If emotions and intellect were currency, I may soon be going broke. As a person of color from a working class background, I feel like I often pay an emotional or intellectual tax when I am engaged in social change work with those that claim to want change but show up half-heartedly, especially in predominantly white institutions. This tax is a result of the contradictions of trying to enact change within the existing system and leaving the hard work to folks from marginalized backgrounds. The tax increases as I am asked to be involved but never given any real power to create structural change. The most recent example I have is dealing with the unintended consequences of organizational white culture at a previous job.
Take Nothing Personally: The Rise of the Network
By Kesha Ram
“At this time in our history we are to take nothing personally, least of all ourselves. For the moment we do so, our spiritual growth comes to a halt. The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves. Banish the word ‘struggle’ from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred way and in celebration. We are the ones we have been waiting for.” – Hopi Elder
A sea of pink knit hats erupting in song, laughter, and cheers. Record-breaking demonstrations across the nation and around the world. Women holding space for each other across difference, moved by the deafening roar of our own voices. Our collective power has been awakened – unapologetic, uncensored, and unbowed.
“Can I Help You With That?” An Invitation to Hold Each Other Under the Crushing Weight of the Universe’s Moral Arc
By Delma Thomas-Jackson
“We have fought hard and long for integration…But I’ve come to believe we’re integrating into a burning house…. Let us not stand by and let the house burn.” -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“[I]f the Masters house caught on fire, the House Negro would try to put the fire out. On the other hand…the Field Negro would pray for a strong wind to come along.” -Malcolm X
Exactly one year ago, I gave an MLK address titled, “Make America Great Again for Whom?” The title, obviously a play on Trump’s campaign slogan, begs questions as old as the country itself—namely: which America do you experience? Is your America a meritocracy, wherein hard work alone shapes the destiny of citizens? Or, is your America a kleptocracy, wherein the elite grow wealthy by gorging on the productivity of the proletariat? Is America a “city upon a hill,” protecting freedom and democracy all over the world? Or, is America a global police force, simply promoting its political interests?
By Mohamad Chakaki
I’ve been reading a 17th century Muslim prayer-poem from Morocco entitled ‘The Prayer of the Oppressed.’ In his introduction to the English translation, Hamza Yusuf, a prominent American Muslim teacher and scholar, asks his readers to consider whether they could possibly be ready to wield social power if they’re not ready to accept that there will always be matters over which they are powerless. That gave me pause.
There is so much that I would like to see change in the world, even as I have to admit that there’s also so much of my vision for progressive social and environmental change that I am painfully powerless
By Kristin Rothballer
These are wild days indeed.
From the killings this week in Aleppo, to reports of Russians hacking the US election, to the water protectors at Standing Rock, to the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland, to the President-Elect’s unfathomable Cabinet nominees, reality has become difficult to stay fully present to. Grief and overwhelm arrive on the daily. I am generally oriented towards hope, but it’s taking deeper and deeper work to source it. I have been turning to love and prayer, not as passive or sentimental acts, but as practices that root me in true power. The reverence I have for the earth and the resiliency of life help me find hope.
By Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey
The Buddhist strategy of liberation finds its foundation, on one level, in the strategic tension between concentration and mindfulness, which is to say the relationship between suppression and investigation, control and exploration—dynamics that are equally fundamental to our work for social change.
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.
We are excited to welcome a group of 20 artists, designers, facilitators, professors, visionaries, and changemakers from all across the country for our Whole Thinking in Practice Retreat from Oct 14-19, 2016 in California.
Working in fields as varied as environmental justice, education, cultural competency, performing arts, youth empowerment, and coaching, these thought-leaders will unplug and spend 6 days in the beautiful oak-madrone forested hills of Boonville building relationships and dropping in to our core Whole Thinking Practices: awareness practice, dialogue, story-telling, creativity, and working with difference.
Whole Thinking in Practice Oct. 14-19 2016 in California
For over 10 years, Center for Whole Communities has equipped individuals and organizations with the courage, creativity, and resilience required to address some of the most complex social and environmental issues of our time. Read more