"An organization which claims to be working for the needs of a community - as SNCC does - must work to provide that community with a position of strength from which to make its voice heard. This is the significance of black power beyond the slogan."
- Kwame Ture, Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)
- Accountability: What does accountability look like within movement building that is reflective of our values? We could give our folks ground rules to not be homophobic, transphobic, misogynistic, and antagonistic, but the naming of how we need to be and how we support shared practice where all of our people cultivate an awareness of when they may show up as controlling, guarded, resentful, divisive; as opposed to being loving, gracious, and forgiving- these are ways of being that are part of the work that liberates people to live authentically. If I were to go back to when I was involved in Occupy I would ask then and now -What are the shared practices for how we want ourselves to be, what we want us to do, and to have accomplished that will get us to the restoration of safety that we want to create in our communities?
- Proactive vs. Reactive Organizing: This was one of the first things I learned when organizing with MXGM. While we understand the rapid response approach of our organizing in this moment, our communities have been experiencing crisis for a long time, and many in our movement continue to choose to handle our responses to crisis from a place of desperation. We should ask at this juncture what is at stake for us if we continue to operate from a place of desperation. Acting from a place of desperation is an indication that we hold the belief that we are not enough and are hold a conversation in our minds about scarcity and poverty that we can’t somehow live our lives abundantly as a people without stepping on each other’s necks. We must embrace crisis through creating spaces to address trauma in our movement work and our communities. Healing has always been a part of a longer legacy in community organizing in marginalized communities that have been over-policed from law enforcement to school systems.
- Structures for Feedback: What is our drum speak? What are the channels of communication, and how are decisions made at a national to local level and vice versa? Looking at the current movement for Black lives, as a de-centralized network the online and on-the-ground rapid response organizing that has been happening is in direct tension with the relationship building, the on the ground community outreach, and political education that is yearning to happen. We need to create space to hold both to build a foundation for movement work that gives greater accessibility to more people who are looking to connect to an organization and develop their leadership. Much of this is lost because the container has yet to have been created to hold this tension and support the connection between the two even at national levels of mobilizing and organizing.
When smart phones were first introduced texting was foreign and the network connections were mad slow. Then we got the 2nd Generation (2G) data networks which had the capability to transfer and get information, slower than those annoying screechy modems that would disconnect and were shoddy when internet first came out. Now we got self-organized 3G & 4G data networks that configure, organize, and optimize the function of networks, while also providing self-healing practices when faults occur. We say we want to make systems that are hurting our communities obsolete like I talked about in my first blog. What will it take to let go of old ways of networking and organizing that do not serve us - that have us in reaction to systems in ways that get us stuck like the shoddy modem?
Our networks in our movement are the invisible threads of critical connections as my fellow friend and blogger Kelly says as the title of her prior blog. The functionality of self-organized networks is where our movement needs to be NOW! We can rapidly respond with agility and adaptability while also building practices for sustainability in our local neighborhoods where we organize against the violent waves of practices, policies, and systems that cause harm to us. I am inviting all of us to really dedicate time and energy in building our momentum here in asking ourselves, what it will take imagine and create the framework for self-organized networks with the communities in which we organize?
A culture of love and responsibility has to be present in how we work together. That is what I choose to be committed to. My loving, caring, and trusting friend and fellow blogger Tuesday, inspired me in her last blog - I am committed to activism as a practice not as an occupation. My activism creates community where my children yet to born live courageously- where they are not bought into the belief that they are not worthy or not enough. I want them to overcome the fear of being killed by a chokehold or a gun – in the same way young people were courageous in the face of rifles and tanks in the streets of Ferguson. They are vessels of change that removes the kind of violent oppression that stifles us from being able to breathe fully in our humanity. They are prepared and ready socially, emotionally, and physically for a world transformed for and by them.
At times it seems like there is a disconnect among us as a collective of what it means to even communicate among each other and our awareness about how we are relating to each other. What I learned from my loved ones in our conversations is that this actually goes back to what our beliefs are, and the essence of our beliefs are simply that we matter. When we fully get that we matter as a movement, we get access to be unapologetically open, connected and vulnerable in ways that transcend our current status beyond being a de-centralized network. Just like how the 3G/4G data networks made the shoddy modem obsolete, our movement evolves in a way that takes the place of some beliefs about traditional models of organizing that don’t serve us anymore. So let’s be the creators of our future NOW!