the profound impact this has on our advocacy work, stating, “Their passion and fire ignites more support and conviction from legislators and other advocates.” By growing our support base, Tapiwa aims to see more funding and policies passed, creating meaningful change for affordable housing in our community.
Advice and Recharging: For those venturing into policy work, Tapiwa offers a word of advice: be kind to yourself and remember that progress is happening, even if it may seem slow. She encourages everyone to keep going, emphasizing the importance of self-care and recharging along the way. Tapiwa finds solace in sleep, indulges in music (r&b, pop, rap, and country), enjoys shopping, cooking, and cherishes conversations with her mom.
Gratitude and Support: Tapiwa holds her family dear to her heart, with her brother being an incredible artist and her mom serving as the most influential person in her life. She draws inspiration from her mom, who works for the UN at the African Union Development Agency (AUDA), witnessing firsthand the impact of policy work and the pursuit of positive change. Tapiwa is immensely grateful for the help and support she receives from our volunteers and urges everyone to take simple actions, such as submitting letters to policymakers and sharing them with friends, family, and even strangers on the street!
Thanks to Tapiwa’s unwavering dedication and the collective efforts of our advocacy team, we can compel government officials to change policies that hinder affordable homeownership. We extend our heartfelt appreciation to Tapiwa for her outstanding work in advancing our mission.