Posted in Power, Equity, Inclusion

August 1, 2011

Power and Privilege: How do we Define?

Picture was taken by Dmitri Markine. Check out  this amazing portfolio!

In case you missed my earlier posts in this series, I am raising a series of questions about power and privilege in social change work at the invitation of the “Walk the Talk” zine/book project. Prior questions included:

  • “How do I handle my privileges responsibly and avoid the “oppression Olympics?”
  • How do I figure out which privileges to leverage, which to minimize and which to divest?
  • When is it more responsible to “hold the bag” and when is it more important to “let the ball bounce?” and What has my contribution been and how do my colleagues of color see me?
  • How do we “undo racism” without also “undoing race?” And, how do we “undo race” without leaving racism in place?

Today I also want to pose two related questions.

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July 25, 2011

Power and Privilege: Undoing

In case you missed my earlier posts in this series, [include hyperlink to first post], I am raising a series of questions about power and privilege in social change work at the invitation of the “Walk the Talk” zine/book project. Prior questions included:

Today I want to pose two related questions. Read More

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July 19, 2011

Power and Privilege: Dynamics

In case you missed my earlier posts in this series,  I am raising a series of questions about power and privilege in social change work at the invitation of the “Walk the Talk” zine/book project. Prior questions included:

Today I want to pose two questions. Read More

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April 4, 2011

Fundamentals of Facilitation for Racial Justice Work

Fundamental –noun: a basic and necessary component of something, especially an underlying rule or principle

Last week, Gibran and I led the workshop, Fundamentals of Facilitation for Racial Justice Work.  The workshop builds on IISC’s work over the years to apply the best of what we know about collaboration and group process to the specific work of advancing racial justice. We pushed ourselves to distinguish what was truly fundamental from all of many powerful concepts and skills we could have included. We settled on exploring three questions:

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March 30, 2011

Kellogg Breaks It Down

My colleague Melinda and I are just coming off a powerful conversation with a process design team this morning about the importance of bringing structural analysis to the existing opportunities, or lack thereof, for children as these play out along the lines of race.  Low and behold, we receive the following job announcement from the Kellogg Foundation, for a Program Officer for Racial Equity.  Part of the description reads as follows, and stands powerfully on its own:

In recent years the foundation has sharpened its focus on improving conditions for vulnerable children, concentrating on three key factors of success and their intersections: education and learning; food, health and well-being; and family economic security. Given that a disproportionate number of vulnerable children in our society are children of color, as a consequence of both the legacy of this nation’s history of racial oppression and the structural racism that continues to permeate systems and institutions, both racial healing work and the dismantling of structural racism are key ingredients in any effort to, as the foundation’s mission statement reads, “propel vulnerable children to achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society.”  Thus, the foundation has made a commitment to being an effective anti-racist organization and to working to achieve racial equity.

We’re standing.  We’re applauding. 

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March 30, 2011

Black and Brown: Break it Down!


Last Wednesday, March 23, my colleague Melinda and I had the privilege of hosting a beautiful dialogue among a select group of Boston’s Black and Latino leaders.    Following is the invitation that we sent:

We have all heard the news – the United States will be a “majority minority country” before the turn of the century.  The historical significance of this demographic shift cannot be overstated – Americans are already contending with this emergent reality.  Black and Latino people have been living side by side for a long time, there are many ways in which ours is shared experience, our histories are profoundly intertwined.  We recognize strong alliances and cultural intersections and we also recognize old and new tensions. Read More

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February 7, 2011

Finding Neighbors

vintage_neighborsPhoto by: Fzyaso

The following is a repost of a Huffington Post blog by Alicia Anstead, including reference to the work of IISC’s own Melinda Weekes.

Tonye Patano, a black actor in New York City, was so consumed last year by reading a script about minstrelsy, she was late for an audition. The story had rattled and repulsed her. But she couldn’t put it down. The day when she finally headed to the audition, she heard a group of young black teens on the street riffing in racially charged language.

“It was their way of relating to each other,” said Patano. “My response in my spirit was: ‘Young man, do you hear what you’re saying?’ But they were owning who they were, not caring about anyone’s judgment. Even if I don’t agree with it, they had made the language their own.”

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July 21, 2010

Power and Love

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photo by partie traumatic

“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic.  Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This often quoted comment by Dr. King forms the foundation of Adam Kahane’s new book,  Love and Power: A theory and practice of social change. Melinda Weekes and I attended a recent book talk by Adam, attracted to the topic because, at IISC we’ve been thinking through and practicing the connections among power, love, networks and collaboration for years now.  Much of what Adam shared resonates with our thinking. The book builds on the thinking of theologian Paul Tillich.   His definitions are worth taking a closer look:

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June 16, 2010

Stay! Stay! Stay! (Part 2)

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|Photo by hangdog|http://www.flickr.com/photos/hangdog/23172852/sizes/m/|

A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog post about the constructive engagement of conflict – called Stay! Stay! Stay! It was some thinking sparked by reading the beginning of Bernie Mayer‘s new book “Staying with Conflict“. I’ve been reading more of that book this week – and thinking as well about the work IISC is doing to become an anti-racist, anti-oppression, pro-liberation organization. (And yes, we do know that’s a mouthful!)

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