COO is excited to once again be in-person with community partners and the leaders and groups working to build community power, health and well-being, greater solidarity, and a more just and equitable King County. At the Winter All-Partner Gathering on December 14th, we are honored to host a remote keynote from multi-genre writer, facilitator, and doula, adrienne maree brown. We will also host a panel conversation with community leaders Elmer Dixon, Aurora Martin, and Jaelynn Scott, and additional sessions to provide space for connection, reflection and practice. (Registration and full agenda details to be found here. New sessions still being added.)
This gathering is a continuation of the conversations we had at our Spring All-Partner Convening with Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer on themes of relationship with the land, with ourselves and with one another. It also responds to what we’ve been hearing from partner organizations, as well as the and engagements of leaders and thinkers from those engaged in solidarity and movement building nationally and globally. COO believes that holding space for these kinds of community conversations is critical to supporting the healing connections that create ties of belonging, well-being and transformation. We look forward to be in conversation with the groups, organizations, staff, and leadership that make up the COO network, to think through and explore together the challenges, opportunities, solutions and wins in building and wielding collective, community power.
Some of the questions that have guided the planning of the Winter All-Partner Gathering and that we hope to continue at the event and beyond include:
- How do we sustain the health and well-being of ourselves, our peers, our organizations and communities in anti-racist work for more just and equitable policies, systems and conditions? How do we move from the transactional to the transformational? How do we continue to support healing, belonging and accountability across all of our work and communities in the midst of ongoing trauma and oppression?
- What does the particular role of the “organizer” look like in this moment, and how is it connected to other necessary roles in the ecosystem of this work? What are the learnings from others, such as in the work of the Social Change Ecosystem Framework?
- How do we develop and encourage practices and processes of generative and principled disagreement and conflict? What resources and spaces are needed to support these practices?
- How can institutions better seed community-held and led work, structures and solutions that are radical and/or alternative to mainstream, ineffective and divisive funding and programming while working within those same systems and systemic constraints? How can institutional resources be a source of collaboration and cooperation versus creating division and competition?
Our intention with the Winter All-Partner Convening is to offer space and resources to reflect on some of these questions, and to help seed some of the answers that are already in community. We also hope that the space itself is one that inspires collaboration, cooperation, healing and the means for being in “right-relationship” as Dr. Kimmer described to us in the Spring.
We welcome all community groups and community members who are interested in engaging in these questions and who are working in aligned ways – for racial justice, greater equity, greater solidarity, and the healing and well-being of all our communities. If you have questions, please reach out! We are continuing to add offerings to the day, so please check here back for agenda and event updates. In the meantime we invite you to refresh on the learnings and experience of our Spring gathering here and in the video here.
Reading list of references
The following are some of the writings that have guided the planning of this gathering:
“Let’s do mycelial organizing inspired by the underground fungal networks that turn waste and toxicity into new life.
Mycelia see the potential life in everything. Everything dead and alive goes into the soil and gets processed into life. When we understand that our pain and grief are part of our aliveness, part of how we learn to be, and part of how we ultimately contribute to the life of our planet, we can learn to eat everything and make it fuel. We can recycle and upcycle everything, because it is all material, data, content, source. We can make death into life.”
“There are things we can and must do to shift movements for justice toward a powerful posture of joy and victory. Such a metamorphosis is not inevitable, but it is essential. This essay describes the problems our movements face, identifies underlying causes, analyzes symptoms of the core problems, and proposes some concrete solutions to reset our course.”
Building Better Leadership Pipelines by Stanley Fritz
”…if we are committed to building a sustainable movement that shifts power from those who have it to those who don’t, we must be willing to do the work to make that happen. Part of that work is supporting new leaders through rigorous staff development, clear eyed political education, realistic expectations, and a support system of people who will be invested in their leadership, and the organization’s success. There is a path to our collective liberation, but we have to be willing to walk it with intention.”
“As noted, campaigns are best developed within movements. But if we just say, “We have to build a movement” to define our task ahead, we are missing something essential. Lacking major sources of big money or established incumbencies, the working class and the oppressed require organization as their primary weapon. We can indeed “fan the flames,” which, to some degree, can prolong or spread a movement. But it is primarily by building campaigns that we construct the organizations that can ride past the rise and fall of one mass upsurge and reconnect it with the next wave to rise.
We need to not just win redistributive reforms or end a war. We need to alter relations of power and governance so our organizations grow stronger with each wave and eventually gain the ability to take power altogether. Even more so, we will need ‘organizations of a special type’ that will help usher in a new order and defend it against those who would undermine or sabotage it, taking us backward.”
“The 10 components of good strategy are: Goals; Underlying Analysis; Hypotheses; Tactics; Narrative; Culture; Resources; Governance; Structure; and Power Dynamics.
The components of good strategy are neither hierarchical nor sequential. In my experience, all good strategic processes are deeply iterative, moving through the components in different orders at different times, again and again.”
“The larger takeaway from the report is that we can defeat the rising tide of authoritarianism and division in this country—and to do that, organizations that are part of a pro-democracy movement must reground ourselves in relational, transformational, power-based community organizing. An organizing revival—with the resources to make it work and take it to scale –– can get us on a path to build a future where we all thrive…”
“No matter what age or generation we are, we are sharing these tumultuous times, challenged by climate devastation, a digital upheaval, advancing authoritarianism–plus white supremacy, religious patriarchy and economic inequality that just won’t quit… As progressive organizers, a lot of what we do requires that we be in conversation with people about how to balance out the rights of individuals with the conditions needed for the common good—and do it with enough people that we can win both personal transformations and systemic change. That requires extending beyond ourselves to embrace a more generous definition of who is on our side.”
“…One of the sayings we have in the civil rights movement … we say that we have to convince people today that they are not the entire chain of freedom. The chain of freedom stretches back toward your ancestors and forward toward your descendants. Your job today is to make sure the chain doesn’t break at your link. That’s all you need to focus on: Not letting the chain break at your link…In the civil rights movement, they used to say we need to turn to each other instead of on each other.”
“Four organizing leaders talk about unity and struggle with centrist allies, building our progressive and left alignment, and what can stand in the way.
To navigate the tensions inherent in working with centrist forces, “[We] keep our eyes on the one face of the struggle, which is fighting authoritarianism, while being clear that, as much as we’re concerned with fighting authoritarianism, it doesn’t mean that we won’t be in principled disagreement,” said Maurice Mitchell.”
COO is also excited to be partnering with LOVING ROOM! The first 100 attendees will be given a free book and there will also be opportunities to purchase the publications from some of the day’s speakers, as well as from this book list curated by COO and LOVING ROOM.
- When: December 14th, from 10am – 4 pm (doors open at 9am)
- Where: Northwest African American Museum (2300 S Massachusetts St, Seattle, WA 98144)
- Transportation & Parking: There is limited free parking available in the NWAAM parking lot, directly outside the museum. Please park in museum parking only (labeled MUSEUM), as there is resident parking in the other spots. There is also free street parking available on 23rd Ave S or 25 Ave S. The museum is easy to access via public transportation as well. Please visit King County Metro Trip Planner for directions.
- We will have coffee, tea, and small bites available in the morning as well as a catered lunch from That Brown Girl Cooks!
- There will be simultaneous Spanish-language interpretation available. Please connect with us if there are additional ways we can support your full participation at the event.
- There will be an opportunity to purchase books by adrienne maree brown and other authors during lunch and breaks through loving room books.
- Participants must RSVP to attend please RSVP HERE! And, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions!