Hello good people!
In a time of such deep and beautiful transition, I am celebrating because I have really wonderful news to share. But first, an update...
As many of you know, I have been serving as the Interim Executive Director of RECLAIM, an amazing nonprofit in the Twin Cities that increases access to mental health support for queer and trans youth so that they may reclaim their lives from oppression in all its forms. We are now looking for a permanent Executive Director, so please consider sharing this announcement with people you know who may be interested in this role...
It's been an incredible year, and I will be sad to say goodbye to RECLAIM. But I am also thrilled about my next step...(drum roll please)...
In 2016 I will be joining AORTA, the Anti-Oppression Resource and Training Alliance, a worker-owned cooperative devoted to strengthening movements for social justice and a solidarity economy. We work nationally as consultants and facilitators to expand the capacity of cooperative, collective, and community based projects through education, training, and planning. We base our work on an intersectional approach to liberation because we believe that true change requires uprooting all systems of oppression. Basically I've been fangirling AORTA for several years, so I'm deeply honored to be joining the team.
This means that for the first time since 2012 I am available regionally and nationally for consulting work, and most of that work will flow through AORTA. This includes organizational development, strategic planning, retreat facilitation, and my Foundations of Social Change Training Series, a set of one-day to two-day trainings on structural oppression and transformative social change practices, including:
- Identity, Difference, and Power Dynamics
- Race, Whiteness, and Transformation
- Consensus Decision-Making
- The Action Star for Community Organizing
- and many more...
I will continue working independently to build a new body of work on Nonprofit Trauma and Organizational Healing. I define Nonprofit Trauma as the specific experience of severe mental and emotional stress arising from systemic interrelational and/or structural abuse that takes place within the context of a workplace grounded in social service or social change values. I am experimenting with and building resources for organizational practices that seek to heal past or current harms, with the ultimate goal of strengthening the organizations that advance social justice work. To that end, in 2016 I am open to 1-3 organizations who want to hire me as an "embedded" consultant, assessing the organizational trauma/crisis*, and facilitating a process that includes circle mediation, storytelling, policy and practices assessment, and systems change recommendations.
If you are interested in booking me in 2016, please use the Contact form on my website.
There is great abundance in my life right now, and I am grateful that I am still here and able to share it. As many of you know, I just came through an extraordinarily difficult year, during which I lost a baby in pregnancy. I just passed the one year anniversary of this loss, and I feel so grateful for the life I have now, and the ways the child I lost has become my teacher. I have a much deeper commitment to practicing self-care and self-love, to setting and holding healthy boundaries, and to letting go of the things that, for whatever reason, must be released.
Another beautiful thing that happened in the last year was the publishing of Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements. The reception has been OUTSTANDING (we are currently #1 on Powell's best-selling anthologies list, WHAT??), and humbling. Coming out as a emerging science fiction writer has been fun and funny and exciting, akin to what I imagine skydiving feels like. For those of you who have read my story, first of all, thank you for taking the time. Second of all, please note that it is the first chapter in a novel-in-progress. I hope to create retreat time within the next year to complete a first draft of the novel. In the meantime, please check out "A Future Anthropology," the essay I wrote about visionary fiction and social justice work for the emergent issue of The James Franco Review, released in October.
You are great, and awesome, and I appreciate you for reading this missive from the woods of Minnesota.
*How do you know if you are experiencing or have experienced an organizational trauma/crisis? Look for these tell-tale signs:
- a toxic internal work culture, characterized by secrecy, trash talking, intimidation, and silencing
- a disconnect between externally stated values and internal practices (ex. employees or impacted communities are invited to give feedback on potential decisions and their feedback is ignored)
- multiple people with marginalized identities leave the organization within a short span of time, or
- a general inability to retain people with marginalized identities on staff or board
- a decision or series of decisions are made by senior leadership that result in reductions or layoffs
- institutional and/or community partners or funders are reducing or pulling support
- ...trust your gut!