As I write this on International Women’s Day and look back on the many moments and memories from our Black History Month celebrations in February, I’ve been reflecting on the role of these micro-moments of remembering. On the one hand, I appreciate the focused attention, the reminders to stop and pay tribute, and the visibility they give to causes that still matter a great deal.
Over the years, I’ve enjoyed participating in events that elevate and celebrate, but this year I find myself a little unmoved and a lot frustrated by the points-in-time that punctuate real and lasting inequities. I find myself weary of awareness-raising around age-old issues and hungry for more enduring change. I notice that I am less inclined to show up to a gala or festival and more prone to giving my time to the making and amplifying of movements. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s reminder that “the moral arc of history is long and bends toward justice” is at once a helpful reminder and of little solace to those who struggle, daily, in the face of systems set up to perpetuate inequities at their expense.
Racism and sexism are not rooted in individual actions, and their effects are much less about people behaving badly than about policies and practices crafted by the powerful to prop up and perpetuate economic and political systems that favor the few over the many. Unlearning and untangling these systems requires ongoing engagement and, as a dear friend recently called them, “relational ninja skills.” We must learn how to listen across our differences and discover the co-creative power inherent in our distinct experiences and perspectives.
The COVID crisis has shone a bright light on the cracks in our social fabric, on all the places where operating in isolation serves us badly in the face of challenges that affect us all. The current catastrophe in Ukraine highlights that no one wins at war and that conflict can only be resolved in community.
At Integrated Work, we are fast approaching our 24th anniversary. Being woman-owned and woman-led for all that time has been no small feat, and the world HAS changed a lot around us. There are obvious pockets of progress to point to, but the road to real equity—and beyond that to a space of truly collaborative, co-creative problem-solving, still feels a pretty long way off.
Today, we invite you to reflect on where you see, feel, and experience real progress in your life, especially from your more marginalized identities, and one where much more is needed. If you feel stuck and don’t quite know where to start, we invite you to check out our new JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) Journey cards—designed and curated with care not to give you the answers (we sure don’t have them all!) but to offer up some steps to take on your own learning journey along with questions to ask in your own inquiry (alone or with friends, family, and colleagues). We hope they will provoke new insights and start conversations that lead to more meaningful and lasting change.
In this month’s newsletter, our Brand and Product Lead, Roma Velasco, reflects on her own family’s history with colonialism and her own quest to find a powerful place to stand in relationship to that history, reminding us all that we may have histories, traditions, and roots that we’ve lost contact with.
Meanwhile, lifelong friends and colleagues Trent Norman (one of our JEDI co-leads) and Rebecca Brown Adelman (his co-founder at Affinity Arts Consulting) examine what it really means to “own our privilege” and spend it in service of deepening connection and creating an invitation to join us in the work.
Elsewhere, Christi Granstaff, our Director of Strategic Growth, reflects on the many lessons we continue to learn every day on our own cultural evolution as we work to become a KOAN (Kind, Open, Adaptive, Network) – from the need to devote time and resources to tending the change, to building the muscle necessary to have the important, yet still sometimes-challenging conversations that lead to real growth.
Finally, Executive Consultant and Marketing Lead Catherine Saar, showcases an exciting global collaboration we’ve been privileged to participate in to bring The Carbon Almanac to life alongside hundreds (now thousands) of volunteers from more than 60 countries around the world as we look to make a lasting impact, at scale, to the worsening climate crisis.
Next month, we get another “Day of Remembrance” as we celebrate Earth Day on April 22, so expect to hear more about that project then. For now, we hope you each find hope in the communities around you, in the difference-making you each do every day, and look forward to continuing to take meaningful strides together in the direction of lasting change.