Adrienne Maree Brown,
"Transforming Ruckus: Actions Speak Louder"
(page 4 of 4)
We have learned that such a fundamental shift requires many small
steps—having massive visions and making them attainable with specific
goals that can be measured and felt both internally as well as by those
who participate in the network and in our trainings.
We have also learned that we had to lay out our operating beliefs.
Each person has a set of beliefs with which they move through the world.
These are formed by their cultural, social, economic, and environmental
(amongst others) experiences from birth, and they change as more
experiences are added to the whole.
A group brings their beliefs together into a set of named or unnamed
ways in which they operate. We have made our beliefs very transparent at
Ruckus. What we landed on was that for the next period of history, we
need to place an emphasis on:
- impacted leadership (the leadership of communities directly
impacted by economic and environmental injustice)
- privileged support (the intentional support for impacted leadership
from communities/people that can identify their privilege and want to
see a rebalancing of power)
- feminine leadership (not just women
leaders, but leaders who shift our understanding of how power can be
In part, these beliefs are grounded in the reality that leadership
from these spheres is directly opposite to the leadership we've
experienced for the last century and it's time for balance, and in part
because the most exciting organizing happening today is coming from
communities directly impacted by oppressions and injustices.
As an organization, The Ruckus Society's operating principles include
the Jemez Principles and the Environmental Justice Principles. These
principles mean we move towards our vision of sustainability and
self-determination through organizing that values natural operating
systems, understanding the power of uncovering the root causes of
problems, and asking, "What are the root problems in my community, and
what do deep, foundational, rooted solutions look like?" To me this is
thinking from a place of healing, more than dominating others with our
It is not enough to adhere to these values, however—we want to see
our beliefs in practice.
Now, how does it feel?
Being a part of this team has been incredible. We have experienced
what it's like to release any assumption that one person has all the
skills needed to lead and support the work. That release—a huge relief
to me personally—allowed us to begin to really weave together our
strengths, rather than facing the limitations of relying on one leader
to hold the vision, coordination, fundraising, and programmatic work of
the group. It has allowed us face our own personal limitations with
transparency and curiosity, noting where we want to grow and not being
afraid to ask for feedback.
On an average day, it feels like an extremely functional organization
working for change. On the best days, it feels like the world we are
trying to create, and it is marvelous.
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