Author Archives for Gibrán Rivera

November 30, 2015

An Evolving Relationship: Goodbye from Gibrán

Emergence-001

Photo credit: http://www.kierandkelly.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Emergence-001.png

Today marks my last day at the Interaction Institute for Social Change. This has been my professional home for the last 10 years. IISC is the community that has shaped me and my capacity to fulfill my life’s purpose. I am eternally indebted to this place. This is the platform that has allowed me to make my contribution to our quest for liberation. I leave with love, appreciation and commitment to our evolving relationship. Read More

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March 19, 2015

Big Democracy and Protest

Image credit: The Guardian

Here is the fact: one segment of the population suffers daily humiliation from the sanctioned authorities. These humiliations too often lead to the most tragic of outcomes – murder by police. Another segment of the population, a much larger and dominant segment, does not have any direct experience of this sort of injustice. So they deny that it exists or that really matters that much. And here is where we find ourselves. Read More

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March 16, 2015

Deep Work Culture

I’ve long said that the ways in which work and organizational life are changing should be advantageous to those of us committed to social movements. Our organizational imperatives should never supersede our movement’s imperative. We should be willingly able to discard any organizational structure that does not serve our ultimate purpose. Read More

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February 27, 2015

History is Here Today

When the injustice done to Mike Brown and Eric Garner unfolded before our very eyes we witnessed the racial fault lines in this country as they made themselves painfully obvious. I witnessed anger, misunderstanding and resentment. I saw an oppressed community blamed, questioned and invalidated when we chose to protest and scream at injustice.

This is what happens when people don’t understand history. It is what happens when people don’t co-exist in community, in the context of authentic relationship.

It is what happens when we don’t understand that structural oppression is manifested across generations.

Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror, the horrific report released by the Equal Justice Initiative, and reported by the New York Times, is a painful but helpful way to give historical context to people’s rage.

The report names 4,000 lynchings between 1877 and 1950. 1950 was not too long ago; do you know anyone over 65?

It is good to claim our nation’s contribution to the idea of freedom and democracy. And it is also impossible to skip over the darker parts of our history. All of history is with us today.

“That was a long time ago” simply isn’t good enough.

Let us have the courage to face where we come from and let us have the dignity to right our wrongs.

#BlackLivesMatterLynchingReportCOVER Read More

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February 24, 2015

A Good Board Report

Today the role of the organization is in question. We make things happen through networks. Governance still matters, for both networks and organizations. Most of our models are obsolete; they don’t work so well. It is up to us to re-imagine governance because accountability is important.

I’ve seen Web of Change evolve over the years, and like to think I am part of its evolution. I am consistently impressed by the way this community is willing to transform and to govern itself.

Following is a link to the best board report I’ve ever seen. Can more of us get this good please?

Web of Change Board Report

Web of change participants around bonfire.

www.webofchange.com

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February 19, 2015

Smart Teams

Appreciating our colleague, Maureen White, for bringing our attention to recent research on smart teams. She highlighted a couple of things when she shared the articles, and I thought it important to share them with you.

The smartest teams were distinguished by three characteristics:

  1. Their members contributed more equally to the team’s discussions, rather than letting one or two people dominate the group.
  2. Their members scored higher on a test called Reading the Mind in the Eyes, which measures how well people can read complex emotional states from images of faces with only the eyes visible.
  3. Teams with more women outperformed teams with more men. Indeed, it appeared that it was not “diversity” (having equal numbers of men and women) that mattered for a team’s intelligence, but simply having more women.

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February 18, 2015

A Leader-ful Movement

We are living through the early days of the next civil rights movement. It is an exhilarating moment. No, it does not read like the linear narrative of our history books and movement building manuals. That is because books and manuals are usually written with the benefit of hindsight to weave a story together. This movement is emergent and it takes a sharp eye to understand it.

Tip #1: You and Oprah should let go of old definitions of leadership

Jodie Tonita of the Social Transformation Project has recently published one of the sharpest articulations of leadership and how it works in the #BlackLivesMatter movement. I urge you to read it in its entirety.

Image of leaders

Names, bios, and more at revolt.tv.

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October 20, 2014

Not just all lives. Black lives.

We are just beginning to understand the potency of what is happening in Ferguson.  I have been blown away by the cross-movement solidarity.  Labor has been there this October.  350.org has been there this October.  We are finally beginning to understand the way it’s all interconnected.

Julie Quiroz and our friends at the Movement Strategy Center have just published the beginning of an important reflection.  I was particularly moved by this quote:

We are asking you, our family, to stand with us in affirming Black lives.  Not just all lives. Black lives.  Please do not change the conversation by talking about how your life matters, too. It does, but we need less watered down unity and a more active solidarities with us, Black people, unwaveringly, in defense of our humanity. Our collective futures depend on it.

– Alicia Garza, co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter

I’m in.  Are you?

Read: From Moment to Movement: Learning From Ferguson October

Young Nigel_Ferguson Oct Marchers

Photo by Koran Addo

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August 18, 2014

Looting

I tend to believe that nonviolent direct action is a more effective strategy for attaining justice than asymmetrical warfare.  That being said, it seems ludicrous to stand on the sidelines and ask the people who are most directly impacted by injustice to calm down, be patient and be peaceful.

Looting-2

Image credit: US Uncut 

If you believe that nonviolent direct action is the path to justice in places like Ferguson, Missouri then you take nonviolent direct action in solidarity with the people of Ferguson.  Please don’t stand on the sidelines and ask people to calm down when government-sanctioned authorities are shooting their children.

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July 29, 2014

Creative Change 2014

I just facilitated the 6th Creative Change Retreat at the Sundance Institute in Utah.  The amazing experience leaves me grateful to my friends at the Opportunity Agenda for trusting me with the design and facilitation of such a significant convening.

Today more than ever I am convinced that the change we want to see in the world is a change that demands the evolution of consciousness and culture.  As the artist and the activist come together – as they become one – we will be able to join into a different kind of intervention.

creativechangeretreat_stories Read More

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July 22, 2014

Find Your Scenius

I recently read an opinion piece that seems to validate the work we have been doing for the last number of years.  In “The end of geniusJoshua Wolf Shenk successfully argues that “the lone genius is a myth that has outlived its usefulness. Fortunately, a more truthful model is emerging: the creative network.”

THIS! My friends, is what we have been working on.

scenius

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June 24, 2014

Agree on Process

pillars

You might have picked up that I’m down on too much process and too much meeting.  It’s a funny place for someone that makes a living facilitating.  It is part of a semi-conscious effort to look at the opposite of my core assumptions and seek the wisdom there.

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