For this year’s
Annual Fund Drive, we celebrate Martha Thompson’s contributions
to IMPACT Chicago. Martha is retiring at the end of 2020 after over three decades
of IMPACT service. Throughout these years, Martha worked with others to build
consensus and help promote empowerment self-defense across Chicagoland, as well
as nationally and internationally. Her IMPACT Chicago work spanned many
different leadership activities, including:
- shaping our organizational structure and culture
- developing curricula and class plans
- drawing upon the latest research to inform our curricula and pedagogy
- teaching the Core Program, Advanced programs, and workshops
- training IMPACT and Empowerment Self-Defense instructors
- recruiting volunteers and staff
- locating office and program space
- coordinating our social media communication
- building relationships with violence-prevention and empowerment organizations, frequently securing grants to partner with them
- representing IMPACT Chicago within national and international self-defense organizations
- laying a foundation for IMPACT Chicago’s future.
contributions have been invaluable and IMPACT Chicago is deeply
appreciative of all her time, energy, and expertise. Martha has worked and
connected with many, many, many graduates and supporters over the years. And,
while we are not able to have a big party due to the pandemic, we’ve asked her to
write this year’s letter as a way to share her insights and share her retirement news
with you directly. We ask you to join with Martha to help make our future work a
reality by making a donation today.
Like every other organization, the pandemic affected IMPACT Chicago. We started the year with a substantial roster of workshops for other organizations and waiting lists for many of the programs we offer directly. For the safety of participants and instructors, we have canceled our in-person programs through the end of the year.
Although we were all disappointed by these cancellations (e.g. I didn’t get to teach my last Core Skills Program), IMPACT Chicago has demonstrated the resilience and teamwork that has helped us through ups and downs over the last three decades. We developed an online self-defense program which we have already successfully offered several times; we have streamlined our virtual communication and updated documents; and we have held two organizational dialogues about racism, acknowledging our strong organizational foundation for anti-racist work, identifying ways that we can do better, and setting goals for doing better.
Our Team—Admin, Board, and Instructors—has shifted over the decades and so many of us continue to donate generously. While circumstances and people change, our continued shared commitment to providing high-quality empowerment self-defense training has not.
What a privilege for me to have worked collaboratively for over three decades to envision, build, and continue to grow an organization dedicated to creating a world where all people can live safely and with dignity. What a privilege to have witnessed so many courageously transforming their lives and their vision of themselves, expanding their circles of support, and aiming to build safer communities for all.