Author Archive

Jul/29/14//CMcDowell//LoveLiberates, Spiritual Activism

Boston to Gaza

Last year, in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon Bombing, I was facilitating a  group of students and faculty at MIT reflecting on the impact and meaning of the bombing.  The participants ranged from people who had been at the marathon site to those who witnessed it on TV.  All experienced the lock down that occurred in Cambridge and felt the impact of the death of eight-year-old Martin William Richard, and many of them shared something deeper, the trauma of being an unwilling victim and sometimes perpetrator of planned, unexpected, unwarranted or thoughtless violence. From a former Israeli solider, who asked “do I kill these 4 men in my line of sight because of the threat they may pose?” to a woman who survived a brutal rape, the bombing made visible the deep trauma so many people live with from day to day.

But something remarkable happened that evening. As we sat in circle listening to each story a young veteran spoke up about his experience with violence in the streets of LA and the deserts of Iraq.  He spoke with a deep passion that disrupted the quiet reflection of the group.  “We can’t just sit around and talk about this. If things are going to change we have to shift something fundamental in ourselves in order to stop the massive violence in our world.” He continued, “For me it is the following commitment I have made to myself and that I tell each person I am engaged with I Will Not Harm Your Children.” Then he stopped.

children-violence-final

Read the rest of this entry »

Comment [1]////Permalink// Like [2]
Mar/14/14//CMcDowell//Featured, Structural Transformation

Liberation Planning

Liberation

Last week Darren Walker opened the Resilient Cities lunch reminding us that not only do we need to work to make cities resilient and sustainable, we must also work to make them just. As I listened to Xav Briggs, Joan Clos, Toni Griffin and others speak, I thought about my work at MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning and what working to make just cities means for planning and planners. How does one attend to the myriad issues facing cities: poverty, crumbling infrastructure, environmental sustainability and economic collapse? Read the rest of this entry »

Comments [8]////Permalink// Like [12]
Oct/19/12//CMcDowell//Featured

Dear Friends of IISC

The following is a message from Ceasar McDowell, the new president of the Interaction Institute for Social Change.

Dear Friends of IISC,

Ten years ago when I was going through a critical stage in my life, a friend asked me what I would consider to be my dream job.  My answer was pretty simple.  I wanted to lead an organization whose primary work was to design processes for complex collaborative efforts aiming at advancing social justice, equity and democracy.  I wanted to do this in an organization where issues of power, privilege and race were central, not only to the work we did in the world but in how we engaged with each other to do that work.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments [6]////Permalink// Like [16]