The holidays are approaching, and the season of gathering and generosity is upon us. This can be a conflicted time for many folks in our communities, who struggle with family or rely deeply on chosen family for day-to-day survival. One of our greatest powers as community is to gather folks to commit to caring for one another in times of abundance and in times of need. We encourage folks to reach out to us about gatherings and community activities during this time.
It’s us. Your awkward, but bordering on endearing, leaders of The Audre Lorde Project! After many community conversations, strategic planning sessions, and intentional collective decision-making processes, we, Cleopatra [Jach] & Maxwell, are excited to announce that we will officially be moving forward as ALP’s executive leadership!
So first things first, let’s address something. The last year and a half has been ROUGH COOKIES. We have moved through hard staff transitions and silenced narratives of our struggles. But, we have been able to ground in abundance and have found so much stability and consistency in how our membership shows up when we are at less than best. We are so grateful for the patience, investment, and belief that our staff, membership, and stakeholders have generously given us. It’s more important to us now than ever that our community members know their voice is valued and we will be working to make sure that is known interpersonally as well as institutionally.
In this moment of transition, we want to practice radical candor; we thought the best way to introduce ourselves would be to use a facilitator’s best friend, RANDOM CHECK-IN QUESTIONS THAT PEOPLE GO WAY TOO DEEP IN.
Bump into Cleopatra or I at a training, convening, or party and we'll regale you with tales from previous jobs at Pier 1, selling bootleg CDs (shhhh, don't tell the feds), being a paralegal, or getting fired after one day because I was the worst after-school program outreach person ever, and how those skills got us here.
Fortunately, this post is focused on how decisions are made at ALP and the models for democratic voting that we're trying to build.
Our new Co-Directors sat down to introduce themselves to the community and give updates on what's happening at ALP, what their vision is, and how community can get involved.
Fall is upon us, and change is in the air! The staff at ALP are beginning to prepare for a deeply transformative period in our growth cycle. After completing our strategic plan, we’re entering the restoration period, in which we prepare for the changes ahead. During this period, we will be studying the narrative and values of our organization to rebuild a framework for change. This means learning, teaching, sharing, and regenerating with each other through a series of sessions covering topics agreed on with members and board. This renovation of our org will be happening in tandem with moving out of our Manhattan offices at the end of January. On Monday nights, leading up to the move, we will be having a series of community packing parties with free food and MetroCards. The purpose of these gatherings is to celebrate change and remember that hard work is easier in community.
Who do you picture when you hear those words? “Board of Directors”? Where do they work? What do they look like? What skills do they have? What qualifications do they need?
Throughout our 23-year history, the Audre Lorde Project has worked on multiple fronts -- developing LGBTSTGNC POC leaders, educating our people and allies, organizing 20 events per year, leading campaigns for justice, mobilizing over 3,000 people annually, and building capacity for movements towards liberation. We have often moved at the pace of crisis. We have moved with urgency because of the vast needs of our community, but also often have fallen victim to capitalist ideals of productivity over people. This has at times caused us to stumble - choosing punitive responses over transformation, placing healing on the back burner, and not being as transparent with internal happenings within the organization as needed. In solidarity with our members, current/former staff, and the community that we serve, we want to apologize for the harm that has been caused. As an organization, we are not exempt from causing harm, but we are dedicated to improving and internal change. This letter is to express how we will now intentionally begin that work and how community can collectively plug into this process.
Starting in October, ALP will enter a 9-month restoration period to better focus on deep internal study and alignment. This period will end in June 2020. During that time, our staff will come together to strengthen our political education tools and curriculum, evaluate our trainings, programming, and campaigns, and ensure that we are best positioned for the long fight to liberation.
During this time, we'll also be moving from our Chelsea office back into our Fort Greene space full-time. Gentrification has made rents in NYC unsustainable and ALP is not immune to these pressures. From November 1 to January, our offices will be closed to the public while we prepare for our move.
Read on to learn more about our plan and a few of the ways that we are asking people to stay involved.
As summer winds down, we want to consider what it means to return to study and reflection, as a season of sunlight and community transitions into a cooler version of itself, preparing us all for back to ALP Season.
This August, our Safe Outside the System Collective brought you another phenomenal Bed-Stuy Pride celebration, which was a full day of participation, challenges, learning, and resilient problem solving. Under the current political conditions, our joy and gathered presence in public space is an act of resistance. Creating this annual ritual for our neighbors and community creates a powerful sense of real life connectedness for ALP Members, staff, long-time community members, and the folks who find out about us by walking through the park that day. The success of the event is one example of the strides we’re making as an organization.
Pride season has washed over us, and here we are on the other side. Here at the Audre Lorde Project, we've had an eventful month of organizing, educating, holding space, and navigating the inevitable changes that come in the reflective moments in a season of renewal. The sun drenches us, and the weather tempts us back into community; folks are out in the streets, finding each other in the world. Black and Brown bodies are everywhere, finding places to gather and take care of one another, out in public. It's beautiful. It's also a time when concerns about how we stay safe while we're out and about in the world come up. Let's take a moment to consider what we're all doing to love and protect one another out there in the world as the season heats up.
Please note that The Audre Lorde Project offices will be closed for holiday until Monday, July 8th.