What the Institute for Democratic Renewal • Project Change Does

The mission of the Institute for Democratic Renewal • Project Change (IDR•PC), a joint antiracism, social justice collaboration, is to catalyze, support and strengthen the antiracism social justice movement. IDR•PC is committed to

  1. Creating organizational collaborations and partnerships focused on specific social justice programs and activities
  2. Securing and providing seed money for technical assistance to help “jump start” new and effective approaches related to its initiatives
  3. Gathering and building knowledge about promising practices statewide and nationally and sharing that knowledge broadly in publications and through the creation of tools useful to a wide range of allied organizations.
  4. Playing the leadership role in convening discussions and conferences to assess the state and future of antiracism community building work and to advancing work in this field
  5. Developing new models that support the creation and growth of just, compassionate and democratic working communities that fuse spirituality with social justice.
  6. IDR•PC operates in three distinguishable domains: Its Educational Equity Network; Its Collaborations for Change (developing “Next Generation” trainings); and its Beloved Communities Initiative.

COLLABORATIONS FOR CHANGE:

A "next generation" training After more than 20 years of combined experience working with communities combating structural racism, IDR•PC, in collaboration with local community partners, is engaged in the development of a “next generation” training that involves: Visioning the kind of world we seek to realize, reflecting a new level of spirit-rooted activism; utilizing a racial and cultural analysis to serve as a lens for understanding barriers that get in the way of realizing the vision; and focusing on how we get from here to there, emphasizing tools that support transformational leadership behaviors and practices and lead to more effective community organizing. The next step in our work, we believe, is a reframing of our vision in order to rebuild and re-spirit an effective social justice movement.

THE BELOVED COMMUNITY INITIATIVE:

Linking Communities that Fuse Spirituality with Justice

Growing out of the vision of Martin Luther King Jr., this Initiative was begun in 2004 to identify, explore and form a network of communities committed to and practicing the profound pursuit of justice, radical inclusivity, democratic governance, ecological responsibility, health and wholeness, and social / individual transformation.

By using the phrase popularized by Martin Luther King Jr. and the southern Freedom Movement, we seek to make clear that Beloved Community points toward inclusiveness, cooperation and compassion and has worldwide, international dimensions that Dr. King’s own thinking, particularly toward the end of his life (1965-68), certainly embraced. We understand Beloved Community as an interrelated society based on love, justice, compassion, shared responsibility and a profound respect for all people, places and things that radically transforms individuals and restructures institutions. It is manifested in a variety of diverse communities throughout the world.

A steering committee guides this Initiative along with a larger advisory board presently being formed. Case studies of exemplary communities are being developed as well as a Beloved Communities Study Guide, workshops and educational programs that will help deepen understanding and foster the development of such beloved communities. The goal of this Initiative is to identify and form a trusted network of diverse local communities that fuse spirituality with social justice activism, providing occasions for their interaction and generating resources in order to deepen and magnify their impact.

Summary of Program Activities

  1. The Educational Equity Network - Race-conscious approaches to closing the achievement gap and realizing educational equity
  2. Collaborations for Change - Developing a “next generation” training for dismantling racism and transforming communities
  3. Beloved Communities Initiative - Linking communities that fuse spirituality with social justice activism

Supporting Other Antiracist Community Building Projects

Capitalizing on years of experience in working with communities combating racism, IDR/PC has increasingly become a technical assistance provider to such efforts to transform local and regional policies and practices. Since with sobering frequency such projects stall at various junctures—in part because they’ve undertaken their work in isolation and without benefit of lessons learned elsewhere, strategies that have been tested and tools that have been developed in other communities—these projects have increasingly sought the technical assistance that IDR/PC can broker and provide. Utilizing a process refined over several years, IDR/PC has been able to assist communities in reframing their visions and resuming effective movement toward change.

Other Activities

IDR•PC sponsors and develops and produces learning tools and resources for trainings, workshops and community organizing. IDR•PC conducts workshops in various cities that focus on effective community building through antiracist social change, consulting with companies, foundations and a wide range of not-for-profits. IDR/PC provides counsel on how to work effectively toward more racially, socially just organizations. IDR•PC works in collaboration with other organizations seeking to extend and amplify the effectiveness of their work in the anti-racism, social justice field, and serves as a convener of regional and national assemblies and workshops of practitioners and theorists active in this field. Contact us for more information.

 

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