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Standing for Love

I was at the closing session at the International Leadership Association (ILA) when the speaker who took the stage told us she had just heard there had been a mass shooting. Phones lit up as together we all learned the horrifying news that 11 people had been killed at the Tree of Life Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh. We stood in stunned silence honoring the lives of those who had died, and as an expression of deep sympathy for their families and neighbors, and for all of those reliving the loss of hate killings in their communities. I speak for all of us at LLC in expressing our love and support to the familes of those lost in Pittsburgh, the synagogue and the city, and to the families of Maurice Stallard and Vicki Jones, two African American who were killed by a white man in Kentuck who first attempted to barge into a Black Church.

 

I was filled with sadness, outrage, and overwhelmed by the tidal wave of attacks on people of color, immigrants, religious minorities, women, and LGBTQIA communities occuring against a back drop of hateful language that incites and condones these actions. I am fired up with anger about everything I am against. Over the last couple of day, I have been reflecting about what it means to be in a perpetual fighting posture defined by what I am against. Clearly I am against hate, and I don’t want the haters to be the ones defining where my energy is going, to the extent that I am losing touch what it means to be for love.

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Practicing What We Preach: The Co-Executive Director Model

I am excited to announce that we are beginning the search for a Co-Executive Director. It’s an idea that has been percolating in me for some time now, and for many reasons. As you may have noticed, the tagline for much of what we write is…”promoting equity-based, networked and collective leadership.” Obviously, if we want to debunk the heroic individualist model of leader in favor of more collectivist models of leadership as a process, it does not make sense to embody the ‘go it alone’ individual ED model, even though we are also trying to flatten out the hierarchy which also has to happen. We have been following the move by well respected colleagues in our field who have already made this move, MAG, Movement Building Project, Center for Movement Strategy, the Whitman Center and also coming on board CompassPoint. We have had a lot of conversations about this, and we are jumping into it with our eyes wide open about all that can be great, and all that could be challenging, so ... before going into the details, I want to spend more time on why this is so important.

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Six Lessons for Cultivating Leadership of Color in the Community Organizing Movement

By Ericka Stallings, ANHD's Director of Organizing and Advocacy

Non-profit organizing institutions have long struggled with the fact that their leadership is disproportionately white and middle class. We all know that our organizing will ultimately be more effective and more grounded in a true commitment to justice, if the primary actors are directly impacted people, those who come from the marginalized communities in which we work. Yet, for many reasons, groups in the Community Development movement too often fail to achieve this.

 

Cultivating movement leadership of color must include an effective approach for recognizing, attracting, and training new community organizers of color, then supporting them as they hone their skills to more advanced levels. But even here - or maybe, especially here - our movement falls short; we have seen that it is consistently difficult for people from marginalized communities to overcome the barriers to both entry and advancement in community organizing. Consequently, people of color and other marginalized people are grossly underrepresented in leadership positions . There are many reasons for this, including implicit bias and the glorification of mainstream career and educational backgrounds, both of which hinder the recognition of candidates from marginalized backgrounds. Consequently, our organizations often ignore or undervalue the critically important skills and experiences that directly-impacted leaders can bring to movement organizations.

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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?
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Leadership and Race Publication Launch Highlights

We launched the "Leadership and Race: How to Develop and Support Leadership that Contributes to Racial Justice" in September 2010.  The publication was developed by the Leadership Learning Community and other thought leaders in the leadership and racial equity fields.  The publication offers practical methods and recommendations to help leadership programs prepare their participants to bring a more race conscious lens to all policy and service work; and empower people of color to better lead their communities.

We reached out to key partners and media (bloggers, etc.) to help us communicate the messages from the report.  We wanted to share with you some of the highlights from the launch campaign: read more »

News Alert: Race and Unity, Innovation, Networking, and Collaboration!

On Race and Unity read more »

  • Using the “No Wedding No Womb” program as an example, Mikhail Lyubansky makes the argument that racial injustices need to be addressed at a systematic or structural level rather than at an individual level.  NWNW is a program that encourages black women not to have children out of wedlock.  It does not promote abstinence necessarily, but instead relies on statistics to show that children are much more likely to succeed when they have “physical, financial, and emotional protection,” which they are more likely to have if their parents are married than if they are not (or than if they are being raised by a single parent).  Lyubansky argues that the message of the program is positive, but it addresses the wrong issues.  Rather than focusing our efforts on helping black women to make the best of the current (unfair) situation, we should be focusing on changing the system to resolve current inequalities.
  • In South Dakota, 2010 has been dubbed by many as the “year of unity.”  The purpose of the year of unity is to acknowledge and appreciate the contributions American Indians have brought to the state and, ultimately, to get their land returned to them.  In a blog post on Race-Talk, Tim Giago writes about the necessity of bringing unity to South Dakota and also recaps some of the major gains in the past 20 years regarding ending racial injustices.

Leadership and Race Webinar: Key Challenges and Opportunities for Leadership Programs to Promote Racial Justice

Two weeks ago, the Leadership Learning Community hosted a webinar to explore their recently published report, How to Develop and Support Leadership that Contributes to Racial Justice. We were honored to have great panelists, which included three of the authors – john a. powell from Kirwan Institute, Sally Leiderman from Center for Assessment and Policy Development (CAPD), and Terry Keleher from the Applied Research Center. The panel also included Carmen Morgan from Leadership Development for Interethnic Relations (LDIR). LDIR has a strong focus on promoting more inclusive leadership models, and we wanted to include Carmen’s perspective. Over 150 participants joined the call, including individuals and groups working in leadership and/or racial justice across various sectors. Over the course of one hour, we invited participants to share their questions with the panelists and collectively explore some of the most critical concepts and questions from the report. Several interesting ideas came up: read more »

Supporting leadership that promotes racial justice (Race-talk.org)

Guest blog on Race-talk.org

By Deborah Meehan, Executive Director, Leadership Learning Community

Oakland made the headlines again this summer when a jury delivered a verdict of involuntary manslaughter in the trial of Johannes Mehserle.  Mehserle, a BART police officer, was on trial for shooting Oscar Grant, a young, African American, unarmed passenger who died on New Year’s Day 2009.  Oscar Grant’s shooting and death were captured on a cell phone video and posted on YouTube.   Oscar Grant was shot in the back while he was defensively held face down by other BART police officers with his hands handcuffed behind his back.  Mehserle asserted that he accidentally pulled and fired his pistol instead of a taser gun.  It is possible with this verdict that Mesherle will be given probation and no jail time when he is sentenced on November 3rd 2010.

Months in advance of the verdict, a number of youth organizations in Oakland began organizing to provide opportunities for young people to gather and talk about how this could happen and what could be done so that it doesn’t happen again.  This is a leadership question and makes the findings of a report just released on Leadership and Race particularly relevant.  Why? The report, How to Develop and Support Leaderships that Contributes to Racial Justice, suggests that the focus on the individual has permeated the ways in which we think about leadership with some serious costs to our efforts to change the realities of people like Oscar Grant who have been denied many life opportunities because of their race. read more »

How to Develop and Support Leadership that Contributes to Racial Justice PDF file [download] [more info]

Leadership programs can help solve racial inequalities in access to education, healthcare, income and wealth. But according to the report, many current approaches to leadership development actually maintain and promote racial inequalities. This is the first report to analyze the link between major philanthropy investments in the racial equity and leadership development fields. The report, How to Develop and Support Leadership that Contributes to Racial Justice, suggests that a large number of leadership programs associate leadership with equal opportunity and individualism. This thinking does not recognize that current systems (i.e. policy, culture and institutional practices) can cause racial identity to limit one’s access to life opportunities. It also focuses too narrowly on changing the behavior of individual leaders. Instead, leadership programs should: 1) make their programs more accessible for people of color; 2) help participants understand how race limits access to opportunities – in other words, the impact of structural racism; and 3) promote collective leadership. This approach will help participants work together to tackle the systems that maintain racial inequalities.

Authors: Think.Do.Repeat.; Maggie Potapchuk, Terry Keleher, Social Policy Research Associates (SPR), Ph.D., MP Associates; Professor john a. powell, Leadership Learning Community (LLC); Elissa Perry, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University; and Hanh Cao Yu, Center for Assessment and Policy Development (CAPD); Deborah Meehan, Applied Research Center (ARC); Sally Leiderman

Subjects: race, leadership

09/08/2010 - 00:00 - 0 comments - 1 attachment - Posted by Natalia Castaneda

New Report: How to Develop and Support Leadership that Contributes to Racial Justice

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Leadership programs can help solve racial inequalities in access to education, healthcare, income and wealth, but many current approaches to leadership development actually maintain and promote racial inequalities. The report, How to Develop and Support Leadership that Contributes to Racial Justice, suggests that a large number of leadership programs associate leadership with equal opportunity and individualism. This thinking does not recognize that current systems (i.e. policy, culture and institutional practices) can cause racial identity to limit one’s access to life opportunities. It also focuses too narrowly on changing the behavior of individual leaders. Instead, leadership programs should: 1) make their programs more accessible for people of color; 2) help participants understand how race limits the access to opportunities – in other words, the impact of structural racism; and 3) promote collective leadership. This approach will help participants work together to tackle the systems that maintain racial inequalities. 

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