I am writing to provide some important updates about the future of CoreAlign and to invite you to participate in shaping the next iteration of the work.
Since 2012, CoreAlign has supported leaders in the reproductive movement to be more innovative and collaborative, while addressing longstanding race and power dynamics. In six years, we created space for hundreds of people to practice innovation and speak race to power to solve pressing internal and external movement issues. I’m incredibly proud of the emerging leaders and ideas we’ve supported. As someone with 25 years of successes, failures and heartbreak in this work, I am gratified by the difference we’ve made together.
All the sweat and tears, however, have not yet yielded the broader organizational and movement-level changes that were envisioned. Through much experimentation and failure, we’ve learned that infusing practices of innovation and multiracial collaboration require a longer timeline and greater scale - across leaders, organizations and movements. So, we are getting curious about how to scale up responsibly and with intention.
One step we’re taking toward this effort is moving into The New School, an institution with a rich history in resistance, social justice, innovation and design. Through this move, we gain interdisciplinary learning and engagement opportunities, established, ready-to-go infrastructure and an opportunity to scale up including and beyond the reproductive movement. Equally important, a learning institution offers space and timelines that are responsive to experimentation instead of grant deadlines.
This relationship goes both ways. While The New School embraces social justice, it has less experience with social movement engagement, and that’s where CoreAlign’s work comes in. By bringing our experience and networks into the New School, we draw on the strengths of movement leaders whose experience can’t be taught in a classroom. This new relationship will allow us to go deep and wide toward a future where innovation leads and racism fails.
CoreAlign’s work is built on relationships and collaboration; trust, risk and vulnerability. This transition has been difficult in so many different ways, and we knew it wouldn't be easy. I am aware that we risked much in this transition - endangering what we already built, jeopardizing relationships, and gambling with your confidence and trust. As CoreAlign’s work and DNA are transitioned into the New School, I’m both grieving and hopeful, broken-hearted and emboldened.
Alice Walker writes that the way forward is with a broken heart. And this is one of those moments. This transition has been challenging, and I have wrestled with these hard choices alone and in consultation with many others. I struggle with the paradoxes of grief and loss on one hand - as I have laid off staff, closed the Oakland office, and packed up years of transformative work. And, on the other hand, I’m excited and rejuvenated by the new possibilities of more spaciousness, different resources and multidisciplinary playmates that we are already finding at The New School.
Now comes the question of what’s next for the work, and for you, should you choose to continue to stay in relationship with us.
With programmatic, geographical and institutional shifts comes a need for a new and different kind of vision and roles. Given that, I am shifting into a role as a teacher, mentor, writer and big picture strategist by transitioning from executive director to faculty director and passing the baton of leadership to Judy Pryor-Ramirez. Judy is a bridge between communities and geographies, and between academia and activism. She is a scholar-practitioner with expertise in social justice teaching and learning, community engagement and organizational change management. She is the former Director of the office of Civic Engagement and Social Justice at The New School and holds close relationships with faculty, staff and students.
Because of CoreAlign’s commitment to collaboration and investing in the next generation of leadership, Judy will take the lead in facilitating pop-ups in cities across the country to gauge what movement leaders like you want and need most from a new center to be housed at The New School where we will continue CoreAlign’s work in innovation, leadership and speaking race to power. Since November 2016, half or more of the U.S. electorate has taken some type of action as a result of poor federal, state and local governance, and we want to ideate and experiment with you on what’s needed to keep the momentum going, both inside and outside of social justice movements.
CoreAlign will continue to create spaces where people can connect, grow their leadership and test new strategies for movement building and social change. By building new and unlikely alliances and continuing to lean into risk, we know the solutions to some of our most entrenched issues are within reach. Will you join us in getting curious about how to get there?
If you are interested in hearing more about this transition and the potential new projects we are exploring, please join me and Judy for a virtual meet and greet on April 30, 2018, at 11:00 AM PST / 2:00 PM EST. You can also schedule a one-on-one with Judy.
In community and in the struggle,