October 28, 2011 Leave a comment

The following is a letter by Akaya Windwood, President of the Rockwood Leadership Institute and member of the IISC Board of Directors.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend and I (two gray-haired women) went downtown to support the youngsters Occupying Wall Street here in Oakland. The night was wet, but there were plenty of folks out with signs, songs, speeches and goodwill.

It reminded me of rallies when I was young, when we danced in the streets and dreamed of a world filled with hope and possibility. It was another era – we thought everything was possible – and were committed to making the world anew. Over the years, some of our dreams were realized, and many are still left to be fulfilled.

As I watched the crowd that Monday night, my heart swelled with gratitude, knowing that the drumbeat of young people leading the way to possibility and transformation is strong and vibrant. They are making change in fresh and new ways, and I’m reminded, once again, that there is reason to hope.

Yesterday, in the early hours of the morning, police forces raided the Occupy Oakland camps.  Last night, they released tear gas at least three times to break up the crowd of more than 1,000 people who took to the streets.
Today, even as I mourn the violence that took place, I can still feel the wheel of history turning. Over 951 communities in over 80 countries have engaged in this movement. As Dr. Cornell West describes it, “We are in a magnificent moment of democratic awakening.” The Occupy movement is not a blip in history; this is the ushering in and turning of a new era, even though violent tactics from the past are being used. Watching our young folks rise and sensing the change afoot across the world renews my heart’s desire. I remain inspired and committed to leading from a place of possibility. And I believe that my leadership is better for it.

If you listen in closely, what’s turning in you? What is leaving, and what is coming? 

There’s deep reason to remain hopeful, even in the midst of this great turmoil.Let’s take a page from our youngsters – let’s get out into the world and do our parts moving the steadily turning wheel.

From my heart to yours,

October 2011

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  • Cynthia Silva Parker says:

    Thanks Akaya! I have been thinking a lot about what kind of elder I want to be and how I can support the energy of the young people who are occupying–how to share what I know in a nonjudgmental way–and how to follow where they are leading.

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