Why did we unionize? The answer is multifaceted and there is no one single cause. Mismanagement, firing entire teams, a lack of professionalism towards staff, institutional racism inside our organization and in the services we administer, too much focus on funding a building expansion instead of investment into our communities, and on and on…

However, there was one galvanizing moment in late June that helped many food bankers see the errors in our ways and made everyone in unison demand change…

Nykki was an incredible Neighborhood Representative, who developed programs and ensured that food served the most vulnerable in the Bayview neighborhood in San Francisco. She, like many others before had noticed the ways in which the Food Bank’s programming did not get at the root cause of why people are hungry – institutional racism. What made Nykki different is that she had the courage to speak up in the workplace and demand from our leadership that institutional racism must be part of the agenda to end hunger in San Francisco and Marin Counties. Hunger, she said, is a racial equity issue!

In her crusade, she helped many recognize that the first step towards a more racially equitable future in the Bay Area begins by dealing with racism closer to home. With compassion and passion, she helped food bankers recognize that we must first deal with the racist behavior that had been allowed to take root inside the organization between managers and employees, the haves and have nots, before we could attempt to make social change in the broader Bay Area community. 

Unsurprisingly, Nykki’s words were not welcomed by the leadership team and in late June 2019, she left the organization, but not before sending an impassioned plea to all staff at the food bank. 

That open letter is attached below, with permission from Nykki herself. We are forever grateful to her and thankful that she helped us see a brighter and more equitable future. 

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