What We Tie Our Intentions to Matters

January 17

Million Person ProjectWhen I decided I wanted to write about facilitative leadership, I made a list of all the facilitators I know who are creating space for our creator selves to show up.  Julian Mocine-McQueen and Heather Box, two amazing humans and the founders of the Million Person Project, were high on my list. The first time the three of us had a chance to facilitate together was a storytelling workshop for organizers in South Africa at the UN Climate Talks.  Heather and Julian were in the early days of a journey around the globe to ignite the power of story with organizers building community power. And now, nine years later, they are on a journey around the US giving talks on their new book, How Your Story Sets You Free.

I had the chance to talk with Julian not too long ago about facilitation, storytelling, and what’s happening at the intersection of the two.  With ease and joyful laughter he broke down some deep shit. He is seeing a shift that I think a lot of us are seeing - a shift towards relationship, to be humans first before focusing in on a shared target.  Julian said... read more


The Space Between Us is Alive: Truth Talk with Gibrán Rivera

May 17

What if we had a sense of the collective so powerful, it made us as individuals feel more free?  Gibrán and I have never met in person, but we are connected somehow through our work in the world.  He is one of those people whose name tends to come up when I describe to people what I do. I’m usually reluctant to describe what I do because facilitative leadership can feel so nebulous. I was inspired to reach out to Gibrán to help me trace the contours of this work that feels necessary in these times of crisis, confusion, and opportunity for forward momentum.  My intention is to be in more active dialogue around facilitative leadership practices that can help us uncover our power to reweave the world. Those of us looking to enliven cultures of deep participation and leadership are sitting by the same rivers of energy and inspiration whether we see each other or not.  In one conversation he transmitted vibrant pieces of wisdom that elevated my understanding of the freedom that could be possible now.


When There is No Justice, There is Just Us: concrete actions to address the Zimmerman verdict at the family, workplace, and community levels

July 23

Where were you when the Zimmerman verdict came out?  Were you stunned, outraged, numb?  Were you in a position to process its significance with people in your community?  Did you have an opportunity to mourn for Trayvon Martin's family and for black and brown-skinned youth who are being told their lives don’t matter here?

I found out while I was on my way to see the movie, Fruitvale Station.  I was stunned and yet strangely grateful for the timing.  The movie gives us a window into the life of Oscar Grant, another young African-American man shot and killed by a white man who, like Zimmerman, was favored by the courts.  Besides the opportunity to reflect on the undeniable racism that plagues our “justice” system, watching Fruitvale Station on the night of the Zimmerman verdict gave us a chance to weep. 

Sobs tinged with rage and heavy with sorrow filled the theater.  We wept for Oscar Grant, a young father whose love for his daughter was beginning to transform his life when he was shot in the back by BART police.  We wept for Trayvon Martin, who at 17-years-old was profiled, stalked and shot dead by an openly racist neighborhood watchman.  We wept for all the families who have lost their babies to court-sanctioned murder.  And we wept for a country that feeds on it’s young. 

Zimmerman’s acquittal is just a symptom of an insidious disease plaguing this country.  And like most diseases, we don’t like talking about white supremacy and the supreme devaluing of human life that comes with it.  And like most symptoms of disease, the Zimmerman verdict presents a supreme opportunity for us to rethink old patterns and choose new ways forward.

When there is no justice, there is just us.  I don’t know who first coined that axiom, but it points us directly at the blessing hidden within times of grave injustice.  These are the most powerful moments for us to come together to build alternatives, to have real conversations about the state of the world and the world we stand to create.

Let us all use this verdict as a springboard into the next level of our social engagement to create the world we want to live in.

Whether it is weeping together in a movie theater, protesting together in the streets, or strategizing together around how we can build a country where every young person knows his life is valued, we are all we’ve got.

The following are concrete suggestions for Facilitating Power to move forward from the Zimmerman verdict...


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