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LCN September Newsletter

As much as this pandemic has created isolation, it has also connected us in a global unlearning and has reshaped our awareness of what matters most. For LCN, one of the most exciting aspects of 2021 has been the global journeys we have taken to various regions. While intentional seeding and support of regional and thematic LCN groups is at the core of our new strategy, we are proud of the various partnerships and collaborations built so far. 

This began at the start of the year with the first European Public Narrative workshop, run online by LCN Europe. In July, our LCN Africa team – in partnership with OSIWA – ran the first physical community organizing workshop since the pandemic began in Accra, Ghana. In Latin America, LCN has been working closely with IJM to support the adaptation of the Public Narrative curriculum in an online course aimed at enabling survivors of violence to use their voices to mobilize for change.

Regional partnerships have been central to the success of these efforts. Back in Europe, in Hungary, LCN participated in the Citizen Participation University in August organized by the European Community Organizing Network ECON. These regional gatherings underlined that despite all the PCR tests and distancing regulations required, physical connection is always worth it. Nothing beats a conversation between two organizers over a cup of tea or coffee about their passionate attempts to change the world.

In addition to the regional focus, a thematic focus has also been taking shape at LCN. In partnership with People Power Health, a health organizing group has been emerging. For the second year we continue to build leadership with formerly incarcerated people (FIP) in the US with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Interest is growing from other thematic and regional organizers to create their own groups and develop deeper learning and leadership opportunities. We continue to dive deeper to develop our global support structure to ensure support for various partners and organizers towards their mission.

LCN Executive Director

Upcoming learning events & opportunities

These sessions are free for LCN members and US$10 for non-members (scholarships available upon request via email info@leadingchangenetwork.org)

Tech and data in organizing and teaching organizing series

The past year has challenged many of us to shift our organizing and training work into the virtual space.

But these constraints have also led to exciting innovations and adaptations, and further possibilities for the way we organize and teach others to organize! Over the coming months, LCN will host a series of sessions dedicated to exploring lessons around using tech and data in our approach to organizing.

Tech and data exploration in teaching organizing: lessons on teams and coaching

Our first session will showcase the tech and data explorations of the teaching team of the ‘Organizing: People, Power, Change’ course taught by Marshall Ganz.

We will be joined by Maggie Hughes, Toni Kokenis, Emily Lin, and Caleb Schwartz from the teaching team, who will share their lessons from their explorations with tech and data to understand the process and impact of how teams organize, and the role of coaching in the learning journey.

What: Tech and data exploration in teaching organizing: lessons on teams and coaching

When: Wednesday, September 22nd @ 1pm-2:30pm ET 

Click here to register (registration deadline: September 21st, 11:59pm ET)

Tech in organizing: advantages, dangers, and possibilities

In our second session of this series, we ask what it means to truly organize online, when most of the “digital organizing” efforts we see are mainly focused on communications, social media, and mobilizing. We will be joined by Ned Howey, CEO and co-founder of Tectonica to explore the dangers, advantages and possibilities of organizing online, using technologies to support organizing, and how we might innovate new approaches to build people power in a digitalized world.

What: Tech in organizing: advantages, dangers, and possibilities

When: Monday, September 27th, 10-11:30am ET

Click here to register (registration deadline: September 26th, 11:59pm ET)

Organizations Learn Series: Lessons on scaling and structuring a member-led movement by Mothers Out Front

On October 12th, we will be joined by Vanessa Rule and Keshia Sexton from Mothers Out Front, a movement of over 34,000 mothers in the United States working to protect their children and communities from the impacts of climate change. Vanessa and Keshia will share how their organization successfully leveraged mothers’ networks to achieve scale, as well as their challenges and lessons around building an inclusive representative structure rooted in their constituency across race and class.

What: Organizations Learn Series – Lessons on scaling and structuring a member-led movement by Mothers Out Front

When: Tuesday, October 12th, 12pm-1:30pm ET

Register by clicking here (registration deadline is Monday, October 11th, 11:59pm ET)

Meet & Connect

Don’t miss out on the chance to connect with inspiring organizers and leaders from around the world.

You will have the opportunity to connect with others who are leading change all over the world, working on diverse issues from health to racial justice to climate change. You will be matched with two other attendees in 1:1’s and our aim is to match you with someone working in a similar area of interest and focus.

What: Meet & Connect – October

When: Wednesday, October 20th, 12pm-1pm ET

This session is open for LCN members and non-members

Click here to register (registration deadline is Tuesday, October 19th, 11:59pm ET)

Orientation to Organizing ✊

Come learn how communities can lead change through building people power!

We’re excited to announce our next Orientation to Organizing, an introductory session on the organizing and public narrative practice developed by Marshall Ganz and his associates and our most popular session at LCN!

The session will be led by Aprajita Pandey from Haiyya and Sachiko Osawa from Leading Change Network. It will take you through the six leadership practices of our community organizing framework: Public Narrative, Relationship Building, Structure, Strategizing, Action, and Coaching.

What: Orientation to Organizing

When: Monday, October 25th, 9am12pm ET

Click here to register (registration deadline is Wednesday, October 21st, 11:59pm ET)

Don’t forget to spread the word and invite other members from your team, organization, or community to join you in your learning journey!

Exciting news from our community

Largest online Public Narrative workshop

On September 11th and 12th, 2021 the largest online Public Narrative workshop was conducted with 263 participants from 53 countries who are students of the Public Narrative courses run by Harvard Kennedy School and HKS Executive Education. 46 coaches generously volunteered their time to coach and make this online workshop possible!

“What you are doing is creating massive ripples across many countries into countless lives and communities. I have spent a large part of my life packing, repacking, adding to and lugging around this extensive hurt locker for the trauma and hardships I’ve experienced… I had also shied away from stories because of the appropriation and sometimes manipulation of them in nonprofits trying to raise funds. In short, stories were for others – not me, not my story… But, after this weekend, I see things thoroughly differently! You teach us/guide us/challenge us so supportively, skillfully and effectively! This is what was missing in my journey, and I am oh-so-very grateful to have found it.”

– Public Narrative Workshop participant

Prisms of the People book is here!

We are delighted to announce that the book Prisms of the People: Power and Organizing in 21st c. America by Hahrie Han, Elizabeth McKenna and Michelle Oyakawa has been published! 

Prisms of the People uses data from six movement organizations to show that the power of successful movements most often is rooted in their ability to turn participation into political power. A story of people beholden to each other, acting strategically through vehicles of collective change, Prisms can help spark the important conversations we need to have with one another about how we can build a powerful multiracial democracy.

You can learn more about the book and buy it directly from the publisher here, from your favorite local bookstore, or on Amazon here.

Do you want to share your learnings or organizing experiences with the LCN Community? Let us know by replying to this email 🧡We’d love to hear from you!

Here’s what LCN has been up to

Africa: Exciting cross-continent community organizing workshop

📍Accra, Ghana, July 2021

In partnership with OSIWA (Open Society Initiative for West Africa), members of LCN Africa ran an in-person community organizing workshop on July 28-30th in Accra, Ghana. 

Twenty-five West African civil society leaders and artist activists from Guinea, Niger, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Senegal, Benin, Nigeria, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria gathered to improve their abilities to organize communities in response to worsening political and social challenges in the region, including increasing political repression and shrinking civic spaces.

The workshop was led by an LCN Africa team of trainers and coaches: Jacob Okumu, Serge Sivyavugha Kambale, Benedith Kessany, Kenneth Chomba, Simon Bayingana, and Sasha Ota Kinney with support from Ashraf Hamzeh, Sarah Elraheb, Mais Irqsusi, Samah Elous, and Anita Krishnan, with simultaneous English and French interpretation.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to come together in solidarity together across the continent, and we look forward to continuing this learning journey to equip and strengthen the leadership skills of this committed and formidable group of activists.”

– Sasha Kinney, workshop coordinator and trainer

Europe: Citizenship Participation University: Communities Respond to a World in Crisis

📍Hungary, August 2021

Our Executive Director, Mais Irqsusi, was invited to attend the annual ‘Citizenship Participation University’ (CPU) hosted by the European Community Organizing Network (ECON) (ECON) in Hungary on August 16-20th 2021. She had the opportunity to meet with inspiring organizers, community builders, activists and movement-makers from around Europe to forge common strategies and deep collaborations to tackle current challenges.

“It was inspiring to meet organizers from across Europe and together dive into the current European context from trends to crises, and share learning around using the pandemic as an organizing opportunity.”

– Mais Irqsusi

FICPFM Organizer Training Fellowship 2021 launch

📍United States, September 2021

We have launched the FICPFM Organizer Training Fellowship! This is the second year we are hosting this fellowship in partnership with The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the Formerly Incarcerated, Convicted People & Families Movement (FICPFM). And we’re very excited to have some 2020 alumni joining the fellowship now as part of the coaching team! 

During the coming weeks, lead trainer, Nneka Akubeze and head coach, Kortni Malone, along with a team of 13 Leadership Coaches, Sadie Dean, Jeremiah Nelson, Steve Huerta, Marissa Ocampo, Charlotte Garnes, Juman Abu Jbara, Tommy Morris, Quiana Malone, Greg Whittington, Anita Krishnan, Bridget Cervelli, Rosario Molina, and Natasha Soto and 84 System Impacted Participants from around the United States will continue this experiential learning journey to develop their leadership skills to effectively organize online and offline, strengthen collaboration, strategizing, and coordination across groups to transform the criminal justice system.

July’s Orientation to Organizing 

📍July 2021

Over 100 organizers from 18 countries joined us in July’s ‘Orientation to Organizing’ session led by Aprajita Pandey from Haiyya and Sachiko Osawa from our team!

It was a great experience to learn from Haiyya’s revolutionary campaign #HealthOverStigma as a case study on how organizing and narrative practices are used in action.

“This session went above and beyond my expectations. Especially in the world of Zoom. The structure of the seminar was excellent. I learned so much about advocacy, campaigning, organizing and so much more. The breakout rooms created a space to spend one on one time with other participants and truly was engaging for my mind and soul.”

– Participant of July’s Orientation to Organizing

You can now register for our next session on October 25th!

Organizing workshop with SheDecides 

📍August-September 2021

LCN partnered with SheDecides to introduce organizing to the organization. Noorulain Masood designed and led a customized organizing training for the SheDecides’ Movement Catalyst team in August and September. The 15-hour training aimed to introduce and align their team on the foundational principles of the 5 practices of Organizing. SheDecides is a global movement working to bring together diverse people to ‘Stand Up, Speak Out’  in collective action to set the terms of debate and framing of the discussion about their bodies and health. The concepts from the training are already being used in their current grant cycle! 

Wherever in the world you’re leading change, stay safe, and keep on organizing!

In solidarity, 

The LCN Team (Mais, Sachiko, Jafrin, Andy, Nneka, Thaer, and Mariana)

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