Let’s Fight the Return of the Old Normal: IISC’s New Guidebook to Designing a Better Future

December 13, 2022 3 Comments

IISC was thrilled to host a workshop at the Facing Race Conference 2022 called “Let’s fight the return of the ‘Old Normal!’ – Leading for liberatory systems and racial justice transformation.” 

The workshop was offered on the Institutional and Sector Change track, which “is a home for practitioners from a wide range of sectors wanting to get real about transforming how our institutions operate in order to dismantle structural racism and generate racially equitable outcomes.” 

We created a space where participants could take a breath, experience something new –  a space that was infused with joyful music and where they were surrounded by provocative art and quotes and could imagine a more beautiful future. Here’s a brief workshop description, followed by a link to a resource guide that we hope that you will use and adapt.

Are you fighting the “return to normal”? Unsure about what “new normal” looks like? Marian Wright Edelman taught us that, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” So we’re going to spend some time trying to see the new normal together. These past few years have taxed racial justice leaders and organizations in unimaginable ways. Join us for a moment of collective hope. We’ll co-create visions of racial justice in practice, sharing stories that feed our collective imagination. We’ll strategize about leading our organizations and networks out of “old normal” white supremacist systems and practices toward liberation and transformation. We’ll share tools for helping leaders to demand, envision, and build more liberatory and racially just futures. We’ll raise up structural and organizational strategies for creating a new normal of moving from trauma to racial justice transformation in organizations, workplaces and networks. Together we can fight going “back to normal” using the greater strength of both vision and strategy to bend the arc of society to transformative futures.

Check out IISC’s new resource guide that shares some of the prompts, practices, and artwork that were featured in the workshop. Please use the comments function below to let us know how you are using the resources offered here and what you are learning by offering this opportunity to others. We hope the resources are useful in support of your own visioning and your own practice!

We look forward to hearing from you!


  • Leon Santen says:

    I have been looking through the last blog posts on here and am so happy to have found this place. I’m coming from the area of considering systemic inspirations for energy sovereignty and energy justice right now. Also looove your cute design for the “let’s fight the return of the old normal” banner!! Thanks for sharing (your guide book)!

  • Miriam Messinger says:

    Thanks Leon. We love to find fellow travelers who are doing inspiring work!

  • Julia Lanham says:

    Dear IISC Team – I have been sitting with your guidebook on fighting the return of the old normal for months, waiting to see how I could use the exercises you provide. Finally, this week I decided to use the Co-Creation Storytelling with my team of 9 during our planning retreat. It’s a special group of people who work directly with graduate students and we’ve been building trust and new ways of working for years. It felt like we were primed to do this co-creation together. It happened that we did it on the Solstice when the energy was high for manifesting what we want in our lives. It was one of the most powerful exercises I have been a part of in a work environment. Every single person participated in a way that moved them as an individual and the group as a whole. We realized we were dreaming similar dreams! And craving a way of doing our work that is radically inclusive and heart-centered. It was magical. And the past two days since the exercise, we all keep talking to each other about it. It was one of the top 5 days in my professional career as a leader. Thank you so much for making this free and available to all to access!

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