MISSION STATEMENTTo cultivate innovative services, in partnership with our community, to empower low-income people to meet their vital needs and achieve self-sufficiency.
VISION STATEMENTWe envision healthy, thriving communities where people are free of poverty, hunger and homelessness.
A Brief HistoryThe Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 created community action programs. The act defined a community action program as one that “…provides services, assistance and other activities aimed at eliminating poverty or its causes by developing economic opportunities, improving human performance, motivation and productivity, or bettering the conditions under which people live, learn and work….”
Blue Mountain Action Council is by intent, vision, and definition, a community action partnership. The formal incorporation was on February 3, 1966.
Beginning with the creation of a Community Service Center in 1967, programs and services offered by BMAC have grown to include job training, energy assistance, food distribution, minor home repair, special needs housing, housing for homeless families, legal assistance, asset building, adult literacy, Long Term Care Ombudsman, weatherization, lead paint abatement, Commitment to Community, AmeriCorps and Supportive Services to Veteran Families.
The agency strives to stay flexible and adaptable with regards to government policy, funding and level of need. Through the vicissitudes and upheaval of the last 49 years, BMAC remains a primary community resource, consistently providing a much-needed sheltering umbrella of services for Walla Walla, Garfield and Columbia counties.
Black Lives Matter
Blue Mountain Action Council (BMAC) stands with The Washington State Community Action Partnership in its belief that:
“Black Lives Matter and stands with those taking that message to the streets against a racist system of policing. The endless cycle of violence in our country, rooted in our original sin of slavery, must end. Washingtonians, especially White Washingtonians, must commit to unlearning Racism and dismantling White Supremacy in service of Racial Equity. Justice and peace will only come through our commitment to these principles and by following the leadership of Communities of Color. If we fail to take action rooted in this reality, then unrest and the despair of poverty will continue to fill the vacuum of moral leadership.
While this is far from a complete list, we say the names lost to racist policing and vigilante violence emboldened by Systemic Racism: George Floyd, David McAtee, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, Martin Luther King, Jr., Emmett Till. Our hearts go out to the families and communities whose grief can only be staunched with justice.
America has failed to confront Systemic Racism not because the solutions aren’t available to us. Black and other Communities of Color have raised the alarm against over investment in incarceration and militarized policing for decades. Elected leaders and advocates must embrace new perspectives and harness the will to radically redirect resources toward the real building blocks of equitable, thriving communities: housing, food security, health care, education, jobs, and more. Nothing short of this is necessary to end Racism and build community resilience against intergenerational poverty.
Furthermore, as the first state impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic, we recognize Systemic Racism has exacerbated the health crisis and contributed to unrest. Black, Latinx, and Native communities have gotten sicker and died at higher rates than White communities. Black unemployment in Washington was at least twice that of Whites before the Pandemic and all indications are that the gap is widening. Asian-American communities, especially Chinese American and East Asian peoples, have experienced racist violence and decreased patronage of their businesses”
Now more than ever BMAC is called back to the promise of community action agencies and our roots in the Civil Rights Movement and the War on Poverty. These dual influences mean that we are tasked with challenging racism and classism through education, advocacy, and legislative change focused on economic and racial equity. BMAC plans to engage more fully in anti-racist work by focusing on improving our capacity as an organization. We will complete the following tasks in 2020:
- Complete an anti-racist education and training for board members and staff
- Complete a critical review of hiring practices and Human Resource policies
- Complete a program evaluation to identify and remedy barriers to equitable service
Our work will not end here. A critical evaluation of our capacity to serve people of color and maintain anti-racist policies is a vital first step toward engaging in broader community and state-based anti-racist work.
Adopted by the BMAC Board of Directors on August 27, 2020