Generating ideas, connections, and action

Reflections on Equitable Design

I felt honored to be part of the Creating Space Design Team with an amazing group of leadership development funders, delivery partners, network and movement builders and racial justice champions. I was eager to learn from the team about how to create an event that would deepen our learning about the ways in which our approaches to supporting leadership for racial justice need to shift.  I did not have to wait until me met in New Orleans to begin learning. I was struck by the fact that some of our conversations were filled with questions that people creating leadership development programs should also be asking, e.g. how would we honor the whole person and multiple ways of knowing; what does it mean to assume good intentions and look at impact; how do we hold space for courageous conversations; how are we thinking about power and whose knowledge is privileged; and how do we build authentic community?
Hopefully, those of you who attended Creating Space experienced the benefits of the ways in which our inquiry shaped the design for our work together, e.g. storytelling, artistic expression, group commitments, reflection, physical movement, collective meaning making, honest conversation, music, poetry, analytical frameworks, practical lessons, design thinking, flexibility, dancing and ‘open space’ – a participant driven way of generating meeting content in real time. One of my important ‘take a ways’ was that maybe Creating Space was what it looked like to provide leadership support to people working on behalf of social and racial justice, simply put…maybe supporting leadership is really about marshaling our resources to create an equitable and inclusive space where people doing the work can come together and learn.