On May 11-12, stone circles convened Deep Change North Carolina, a statewide gathering on transformational leadership and movement building. Held just four days after the disheartening loss of the campaign against Amendment One, the joy and love in the pavilion was still palpable. 65 people representing over 30 different social justice organizations across the state came together to celebrate progress made, reconnect…the victories won in base-building, and to think about the future. Deep Change is part of a larger, ongoing effort stone circles has undertaken to transform movement building in North Carolina.
Key Outcomes of Deep Change
- A marked increased in understanding of transformational leadership and how to apply it to movement building;
- Initial mapping of organizing work and relationships in the state;
- Definitional work around transformational capacity-building;
- Some breakthrough thinking for immigrant rights leadership;
- Vital space for debrief and reflection on Amendment One campaign; and
- Compelling example of how we can hold strategic objectives in a relational and compassionate environment.
Highlights at a Glance:
- The conference led off with an opening address from Gihan Perera, co-founder of the Miami Workers Center, Right to the City Alliance, and Florida New Majority, and a model of transformational leadership. With his long history in organizing and strong commitment to transformational practice, Gihan was an ideal person to help folks develop and deepen an understanding of what transformational leadership means, and how it can shift the work of building movements.
- Deep Change helped deepen people’s understanding of transformational leadership and practice in the process of building social movements. From evaluations, participant understanding increased significantly. There is more work to do to create a collective understanding of this concept and ensure that needed tools are available to people to do transformational work.
- We identified some of the current strengths and challenges of movement building in the state, including the tremendous increase in intersectionality in movement thinking …
- The environment and processes at the conference served as a model for how to convene
- The conference was convened in partnership with Blueprint NC, Center for Participatory Change, Democracy North Carolina, OpenSource Leadership Strategies, and Rockwood Leadership Institute.
We will be working in collaboration on the following next steps:
- Continued mapping all the organizations by geography, issues, and constituents, do overlap and gap analysis, see where new partnerships and collaborations can be formed. The organizer track was designed with this in mind, knowing it was only a beginning step. We only scratched the surface of the work to be done in this area.
- Continued relationship building that breaks down silos, builds trust and catalyzes greater division of labor. The request is to start where we ended, to take the next steps with a set of “givens,” and a way to orient people to what they are stepping into.
- Distribute best practices and design outlines of sessions – an abbreviated guide for how to incorporate transformational practice in strategy and convening work, and how create spaces of hospitality that can incubate a different kind of movement building.