A sweet friend of mine nominated me to join the Life is Good Facebook challenge. The task was to find joy in the midst of the chaos by posting 10 pictures for 10 days of things that give me joy with no explanation. I accepted the challenge. As I was digging through old pictures, I found myself reminiscing (as I often do) of the stories, events, relationships, and histories captured in the photos. Indeed, it gave me an abundance of joy in the midst of chaos.
As I was reflecting, it became clear to me that community is what gives me the most joy. But make no mistake, not all community is life-giving community.
As a single woman in my budding 40s (Yes, 40s!) with no children and away from my immediate family, I have so many folks that make up my personal and professional community. They keep my life full, meaningful, and purposeful. Most of my community has been formed around shared commitments, missions, and visions for imaging into existence justice-making and solidarity-building relationships, practices, programs, and initiatives.
Because I am directly tied, both personally and professionally, to communities impacted by mass incarceration, COVID-19 has challenged and stretched me beyond my capacities so that new capacities could be made visible. I have learned a few lessons regarding power that will forever remain near to me. When I speak of power, I am drawing on Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s definition.
- Your story is your power. Claim and tell your truth because it has the power to shift the atmosphere. The world needs more vulnerable truth-tellers.
- Your community is your power. Care for your relationships with respect, honesty, accountability, and empathy. The world needs more authentic community-builders.
- Your influence is your power. Leadership is your call to inspire and activate others towards the collective good of justice-making and solidarity-building! The world needs more collaborative leadership, not competitive, individualistic, power-hoarding leadership.
- Your creativity is your superpower. Direct your energies towards imagining into existence a world that is more just, inclusive, diverse and equitable. If it can be imagined, it can be created!
I am grateful for the gift of being connected to, and in, a community with a wide and vast network of justice-makers and solidarity-builders. And they are ALL DopeAF!
The cover photo represents a collage of a handful of experiences and relationships with individuals and communities that have inspired me, activated and led me towards a personal accountability of being more vulnerable, more authentic, more collaborative, and more creative. Plainly, they have challenged me to steward justly the power that has been entrusted to me.
cheering you on…