What's The Plan?December 2, 2009 7 Comments
Come meander with me!
I’m reflecting on World AIDS Day.? The World Health Organization established World AIDS Day in 1988, and it’s been observed on December 1st ever since to raise awareness and focus attention on the global AIDS epidemic. In the early years, some museums would have “A Day Without Art,” shrouding artwork to demonstrate the impact of the epidemic.? And there were many other ways of observing – e.g., candlelight marches, displays of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, local awareness-raising or fundraising events around the globe.
I’m reflecting on the early days – and where we are today.? I was remembering that for those of us doing AIDS work in the 1980s and early 1990s, the idea that we would be entering 2010 with big advances in prevention and treatment but with the epidemic still raging, without a vaccine and without a cure, seemed impossible.? We planned and organized, thinking we would end the epidemic, not set up institutions that would last more than 30 years. And yet, here we are, having been through what people around the world have been through, lost the millions we have lost, and with an estimated 33 million people living with HIV worldwide. And with amazing, dedicated people around the globe doing their all to halt the spread of HIV and end the epidemic – continuing to adjust, change tactics, learn and expand what’s possible.
And so, in my mental meander today, I’m reflecting on the idea of planning and thinking of the challenge the concept presents in many of the social justice movements we work in. In so many realms, constant change is the reality. And yet, what is often expected is a fixed plan for moving forward. I was reading Jack Ricchiuto’s blog post “Breaking Through: Beyond Goals and Plans” in which he calls us to move toward creating more adaptability and strategic action and fewer plans. I was considering what is needed for a middle way between planning and allowing for emergence.? Gibrán Rivera has talked about “strategic sketching” and many of us at IISC see the critical need groups have to set shared direction.? But I’m wondering about how much planning – and how much adaptability. What’s the right mix for creating the kinds of movements we need to take us forward? What do you think? What’s your experience?