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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Nicholson

Social Change Through The Transformation Solidarity Framework

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending an event entitled Social Change Now: Book Talk & Workshop featuring Deepa Iyer, Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives at Building Movement Project. Jayne Park, a Senior Fellow at the Montgomery County Collaboration Council and another leader within the social change movement, moderated the conversation. It was a beautiful Sunday in Washington, DC, to gather for a social change conversation befitting the non-profit cafe, bookstore, and community space of the Potter's House in Adam's Morgan.

"Be intentional about the role you are playing." - Deepa Iyer

Social Change

I met Deepa in October 2020 through a respected colleague who has utilized Deepa's expertise within the social change movement as a consultant to broaden Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) initiatives. As a lawyer, strategist and facilitator, Deepa has refined her ability to analyze and deconstruct harmful narratives that impede authentic inclusion across any ecosystem. Her work includes creating the social change ecosystem map, and coordinating SolidarityIs, an initiative that trains people through Solidarity Schools, provides narratives via the Solidarity Is This podcast, and fosters multiracial and cross-movement connections. So, reconnecting with her outside of the office was a treat.

After signing her new workbook, Social Change Now: A Guide for Reflection and Connection, Deepa utilized prompts and exercises to introduce the Transformation Solidarity Framework. This framework is user-friendly for organizations seeking to weave JEDI authentically throughout its cultural tapestry. The Transformation Solidarity Framework helps organizations better understand how to center the populations we serve by using different roles individuals play in their organization or ecosystem.

"In our lives and as part of organizations, workplaces, and movements, many of us play different roles in pursuit of equity, shared liberation, inclusion, and justice. And yet, we often get overwhelmed, lost, and burned out. Some of us are newcomers to ongoing social change efforts and don't know where to start. Still others are catalyzed into action in the midst of a crisis in our community." - Deepa Iyer

When incorporating this framework, Deepa strongly encourages users to "be intentional about the role you are playing." Being intentional about your role ensures sustainability in the movement. Participants should make an intentional commitment and move to take ownership of no more than one to two "roles." Deepa stressed minimizing one's "roles" because taking on more than one within any movement, personal or professional, leads to burnout and exhaustion.

"Do I have the emotional intelligence and awareness to understand who I am, my needs, and my desires so I can identify the role I want to play in that [name the ecosystem] social change?" - Deepa Iyer

Introspection & Mapping

Deepa continued by introducing introspection and mapping. Mapping helps to foster a practice of introspection. One has to ask themselves: "Do I have the emotional intelligence and awareness to understand who I am, my needs, and my desires so I can identify the role I want to play in that [name the ecosystem's] social change?" So the "practice of introspection" depends on each person, where they are, and their ability to conduct that introspection because no one else can do it for them.

Disrupting The Status Quo

Language is constantly evolving. Instead of talking about communities, or fields of industries, conversations surrounding the social change movement are expanding to curate new narratives to identify ecosystems and what ecosystem one is engaged within. We discussed that in some ecosystems, there remains a focus on a hierarchical structure, which is top-down and rarely lateral. When you are in hierarchical environments, it's challenging to shift from the hierarchy to what role you are playing. Because if you play a particular "role," does it matter where you fall? Or should it matter where you fall? An example would be, if you are a caregiver, you could very well be the CEO within the ecosystem, but your role in the social change movement is to be a caregiver.

It is moving from hierarchy (i.e., power, ranking order) to roles that disrupt the status quo. This movement requires humility and deafness to the white supremacy culture and patriarchal structures. The shift necessitates a changing mindset, which, let's face it, given the historical American labor movement, can be difficult if one's ecosystem heavily leans toward hierarchy.

What a great conversation. And I am glad I could witness Deepa outside her consultancy work. As the Chief Architect of Intention and Purpose at AllProfitHR, in the exercise, I identified that the roles I currently play in the ecosystems of human resources, organizational development, and life coaching toggle between visionary, builder, caregiver, weaver, and guide. It is not fluid as each ecosystem, personal or professional, requires different levels of JEDI engagement and intentionality. It truly depends on the client I am working with and the ecosystem they are operating within.

APHR Can Help

AllProfit HR helps organizations experience transformational people and culture systems to create a culture of belonging for all. We are a 100% independent, minority, woman-owned HROD firm specializing in the following:

  • Diversity and Inclusion Strategy,

  • Strategic Human Capital Planning,

  • Performance & Total Rewards,

  • Change Management & Reengineering Development,

  • High Performing Talent Acquisition,

  • Organizational Development,

  • Leadership Development & Executive Coaching, and

  • HR Advisory Services.

External Human Resources

Often businesses need more resources to sustain a full-time staff member to handle these critical and sensitive topics such as JEDI - Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. AllProfitHR's services can save you upwards of 70% cost of a full-time HR staff. Do not limit the vast scope of HR to an expense; evolve your perspective to view this opportunity as an investment to change the narrative.

Schedule Your Complimentary Discovery Call

The Transformational Solidarity Framework can help an organization permeate a culture of belonging for all across the 12 Human Resources functions. Over the next quarter, I plan to incorporate this framework into JEDI efforts that support our AllProfitHR clients. Are you ready to get started?

Schedule your complimentary discovery call with AllProfitHR today to discuss how to incorporate culturally relevant and inclusive HR practices into your business strategy at a fraction of the cost.

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After reviewing the Transformation Solidarity Framework, which role do you play most in your work environment?

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