Strategic thinking in a long-term crisis: One approach A note from Nico: When I went into quarantine with my family several weeks ago, I was speechless. I did not know what the moment needed from me or from Up With Community. So I opened my ears, eyes, hands and heart. We spent the next few weeks listening to partners in the field and exploring how we could be useful to our movements and communities in this moment.
In my community organizing and in my professional work life, I used to take those uncomfortable sensations–failure, embarrassment, missed opportunities–as a sign of my inadequacy and as a reason to quit. The blows are going to come, it’s what I do after them that counts.
You know, I couldn’t blame them for not wanting to slap some new approach on their work - racial equity or otherwise - to please an audience or a funder. I thought that was wise. And yet, there was this mountain to move, something I had to help them see that had been in front of their eyes the whole time, but invisible to them.
Narrative shift happens when we stop basing decisions, strategies, and policies on the current dominant narrative (think, “Pull yourself up by the bootstraps!” or “America first”) and start to purposefully ground our work in our personal values and principles. Narrative shift is our path to a better way of life. Erik Peterson of Bending the Arc Strategies shares his take on developing healthy narrative shifts.