Moving Forward Requires Change and Growth

Social Movements + Innovation at The New School is a hub for experimentation and learning where social movement leaders come to practice innovation and build networks and action across movements. Here, Executive Director Judy Pryor-Ramirez reflects on the recent listening and learning tour.

We have come to the end of our listening and learning tour. We have traveled 6,703 miles, engaged with 1,333 people in real life and virtually, and we have partnered with 13 independent vendors for photography, catering, and graphic design. When we began designing this community engagement process, we wanted to ensure our actions stayed true to CoreAlign’s values. I feel proud that we have accomplished that. Now, I am eager to dig deep and spend time with all the information we have gathered from our sessions with you. Here is what I have heard so far about your needs, wants, and questions:

What you say you need and want:

  • Resources including tools, information, people, money, physical spaces, trainings, etc., which can come from SM+I
  • A space for cross-movement conversation
  • Space to be creative and fail

What you fear or are concerned about:

  • Collaboration with TNS
  • Whether the mission of SM+I is relevant for your organizations

What you wonder or still have questions about:

  • How can the institution itself move to reflect movement values, not just find or talk about them?
  • How to bring in/welcome/reach new people, youth, and other movements?
  • The role of SM+I: How will we embody radical collaboration + access + innovation across movements? How can these be tangible?

Some of these notions are new to me, and others are what I expected. While we begin the next leg of our work of making meaning of the feedback, I’m sitting with the idea that moving forward requires change and growth. In order for SM+I to blossom, there will be evitable and inevitable changes. We will need to shift our strategy, our program offerings, and our mindsets to address what you and the political moment are asking for. And in making those changes, we might grow together, adjacent and sometimes apart. In the midst of change and growth, we remain steady and committed to working alongside you in the movement for justice.

We know that we can’t do our work without you—and from the beginning, we have committed to a process that enables us to create SM+I with the input from the people and groups we want to serve. We have been asking you over the last few months what you need and want for your movements. As such, I invite you one more time to share your thoughts, questions, and feedback with us.

Over the next few weeks and months, we will be guided through a process to review and articulate what you shared with us. I’m excited to report back our findings and next steps with you. Stay tuned! I want to close on a note of gratitude as we prepare to enter the Thanksgiving holiday. This season, I’m grateful for our generous and curious community, the time and space to engage in a deliberate listening and learning process, and for the humorous and brilliant colleagues I get to work with every day.

Reposted from Social Movements + Innovation Blog


About the Author