Archive for February, 2012

Feb/29/12//Curtis Ogden//Your Experiences

Gifts of My Father

I offer this post in memory of my father, John D. Ogden Jr. (1942-2012), who passed away much too young this past Saturday after a two year fight with cancer. Known to all of his friends and family as a good and kind man, my father was also the inspiration for much of my interest in conscious evolution and the fight for justice.  From his time as one of the first Peace Corps volunteers in Liberia, he spent his career promoting inter-cultural understanding, most recently as director of international programs at SUNY Cortland.  My dad once told me the older he got, the more radical he became.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Feb/28/12//Gibrán Rivera//Featured, Your Experiences

With Great Care and Attention


It’s my birthday today and a few nights ago my friend Malia asked me to reflect on a lesson I’ve learned over the last year.  It was a BIG year for me!  I got married and had a son!  Lots and lots of lessons.

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Feb/27/12//Cynthia Silva Parker//Featured, Power, Equity, Inclusion

Criminal Injustice

“ What has changed since the collapse of Jim Crow has less to do with the basic structure of our society than with the language we use to justify it. In the era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. So we don’t. Rather than rely on race, we use our criminal justice system to label people of color “criminals” and then engage in all the practices we supposedly left behind. Today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans.”

-Excerpt from The New Jim Crow

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Feb/23/12//Curtis Ogden//Inspiration, Sustainability

Macy on Uncertainty

Eco-philosopher Joanna Macy PhD, is a scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory, and deep ecology. She is a respected voice in the movements for peace, justice, and ecology, and interweaves her scholarship with five decades of activism. As the root teacher of the Work That Reconnects, she has created a ground-breaking theoretical framework for personal and social change, as well as a powerful workshop methodology for its application. The Great Turning, to which she refers in this clip, is a name for the “adventure of our time: the shift from the industrial growth society to a life-sustaining civilization.”

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Feb/22/12//Curtis Ogden//Inspiration

A New Cosmology

This post comes via our friend and colleague Danny Martin, with whom I have recently had the pleasure to present at the Bioneers by the Bay Conference.  Another of Danny’s posts appeared here last fall on deep listening.  As you will see, he is an old soul, a wise man in the best sense of the word, and his words a beacon for our collective future.

I am privileged to be one of four conveners of The Berry Forum for an Ecological Dialogue at Iona College, NY. Thomas Berry who died a couple of years ago was the prophet of a new era that he called ‘The Ecozoic’ which he described as an era founded on mutually enhancing human-earth relations. Read the rest of this entry »

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Feb/21/12//Gibrán Rivera//Sustainability

The Sabbath Manifesto


The issue of personal ecology is one of my biggest concerns in our ever accelerating world.  It is the biggest pain point I find among leaders and organizations.  It is a sense of being overwhelmed, of trying to do too much, of never having a break.  And worst of all – it can be addictive.

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Feb/20/12//Cynthia Silva Parker//Sustainability

Boston Latin School Youth Climate Action Network

In 2010, IISC had the privilege of work with Raab Associates to facilitate the development of Boston’s Climate Action Plan. Boston Latin School’s Youth Climate Action Network figured prominently in the development of a very successful community engagement session for Boston’s young people. They continue to move forward. Check them out! Here’s an excerpt of their presentation…

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Feb/17/12//IISC//Featured, Inspiration

The 99% Spring


Our country is at a crossroads. We have a choice to make. Greater wealth for a few or opportunity for many. Tax breaks for the richest or a fair shot for the rest of us. A government that can be bought by the highest bidder, or a democracy that is truly of the people, by the people, and for the people.

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Feb/16/12//Curtis Ogden//IISC:Inside

What We Know – Melinda Weekes

IISC Senior Associate, Melinda Weekes, answers the question entertained at a staff learning session, “What do we know from years of doing collaborative capacity building and social change work?” Recorded on February 6, 2012 at Space With a Soul.

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Feb/15/12//Curtis Ogden//Networks

20 Questions – Network Style

Social network between the participants of

|Photo by Hans Poldoja|

Last week I was privileged to attend a gathering of practitioners from across sectors to discuss the successes and challenges of working in networked ways.  The Northern New England Network Community of Practice met in Portsmouth, NH for a full day of conversations facilitated by members of Maine Network Partners.  Throughout the day many critical questions were raised about and stemming from net work.  No one pretended to necessarily have all of the answers to these, or to imagine that what works in one case will necessarily work in another.  Nonetheless, we look forward to exploring any patterns that do show up across experiences in our respective network efforts, whether we are talking small or large scale, local or regional, within a sector or across sectors . . . Read the rest of this entry »

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Feb/13/12//Gibrán Rivera//Featured, Inspiration


Sometimes you fall in love with a client.  There is a sweet spot where your own heart’s purpose is fully aligned with what your client is trying to do in the world.  In that sweet spot they are no longer really a client – you become true partners.

I’ve just wrapped up the contracted part of our work with Urban Bush Women, but I’m certain that ours is a partnership that will continue.

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Feb/06/12//Cynthia Silva Parker//Power, Equity, Inclusion

You have a chance to change the system!

Grace Lee Boggs: You Have a Chance To Change The System from Bhawin Suchak on Vimeo.

“We are the children of Martin and Malcolm. Black, white, brown, yellow. Our birthright is to be creators of history. Our right, our duty is to shape the world with a new dream… We have to begin to thinking of ourselves, we are the ones who are going to shape the world with a new dream. The old American Dream was based so much on exploitation of the earth and of other peoples. So our revolution can’t be the way that we thought of revolution to acquire more things; our revolution has to be one that grows our souls.”

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Feb/03/12//Curtis Ogden//Inspiration

Growing Our Way Into a New Economy

This may be the best 14 minutes of your day (and the best TED talk ever). Watch it! Go Green Bronx Machine! Si se puede!

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Feb/02/12//Curtis Ogden//Power, Equity, Inclusion

Funder as Convenor: Part 2

A year ago I blogged about the critical role of convening in collaborative multi-stakeholder change work, particularly as it plays out through a funder.  Having been in Michigan last week working with a group of diverse foundations in a customized Facilitative Leadership session, I have additional thoughts to offer stemming from a very productive and provocative conversation about how to address and manage power dynamics when one attempts to initiate a partnership or collaborative effort and one is holding the purse strings or a significant portion thereof.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Feb/01/12//Curtis Ogden//Learning Edge

The Betterness of Bitterness

This post comes courtesy of our friends at the National Bitter Melon Council (NBMC) – Jeremy Liu (also a board member here at IISC) and Hiroko Kikuchi.  NBMC is devoted to the cultivation of a vibrant, diverse community through the promotion and distribution of Bitter Melon. Its projects, events, and festivals celebrate the health, social, culinary, and creative possibilities of this underappreciated vegetable and of embracing bitterness as a key to personal and community change.

Everyone experiences bitterness. We all deal with it; often in ways that are counter to addressing the bitterness, by denying, rejecting, or repressing the emotions, and/or our loss and our attachment to loss that create our bitterness. The need to actively address our bitterness is profound. Read the rest of this entry »

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