By Ginny McGinn
The darkness of winter has arrived in Vermont. This is the season of turning inward, reflecting and gathering ourselves in preparation for the year to come. For those of us in the nonprofit world, this is also the time we extend ourselves outward, seeking the support of our community. At CWC we are taking this time to reflect on the theme “there are no shortcuts” as we invite your partnership and generosity in making our work possible.
This summer our colleague, Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey, wrote a Facebook post inviting folks to our fall Whole Thinking in Practice Retreat. His words spoke to the prevalence of violence in response to chaos and oppression, the idea that power-over, rather than power-with, is a short cut to social power. His words inspired us and have served as a touchstone, a remembering, as we do the sometimes slow work of healing and change.
Inspired by Jesse, we invited a group of colleagues to write and reflect on this idea. Whether we are seeking to address issues that affect the environment or the challenges of deep social inequities – these problems require our long-term commitment to building and fostering relationships. Founding CWC board member and author Lauret Savoy had this to say:
“It is difficult yet crucial to cultivate the capacity to ask significant questions about our lives in a larger world and about lives not our own. Deep relationship and commitment begin here, in trying to meet all people where they are, wherever they are. Not where you think they are, or where you think they should be. Key is acknowledging and honoring difference as enriching and at the same time finding, across divisions, common interest and common humanity. By doing so we might begin to dismantle patterns of living in this country that fragment and exclude and allow one to believe you don’t have to think about or care about some ‘other’.”
— Lauret Savoy, author of Trace: Memory, History, Race and the American Landscape
As we navigate the stormy seas of our movements post-election, we must heed the call to meet all people where they are. Simple as that sounds, it requires much of all of us. CWC is committed to creating the spaces for us to practice our way into relationship across all forms of difference. Our very future depends upon it.
Each of us must now find a way to integrate what it means to relate, work and thrive in this new political landscape. Our ability to achieve the healthy, equitable future we seek for our communities and our home places hinges upon our connection to places and lives not our own. We are all connected and our massive, beautiful differences are our strength. Our capacity and willingness to be present to those differences and respond to what is happening around us from a place of deep love and connection is the antidote to fear, hatred and despair.
Let us remember that the challenges we face are not new – the biases and fear that divide us have not suddenly appeared on the scene. So as the future of our nation unfolds, keep showing up. Be present, reach out, meet your neighbors, trust the wisdom of your true nature and…
“Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.” ~Cornel West
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