#BeLove: What Change Looks Like

“ We need to be weapons of mass construction, weapons of mass love. It’s not enough to change the system, we need to change ourselves.” - Assata Shakur

In February, we launched the #BeLove series to profile organizations committed to ending structural racism and bias. We were invited to share this series at Sanctuary, a multimedia installation at the San Damiano Mission in Brooklyn, NY.  With this talk, we tell six stories of change that resulted from intentional capacity-building in a variety of settings. Our primary goal is to peak behind the curtain and demonstrate what the actual phases of structural change look like.  Wherever your team is in leading anti-racist, anti-bias change, this series will validate your work, raise questions about what approach matters most for your community, and give you a sense of what lies ahead.  

Key take-aways

Structural change has predictable phases:

  • awareness
  • skill-building
  • questioning, listening, dismantling
  • setting your stake in the ground
  • building ecosystem
  • continuous learning

Structural change requires shifts in resource allocation:

  • dedicated budget line-item for individual support
  • inclusion in strategic plan and performance metrics
  • staffing development (hiring, retention, promotion) reflects community
  • hire leadership for equity oversight and engagement

When putting your stake in the ground, ask these questions:

  • What will make the biggest shift in power in your community?
  • How do you operate internally to create that shift?  
  • How does your shift impact the broader community that you serve?