written by Frankie Blackburn, IMPACT's Founding Executive Director
IMPACT Silver Spring lost a very dear member of our network on August 24, 2022. People often refer to me as the founder of IMPACT Silver Spring, but the truth is that IMPACT, true to its underlying values, was founded by a team of community members who brought diverse backgrounds and talents to the founding table. Two of those most impactful members were Jim Henkelman-Bahn and Jackie Bahn-Henkelman.
In 1998, this team met every Monday morning at 7:30 a.m. hashing out our different perspectives on vision, mission, and principles. Jackie and Jim showed up to offer their deep skills in group development and social change right when I was about to give up as the volunteer convener of our team. With their help, we made the difficult decision to design a nine-month learning experience for 20+ diverse community members (which was eventually offered every year for 8 years), a decision which provided IMPACT the kind of foundational soil from which many blossoms of social action have bloomed and continue to bloom in Silver Spring.
Most local funders and partners did not understand this decision. We were able to offer this deep cross racial/cultural learning experience to over 300 Silver Spring residents mostly because Jim, Jackie and their friends, Bess Howard and Mary McCurty (and others) volunteered their time, time which was very skilled and high quality. Today, one of my life joys is reconnecting with IMPACT network members who recount the valuable lessons we all learned from this team on how to effectively communicate and form trusting relationships with others who are very different from ourselves.
One aspect of Jim which I carry with me is the humble way in which he truly walked his talk every single day of his life. Not only did he teach the tools of effective social justice, but he repeatedly showed up, in small and large ways, for a wide range of change efforts, not caring about or needing recognition. I am a far better social change agent because of the many lessons I learned from and observed in Jim Henkelman-Bahn.
Please join me Silver Spring friends in remembering the many ways Jim Henkelman-Bahn charted a path and way for us to follow as we continue to build thriving, diverse communities. I will be at his Celebration of Life Service on October 29 at 10:30 a.m. at Christ Congregational
Church, 9525 Colesville Rd, Silver Spring, 20901 and hope to see some of you there as well. Here is a link for a zoom option: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83265716247