(This is an excerpt from a longer blog post I wrote over at Power and Privilege 2.0 - a shared blog I write with Kelly McGowan and Allen Frimpong.)
Earlier this month, Kelly, Allen, and I had the opportunity to host a 3-day Art of Hosting (AoH) with the Impact Hub Baltimore. It was really special because, even though we think together and write this shared blog, the three of us don’t actually get to work together all that often.
So we were primed to have a great time of learning and friendship, and then we got an amazing addition to our team: Bronagh Gallagher, who joined us from Scotland as part of her North American learning journey.
Bronagh, Allen, Kelly, and I
We started with a design day with the team that had invited us, and we learned a great deal about Baltimore and the “why” of an AoH in this particular place. This day was when I began to feel these two distinct drivers for what was happening in Baltimore: love and urgency.
On one hand, each person on the team identified deep systemic issues to be navigated including, corruption of leadership and rampant inequities in education, healthcare, and housing. And, of course, we were in the town where Freddie Gray was murdered followed by days of unrest. Everyone could identify a need for deep change, and the urgency to make that change was palpable. And actually, Baltimore is in the midst of change, and folks felt urgently that we couldn’t miss the opportunity of this moment.
This sense of urgency could not be separated from the obvious and abiding love of the city and its people. In fact, the folks who talked about making change seemed to be the most in love with the city, whether they were Baltimore born and raised or not. It was actually love that was underlying this desire for change.
I think this can be unique in organizing/activist communities: this urgent desire for change born out of great love. While we who see what’s “wrong” can often seem negative, many times it is because we know there is so much good that is being unrealized. It’s because of our love of people and place that we simply cannot tolerate change coming slowly or “more talk” instead of action.
But to be clear, it doesn’t always feel soft, this love-fueled urgency. Often it feels fierce and prickly and cranky and full of dark humor.
And so, as hosts, we stepped into three days of love and urgency. We walked in with a fierceness in our commitment to action and a unyielding belief there was love in the room.
The whole Baltimore crew
To read more about our time in Baltimore, head on over to Power and Privilege 2.0. There I share four specific places in the training where this curious mix of love and urgency was present, and how we worked with it explicitly.
This blog is a place where I share what I'm doing out in the world, reflect on what I'm learning, and also capture some of my random thoughts. I'd love these blogs to start new conversations. Please join me in the comments or send me an email about what these posts bring up