Dámaris Donado: Caught in the Act of Generosity
Before her election to the Board of Directors in January of 2022, Dámaris Donado was visited by the chair of the Leadership Succession Committee. The committee was intentionally seeking diversity among its leadership and hoped she would consider becoming a board member. She writes, “As a person of color, I stood speechless before this white-identified congregant who was asking if I’d be willing to journey together on this spiritual development. I was being called to do more social justice work for a faith I deeply love. How could I say no?” She could have decided she was too busy and spent from her job, which also consists of social justice work. That she didn’t shows her generosity of spirit and commitment to the important social justice work she now leads as co-chair of the 8th Principle Task Force.
The Task Force’s mission is to “guide the congregation to explore the benefits and challenges of diversity, inclusion, and equitable church practices.” Their Why is to “develop a multicultural, antiracist Beloved church community where all truly feel welcomed.” Dámaris emphasizes we should not focus on product (the upcoming vote) but process. The process all members participate in is the point, not an inconvenience. When she’s weary, she sits with herself and gets back to the Why. She contemplates the difference between what she wants to do and what she needs to do. She asks, if she does what is needed, is that enough? The answer: YES.
Dámaris meditates each morning, focusing on her breath. She is an introvert, though her work focuses on interacting with others. So, she fills her cup with solitude. In addition to her meditation practice, she loves yoga and walks outdoors.
Dámaris first volunteered with children’s Religious Education, and then with the extended family group she and her family joined. These experiences helped connect her with other members, as does her participation in a Covenant Group. When the pandemic began, her job transitioned to being over the computer, and on weekends, she couldn’t bring herself to log into Zoom for virtual services. She says there was a hole in her life during this time. But now, she is deeply connected again, attending board, Task Force, and Covenant Group meetings. When she was asked to serve, she found she couldn’t say no, and we as a congregation are so grateful she could not.