Voices CallingJanuary 25, 2011 Leave a comment
We at IISC have the privilege of witnessing heartful, sometimes heart wrenching dialogue about critical issues in our world from multiple perspectives. We work with passionate laypeople and professionals focused on education, environment and sustainability, public health, peace and justice, youth development, racial justice, city planning and community development, to name a few disciplines.
I’m encouraged by a few themes that are coming up more and more in our work. And, I’m even more encouraged that increasingly, they are emerging as imperatives, not just “nice ideas.” As we facilitate processes and bear witness to the struggle to bring forth justice, here are some of the voices we’ve heard calling out:
– Collaboration—We need to work across traditional boundaries because the issues are bigger than any of us.
– Networks—We need to work “wikily” – finding common ground where ever we can, decentralizing efforts to whatever extent possible, resisting the desire for conformity and uniformity, relying on the wisdom of crowds and democratizing the tools of production – intellectual and cultural production.
– Diversity—We really need everyone at the table, not as window dressing, but as full partners whose presence and engagement will make the difference between success and failure.
– Equity—We need to concern ourselves with real outcomes, not just abstract opportunities, and we need to account for the present day legacy of historic systems of oppression and patterns of exclusion.
– Systems thinking—If we stand a chance at making significant and lasting changes in the direction of equity, we need a sophisticated understanding of systems—how institutions, structures, norms, and behaviors interact to produce intended and unintended consequences, how systems tend to adapt to resist change, and where we can find leverage points for change.
– Love—Unconditional regard for others is a powerful force for change that springs from the depth of our souls. We need to draw on that power and nurture one another as we struggle together for change.
What are the voices you hear crying out?