Leading In This Time
We are in a wild time. A time when organizations such as the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado are navigating how to lead. We are learning how to stand in solidarity with those most marginalized and at risk, and seeking to move others toward ‘resistance.’
A recurring aspiration for us has been that all of us reflect on the ways racism, sexism, homophobia and other deeply embedded ‘isms’ and ‘phobias’ – which are present within progressive movements – will be called forth, addressed, and eliminated.
We are learning.
As an organization we seek to always prioritize standing with the marginalized as we work together to support faith and freedom. We bring people together from multiple faith (and non-faith) backgrounds to work for human rights and equality. This is big, messy, and at times overwhelming work.
We name that as we lead, there are times we have rushed to action before we have time to thoroughly assure we are fully living into our values. Specifically – we seek to ensure people from marginalized communities (black, brown, immigrant, refugee, religious minorities, GLBTQ, ability, gender, economic poverty) are at the center of our relationships and our work. We seek to connect people in multiple congregations and communities to this work.
We hope to model how we can move at a pace that this urgent moment in history requires, while also remaining faithful to our core values of solidarity with those marginalized, freedom, equality, civility, and respect for differences. Central to this work is humility and commitment to relationship with one another and with the community. There are times we choose to be strategic in order to achieve our goals, and there are times we let go of end goals in order to maintain integrity. We name that there are inherent tensions and sacrifices we make each day when choosing to work in or participate in particular spaces. We navigate these decisions in community, evaluate and adjust as needed, while prioritizing right-relationship.
In this light, we will ask the following questions before committing our name and our voice to public events:
- What is the end goal of the event?
- Are people of color active participants in planning and speaking in this event?
- Are black people specifically active participants in this event?
- Will multiple experiences, stories and perspectives be represented (GLBT, religious diversity, racial diversity)?
- Are there action steps for follow up after the event? If so, what are they?
- Are power-holders/ influencers involved? If so, will they be held accountable for their record? How?
- Is the primary organizer a ‘grass-roots’ or a ‘grass-tops’ organization?
- Are there grassroots organizations who share a similar mission? –Have they been consulted?
- Have safety precautions been taken for the event? If so, what are they?
We ask these questions because we believe it is important to be aligned with our values when deciding on our level of participation in events. We view each question with the inevitable tension and give-and-take which come with navigating how to make effective and sustainable change.
We appreciate your feedback and welcome your participation as we navigate this work.
– The Interfaith Alliance Team