Ways of Being

  • We are Present: This work is hard and demanding, we must be cognizant of our bodies’ needs. We begin our conversations by grounding ourselves.

 

  • We are Imperfect: We cannot be articulate all the time. We are grateful for each other’s contributions and for feedback. We recognize growing opportunities in making the link between defensiveness and fear.

 

  • We are Transparent, Brave, Empathetic Communicators: Everyone has access to all information. Our decision making is transparent. We embrace conflict as care for our community. We recognize that there are multiple truths.  Intentions are clear and there are avenues for modification.

 

  • We Have a Right to Self Determination: We build an environment where participants can thrive. We recognize and actively work to remove inherent power imbalances in our group. We include those affected by decisions in the decision making. 

 

  • We Prioritize Process: We are willing to shift when needs arise. We do not sacrifice wellbeing for project outcomes. Success and its measures come in many forms. We actively envision new measures of progress.

 

  • We are Better Together: We create authentic relationships. We value all contributions to collective work, both measurable and immeasurable. To magnify our impact, we put aside our competitive interests. We share the same goal.

Important Note:  These Ways of Being were created through a long, participatory process by a working group at the Maine Nature Based Education Consortium.  The process began by exploring two critical documents.  The Relearning Place Manifesto by Red Fong and Dismantling Racism: A Workbook for Social Change Groups, by Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun, ChangeWork, 2001.  They were written by: Olivia Griset, Amara Ifeji, Stefan Jackson, Nathan Broaddus, Red Fong and Tamara Lee Pinard.  This group studied how white supremacy culture shows up in organizations and then imagined how we need to behave differently in order to avoid perpetuating common detrimental behaviors of white supremacy culture.  Instead of focusing on how we did not want to act, we reframed the narrative as concisely as possible to focus on how we wanted to behave in order to build more inclusive and equitable working groups.  

These Ways of Being are not designed to be reused; if you want to design something similar for your group or organization, please do so! You can contact Red Fong if you'd like help creating your own.