Posts in Advancing Strategies
1,100 Silver Brooches and a Tool for Thinking About Transformative Change

Admittedly, I've tried 1,100 ways of talking with people about transformative change through policymaking, with varied responses. I've been most successful with college students, but then again I have had them for as much as 16 weeks of lead up to the big ah-ha moment. More often, I have sixty minutes, and in this particular case I had forty-five. So, here's what I did in the whirlwind.

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What I'm Reading: Systems Change and Transformation

We can fly with the swallows and bees or we can stay lost in the plastic maze of human-made systems of oppression. But reading Emergent Strategy over and over has convinced me that the swallows and bees are coming back, and so I choose the murmuration. And I hope that others who read brown's book will also, even if it takes them some time to let their inner control freak go so they can get through it.

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Systems, Not Individuals

The whole point of learning about the system of oppression was so that we could see how it organizes us. When you see how you and others are being organized by the logic of white supremacy, patriarchy, imperialism, and capitalism, then you are in a better position to develop an intervention – to fight back strategically rather than to merely react to what is loudest or most appalling.

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Internal Validity

Earlier in the week, I asked my students, "When was the last time you intentionally read something that you knew in advance you would strongly disagree with?" I got thirty-five blank stares. And I wasn't surprised. Under what circumstances in our contemporary American society would they come across a reason to do that? When they see something they don't like, they swipe left and it's gone.

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Verstehen: Meaningful Understanding

The need to engage verstehen (or empathic neutrality) is equally important whether my "subject" is someone with whom I'm already inclined to empathize (like the young woman in the park) or someone with whom it is very difficult for me to empathize. And so it was verstehen that I called upon later in the week when I found myself in the backseat of a cab being driven by an outspoken white nationalist.

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Better Together (Moving Really Fast and Strategically)

I'm with you, Senator Harris. Let's go! But, how? We can all agree that we must act quickly and strategically in the work we are doing right now to protect our communities, but the way forward is murky at best. Over the last few days I've been checking in with my clients, and in one way or another the conversation ultimately lands on, "What makes sense now?" As we've all pretty much figured out at this point, our "now" is wholly unlike any moment before.

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