As many of you, I've been thinking a lot the past couple of years about the economic, social and political divisions within our country. I decided to revise and update an article I wrote last year for my blog and retitled it Taking Down Walls Where We Live. I've posted it on Medium. I've been reading articles on ad-free Medium for a while and decided to join ($50/year or $5/month) to get unlimited access and support writers whose articles I read and applaud (digitally). If you're not a member, please consider joining and supporting writers like myself. Regardless, you can still access my article and I'd love to hear your thoughts. According to Medium, it takes 6 minutes to read my article!
My primary work is supporting place-based partnerships. The community level changes described in my Medium article require long-term, strategic collaboration among many organizations. This work is challenging, particularly when trying to address deep inequities. Involvement of community members is paramount. Byron White, Jennifer Blatz and Mark Joseph share their experience and insights about moving the cross-sector work of the Strive Partnership towards greater equity in Elevating Community Authority in Collective Impact. For all of you involved in partnerships that seek to advance equity, this is a must read. To me, the authors help explain why so many efforts fall short of the transformative change needed to alter outcomes for those who have been underserved by society. More importantly, their idea of community authority and how to integrate it into collaborative work provides a hopeful path forward. I'll leave you with a few quotes from this illuminating article.
“When we only ask for feedback and don’t invite community as co-designers (with equal decision-making power), we can make the same situations we are solving for even worse. In short, community voice without community leadership is significantly less effective.”
“Neither an institutional solution that shuts out community authority nor a community organizing model that does not effectively deploy institutional assets can realistically effect transformational change that produces equity and justice.”
“New centers of power must emerge from those most adversely affected by our current systems and policies”