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Reflections on Creating Space Detroit 2019

 

 

 

Laughter? Check. Tears? Check. Passion, connections and follow up? Check, check, check! Detroit Creating Space had it all.

 

Detroit was an amazing place to kick off LLC’s Creating Space 2019 regional conversations. On October 30th, in partnership with Community Connections, we were able to put on an event that pushed the edges of our equity in leadership thinking.

 

This year we are approaching Creating Space differently. Rather than having a single national event, we are holding three regional conversations in Detroit, New York City, and the Bay Area, CA. The goal is to share learning from each event so that there is a cumulative impact that culminates in our national convening in 2020, which is also LLC’s 20th Anniversary. 

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Centering Equity in Networks: Tools and Processes We Have Tried

 

 

Networks are not inherently more equitable or democratic. They operate within the same dominant white supremacist culture that undermines equity in our organizations. Besides talking about culture, power and equity a lot, we wanted to share three practices which we have implemented to better distribute leadership and decision making to create more equity in our networks. They are early experiments, and we would love to hear about what you are doing in your networks.

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Join our Team! LLC is Looking for a Project Manager

 

Job Summary

We are looking for an experienced Project Manager with an interest in advancing equity through Leadership Development. This role is limited in duration as determined by the project timeline, but may have the opportunity to extend.

 

The Project Manager will work in coordination with the Project Lead and will spend approximately two-thirds of the time on the primary project, and one-third of their time allocated to other projects as needed. The Project Manager will work with the Project Leads to successfully monitor and drive the work of projects. The Project Manager will manage the work of consultant teams, the Project will include 10-15 seasoned consultants. The Project Manager will track project goals, milestones, and deliverables to complete the project on time, in scope, and on budget.

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Creating Space Conversations 2019 | Detroit, MI | October 30, 2019

 

 

The current political moment is increasingly fraught; exposing deep fractures in our society. While the roots of these fissures are old and embedded in the fabric of our country, the expression of these fractures feels quite new. Consequently, communities of color, queer and trans communities, as well as immigrant and other marginalized communities, are experiencing a growing sense of vulnerability; unsure of what new dangers exist on the horizon. While the changing times present new risks, it’s also a time of immense possibility. We hope to use this moment to strategize with one another and create new opportunities for transformative change.  

 

LLC will be hosting three regional Creating Space Conversations in Fall 2019 which will delve into this topic (Detroit, NYC, Bay Area, CA). We will explore the role leadership development can play in shifting power to advance justice and ushering in new innovative models that are responsive to changing conditions. We will also dedicate time to thinking about ways of structuring our leadership development work so that we are moving away from business as usual practices given that we are living in times that are in fact very unusual. 

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Envisioning Change

 

 

I recently had a conversation with a colleague where we discussed the tendency of folks in movement spaces to “eat our own.” We talked about the many implications this has, ranging from reduced effectiveness of our efforts, fractured coalitions, to creating uniquely difficult and painful challenges for Executive Directors of color. During the same time period, I’d found myself in several movement conversations where most of us could very clearly articulate what we thought was wrong, but our ideas about how to make things right were terribly murky.

 

This made me reflect on the way I’d been trained in both higher education and in my movement work to approach problem-solving and goal achievement. I primarily learned to deconstruct, question and critique. All essential skills for changing oppressive systems, but I know my training and subsequent approach leaned far more heavily toward assessing what was wrong with old systems, and less toward finding better replacements.

 

Looking back at the leadership supports I’ve experienced and the programs I’ve staffed, I saw a similar pattern. I wondered if, in our leadership work, we are sufficiently practicing creation, constructing a vision for the communities we want to live in with the corresponding systems and structures, in addition to honing the skills to deconstruct the problematic and oppressive systems we currently live with.

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What's Next?

 

 

On Sunday, I hosted a reunion brunch with a handful of folks who had participated in a program called “What’s Next.”  It’s a program for EDs, and as the name suggests, it’s for EDs who think that they may want to leave their organization in the next 5 years to help them think about managing that transition. I participated in What’s Next  for a number of reasons: I did imagine leaving LLC within 5 years, not necessarily because I am done with leadership work or really going to retire, but because I know that LLC needs to be led by people of color to solidly center equity in the field; I also wondered if I might be able to inject a point of view that the transition of leadership provides an opportunity to bring an equity lens to diversifying leadership of the non-profit section (and I tried); and truth be told, it was being held at Chaminade with gorgeous views of the pacific and yummy food. 

 

The program provided some interesting materials on transitions that were both philosophical and practical. I know that folks in more traditional organizations found the materials useful. One of the folks at our brunch mentioned that he has shared them with his board and staff. There was a lot of talk about ‘when’ and ‘how’ you tell your board, your staff, and your community. I found myself feeling especially grateful to be part of an organization like LLC where we are able to have transparent conversations about leadership and who needs to be leading.

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LLC Webinar Series | Self-Organizing in Networks: Why and How?

 

LLC WEBINAR | Self-Organizing in Networks

 

October 2, 2019

10:00 - 11:00 PST | 1:00 - 2:30 EST

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LLC Network Spotlight | Ari Sahagun

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As an organization, we believe deeply in the power and importance of network and shared leadership. LLC is made up not only of dynamic staff members, but also hundreds of folks collaborating across state lines and issues to share skills, co-create projects, and learn from one another. In our LLC Network Spotlights series, we interview active members of our network and make space for them to share their own experiences engaging in the practices of network leadership.  

 

This month, we interview Ari Sahagún, a movement network ecologist who supports social and climate justice movements through network building and open-source technologies. Ari is a part of the WEB Network, having designed its website, and has a deep commitment to using the innovation of networks to support cultural shifts. We hope that you learn something new from Ari’s story, and share it with your networks as well! 

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What Does it Mean to Center Love?

 

When I was first introduced to the concept of love-centered change work, I was actually quite skeptical; something about the idea felt discordant, almost disconnected from the struggle for change that I was accustomed to. So when the topic came up, I would nod appreciatively in a socially appropriate way, but for a long time, I held a pretty sizable kernel of doubt. While I still have many questions about how to best execute this approach in efforts to change concrete conditions and recalcitrant oppressive structures, I have definitely observed an evolution in my thinking.

 

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Guest Blog | Risk-Taking for Racial Justice: Building Networks That Support Us

 

By The Minneapolis St. Paul Network Weavers Community of Practice

 

This June, the Minneapolis St. Paul (MSP) Network Weavers Community of Practice hosted our semi-annual day long gathering. The topic was Risk-Taking for Racial Justice: Building Networks that Support Us. Our facilitation team collaboratively wrote this blog to share some of the learning and insights we gained from the event – we hope you enjoy!

 

Mishel House, Kirsten Johnson & Sindy Morales Garcia – Wilder Center for Communities

Scott Labott – Bush Foundation

Terri Thao & Chalonne Wilson – Nexus Community Partners

Susan Schuster – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota

Amanda Ziebell Mawanda – Propel Nonprofits

 

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