In 2003 ISAIAH was a strong faith-based organization with 75 member congregations in the Twin Cities metropolitan region and in St. Cloud, Minnesota. They a history of developing strong leaders, capacity to hold large public meetings of up to 1,500, and the ability to win significant issue campaigns like gaining $60 million in public money for cleaning up contaminated sites for job development in the state. They saw that things were changing in the environment, opening up new possibilities for change that could address deep systemic problems impacting racial and economic justice. As they set their sights towards larger campaigns (larger turnout, bigger legislative issue) they began to realize the need for new structures and strategies to realize the potential power of what they had built.
In this episode, I sit down with longtime friend and comrade Rox Anderson, Director of the Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition and Rare Productions. We touch briefly on a few of the complexities surrounding the recent events involving Minnesota State Representative Ilhan Omar and talk about how moments like these can be leveraged by outside forces to create polarization and division between and within various marginalized communities.
We then discuss Rox’s recently awarded Bush Fellowship, their vision for an LGBTQ Center in Minneapolis, their work addressing inequities within LGBTQ POC communities, a brand new comic book in the works featuring real-life Transgender-identified superheros and much more.
Finally, we end the episode with some information about my next workshop Facilitating Cultural Change (co-facilitated with Phyllis Braxton) and reveal some big news about my upcoming birthday bash/fundraiser! It’s scheduled for May 30th with a long-term friends Rebecca Voelkel and Barbara Satin who will also be celebrating milestone birthdays.
In this episode, we sit down with my longtime beloved friend and colleague, Susan Raffo to talk about Healing Justice. This conversation with Susan about the concept, history, legacy and integration of healing justice into our social justice movements has been on my podcast bucket list for a long time. I am grateful to Susan for her work to expand the presence of healing justice in our movements and her willingness to sit down to have this conversation with me and all of you.
Specifically, we talk about how healing justice is rooted in the ancient wisdom of cultures around the world, how healing has traditionally been understood in Western and American society, and the visibility Southern Queer Black women brought to healing justice as a intervention to combat the lasting effects of the legacy of slavery. Susan offers some perspectives regarding collective and individual healing and suggests a few ways that practitioners of all kinds can integrate Healing Justice concepts into their work and how anyone can implement healing justice into their daily lives.
Ryan and I sat down to record this episode on September 11th, in the midst of the Jewish High Holidays. With this as our backdrop, we talk about the state of our democracy, our world, the challenges our communities are facing (from inside and out) and what we as individuals, who might be feeling lost in the middle of it all, can do about it. We also talk about how the lessons and traditions from the Jewish High Holidays (and really, most religious traditions) can help us crack our hearts open to find peace, community, forgiveness, and when we “miss our mark,” our way back to ourselves and those we might have alienated.
In this episode, I am joined by my friend and colleague, Eleonore Wesserle, to discuss how to construct powerful values focused movement building narratives. Eleonore is a communications consultant and founder of the new narrative strategy consulting practice Dreams to Power.
We talk about Eleonore’s “Now Wow How” narrative framing strategy and how it can be practically utilized to shift from issues-based to values-based organizing to build towards transformational change. We also apply some basic narrative strategy concepts to our discussion of some current events and suggest a few alternatives to some of the current progressive narratives about these events employing the “Now Wow How” narrative tool.
In this episode, we talk about my reaction to, and analysis of, a number for current political dynamics including the assault on immigrants, asylum seekers and their children, Trump’s performance in North Korea, the trend of celebrities reinforcing polarization by responding to hate with hate, the ongoing assault on the ACA, progressive media’s obsession with the Mueller investigation at the expense of more comprehensive coverage, and more.
We also cover the Kaleo Center’s annual “Night of a New Day” and my most recent book recommendation, The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing Our Humanity by my colleague, Sally Kohn.
For this 7th episode, we celebrate two historic markers for the Twin Cities LGBT community… Ryan’s 100th episode of the Twin Cities Pride Podcast and the retirement of Lisa Vecoli, Curator of The Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in GLBT Studies at the University of Minnesota. In this episode, we venture deep into the caverns below the University of Minnesota Anderson Library to tell the story of the vision, acts of love, and organizing that brought this archive, that documents and preserves LGBT culture and movement building, into being. Lisa and I also talk about the importance of archiving and other forms of cultural work as vital to decolonizing our imaginations and to supporting long-term social change.
We close the episode setting the stage for the next 6 episodes of this podcast by talking a bit about where we’ve been so far and where all of the deep intersectional movement energy in our country right now might be leading us.