“This is a time when that which divides us can seem much more obvious than that which unites us,” Stribling said. “But I have been a part of N Street Village for 14 years now, and I am more convinced than ever that we are all more alike than we are different. So tonight, we are here to make our unity visible and to lift up what connects us. This is our compassion economy. And we see this currency at work every day in the halls of N Street Village.”
More than 900 people attended the fundraising gala.
“All of us are someday subject to crisis and loss. All of us someday need the support of others,” Stribling said. “Not one of us is disabled from the capacity to help others and no one among us is immune to the effects of kindness and connection.”
“So when a day of loss or crisis comes for me, or when that day comes for you,” she said. Or for any whom we love, or for any woman in crisis, I wish for there to always be an N Street Village, a place which upholds our dignity and strength, a place where our unique gifts are recognized and needed, a place where we are known and loved and where we belong.”
Two-time Grammy nominee Andra Day performed her hit, “Rise Up.”
“You’re broken down and tired / Of living life on a merry go round / And you can’t find the fighter / But I see it in you so we gonna walk it out.”
Day performed with the N Street Village and Luther Place Memorial Church Ambassadors of Praise.
The gala was chaired by Hillary Baltimore and Sandra McCoy. The N Street Village Founders Award was presented to Ruth and Arne Sorenson, who co-chaired the “Keeping Our Promise Capital Campaign.”
During the gala celebration, three women, whose lives were changed by N Street Village, received the 2017 Steinbruck Award, which organizers say is “presented annually to women whose leadership, persistence, and determination reflect that of Erna and John, co-founders of N Street Village.”
Catherine Hawkins cared for her mother in Memphis for years. After her mother died, she moved to D.C. to be with family, but had difficulty finding work that would cover the high cost of rent.
After staying with her family for several months, she moved into a motel until her money ran out. She found herself homeless for the first time in her life. She met a woman at Union Station who told her about N Street.
Thomure Queen, whose mother was addicted to drugs while pregnant with her, was 14 when she learned that her mother had been slain. Her life spiraled into addiction, abusive relationships and imprisonment. Last year, Queen found N Street, where she stayed in emergency and temporary housing and enrolled in the D.C. Central Kitchen culinary training program. She recovered from her addiction and moved into her own apartment at Phyllis Wheatley YMCA. In January 2016, she graduated from the D.C. Central Kitchen Training Program.
Peggie Thomas, who grew up in D.C., lost jobs because of alcoholism. In 2009, Thomas lost her house. She found N Street and entered in the Village Recovery Housing Program. She created a theatrical play about her life, which was performed in 2009 to a sold-out crowd at the Kennedy Center. She celebrated one year of sobriety in January.
“I feel proud of myself today,” she wrote. “I am an example of what is possible.”