“ 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.”
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.
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.
This is the 26th official celebration of the national holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I remember the struggle to establish the holiday and wonder what Dr. King himself might think of what it has become.
The Black Mesa Water Coalition is an inspiring group of Navajo and Hopi young people who organized to protect the Navajo aquifer which was being depleted by coal production and transportation processes. They are a great example of people power, coming together and winning important gains for their community. And, they are an important reminder about the many ways in which Native people in the U.S. continue to face structural barriers to their own well-being. As we move the conversation about structural racism forward, I have to ask myself, as a black woman who grew up on land that was taken from the Wampanoag people, how can I be an effective ally?
Here at IISC we talk about having three lenses for the work of collaboration. One of those lenses is the lens of love. I have worked and played with Anasa Troutman in all kinds of formations over the years, most recently as part of the same Networks and Decentralized Organizing Community of Practice.
I thought that her stance for Love is a very real call for those of us interested in the practice of social transformation. What do you think?
Video blogger and hip-hop radio host Jay Smooth makes an eloquent case for understanding that being good does not require us to be perfect, and that learning to live with our imperfections is a way forward in contemporary race discourse. I’d share a few of his comments, hoping this will inspire you to find the time to listen to the whole talk.
“Are you saying that I am racist? How can you say that. I am a good person! Why would you say I am a racist?”
And you try to respond “I’m talking about a particular thing you said.”
“No, I am not a racist.”
And what started out as a “what you said” conversation turns into a “what you are conversation,” which is a dead end that produces nothing but mutual frustration and you never end up seeing eye to eye or finding any common ground…
“Stamp [the facilitator] jumped up and down. Her voice was hoarse from three hours of yelling. ‘Everyone is beautiful!’ she shouted. ‘Everyone is awesome!’
That’s some hard core facilitation. I am struck, profoundly affected by, what is happening in our country. I am inspired. I am moved. I have a deep sense of resonance.
“[T]he point of Occupy Wall Street is not its platform so much as its form: people sit down and hash things out instead of passing their complaints on to Washington. ‘We are our demands,’ as the slogan goes.”
The Acting Steering Committee list reads like a who’s who among U.S. civil rights and social justice activists: James Lawson, Vincent Harding, Dolores Huerta, Nelson Johnson Joyce Johnson, Mel White, John Fife, Phil Lawson, Arthur Waskow, Grace Lee Boggs, Joan Chittister, George Tinker, Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons, Bernice Johnson Reagan, Marian Wright-Edelman.
“While conventional views of power and authority seem to indicate that you should co-opt and capture other tribes, you can often achieve more by freeing your own people to maximize their vision alongside yours.”
– Seth Godin
In today’s world of mergers and acquisitions and nonprofit consolidations, I was struck by the conclusion of Seth Godin’s recent blog post. I read it as yet another argument for the power of networks and decentralization. There is so much good work to be done in this messy world of ours – why do we wish we could consolidate it under a single leader or strategy?