Time to shut up and listen

Joseph, Phelan Worker Justice Fellow

January, 2015--Sometimes it is good to just shut up and listen, especially if like me you have a tendency to mansplain things. This week when I shut up, or rather stopped trying to write something very brilliant for the CSS blog, I found some really great stuff out there on the internets written by some really smart people.
#BlackLivesMatters: Lessons from a Leader-ful Movement, by Jodie Tonita of theSocial Transformation Project is a must read for anyone dedicated to figuring out this whole thing called winning. She looks to the widespread #BlackLivesMatter movement for important lessons on progressive leadership. I was particularly struck by the “low ego/high impact” leadership Jodie notes is ever present in the movement:

It takes tremendous discipline and practice to be a low ego/high impact leader — to sustain high performance under challenging and sometimes traumatic conditions. A low ego/high impact leader must develop a comfort with their own strengths and limitations, compassion for themselves and others, love for their allies (and even adversaries) while simultaneously developing the hard skills necessary to succeed in a dynamic and complex socio-political landscape.

Those qualities, already present in the #BlackLivesMatter movement, are what we look for in the leaders we work with. We believe that those who can check their ego, work beyond their own organizational interests, and who are ready to work collaboratively outside their own sectors and silos are the leaders these times most desperately need.
The whole piece is really worth a read. Check it out here 
If nerding-out about leadership isn’t really your thing, you should check outPopUp#1: Spotlighting Pop Culture for Social Change, by Tracy Van Slyke.  

From Viola Davis’ acceptance speech at the SAG Awards where talks of the inspiration of having a Black woman playing a complicated Black woman on television to shouting out Broad City show creators for having a backwards definition of feminism, this post touches on a wide array of pop-culture moments that you  may have missed (or not) and ties them all together with an easy to understand analysis of why it even maters to change makers. From the introduction:
Love pop culture but feel guilty reading entertainment news sites? Do you hide your love for television, films that are not documentaries, and mass market books? Come out from the pop culture shadows and feel guilty no more.  Culture helps shapes the values, beliefs and actions of millions of people and we in the social justice sector need to know about what’s happening in pop culture, to help support and strengthen our work.  
Read the whole thing here 
I hope these two pieces inspire you and challenge you as much as they did me. Now I’m going back to shutting up.