From the start, For Our Kids has been about empowering parents, grandparents, and all those who care for kids to raise their voices and share their stories, bringing the moral imperative to change the course humanity is on, for the sake of our children and future generations.
We communicate a lot about what parents and teams across the network are doing, and we typically keep what happens behind the scenes - well, behind the scenes. As we've grown from one-person network support to a team of five+ part-timers, we're learning that we need to acknowledge and give space and time to what has brought us to this place. It's an important piece of supporting and strengthening the web that connects the For Our Kids network.
A huge part of our journey as a network and as a network support team began a few years ago with a deliberate plan to make our commitment to JEDI principles (justice, equity, diversity and inclusion) more visible and meaningful.
Here's a look at where that has taken us:
- Acting on the desire of FOK teams to learn from, build relationships with and support work led by BIPOC communities, two parents from the network spearheaded a JEDI-Accelerator (JEDI-A) committee - read about it here - which has focused on how FOK enacts and reflects its commitment to anti-racism and climate justice in its actions, governance, communication, relationships and resources for network members.
- Starting last fall, national support team members and the JEDI-A committee have been engaged in the course "Whiteness at Work" offered through Patagonia and led by The Adaway Group; it's helped us recognize how deeply-embedded racial discrimination and practices are in our daily lives and the systems within which we work.
- And in January FOK launched our first membership survey with guidance from Bloom Consulting. It was intended to be a way to hear from anyone who has joined the network through the website or is following us on socials - to learn about who you are, how you see the connection between climate action and racial justice, and how FOK could support you. More than 140 people responded with rich, valuable, and personal insights and experience, for which we're deeply grateful.
What have we learned so far?
First, that it's an incredible privilege to be in community with all of you, that there are threads of action, compassion, and brilliance holding this network together, and that those threads are incredibly strong and vulnerable at the same time.
Second, that just as in our personal lives, we have a lot more to learn and unlearn as a team and an organization. Also, that just as it is in our personal lives, it's hard work that takes time.
Third, that a key part of this journey is to be transparent about it. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
Where do we go from here?
This journey has given us pause to reflect on FOK's theory of change, re-commit ourselves to its fundamental work, and re-imbue it with the energy and learning that's been gifted to us over the past three and half years.
What will that look like?
- collaboratively developing a new governance model that's about sharing power and being responsive
- capturing key learnings from the member survey and sharing them with you, soon!
- reaching out to those of you who told us, in the member survey, that you want us to reach out to you about inclusion and diversity in FOK
- expanding resources and training for individuals and teams
- starting conversations in communities where we haven't been present: listening and learning
- and sharing what we're doing, as often as we can, in blog posts like this one.
We're here to support you as parents and to connect you, helping to balance the often overwhelming sense of urgency we all feel with sustainable, inclusive, evolving ways to make change happen, and above all, to base our work in relationships. After all, parenting is all about relationships, learning as we go from a place of love.
Reach us anytime at [email protected]