A Journey Begins

A Journey Begins

In December, I had the privilege and pleasure of meeting my peers in Cohort Two of Move to End Violence, as well as participate in the Building Movement 2012 Convening. I left Tarrytown, New York with a mosaic of questions, thoughts and impressions, some of which are still in a “sense-making” phase.

Much of what originally drew me to Move to End Violence were the opportunities to engage in critical conversations about our movement with honesty, openness and good faith; to build and deepen partnerships across sectors; and to learn more effective and concrete ways to harness and leverage the energy, knowledge and passion in our movement to bring about long-term and meaningful change. Obviously, these types of discussions and efforts should be challenging and a little overwhelming if they more fully reflect the diversity, vibrancy and depth of the movement and individuals in it. It is no wonder then that I walked away from Tarrytown grappling with questions and a full head and heart; but I did not walk away disappointed.

It was refreshing to be in a space surrounded by peers and colleagues who candidly and openly shared their critiques and concerns about our movement – and even questioned if there really is one, as well as generously offered their hopes and vision for what that is and could look like. It was also affirming to be in a room with so many dedicated advocates who work every day to “create communities that are safe, loving and respectful of everyone’s inherent human dignity”, but also acknowledge that there’s still a lot of work ahead for all of us to turn that vision into a reality.

So how do we do this? Well, one takeaway from Building Movement 2012 was a thoughtful invitation and charge to each of us from Cohort One to engage in critical conversations at our organizations and in our communities to more deeply explore our vision as a movement and identify what shifts we need to make in our work to make that vision a reality. And not only did Cohort One ask us to do something, they provided a Building Movement Conversation Guide to make it “easier” for us to do so – or to at least take this important step.

As we welcome a new year, I look forward to the next two years with Cohort Two and the journey we are on – both as individuals and as a group. I embrace the questions, challenges and differences that may arise when we engage in Building Movement conversations and I welcome the learning and growth that I know will also come from this experience. I may not know exactly what lies ahead, but I do know that I’m in the company of an incredibly smart, strategic, thoughtful, and funny group of peers who each bring tremendous dimension and depth to our work. Stay tuned…!

Annika Gifford
Annika Gifford

Annika M. Gifford has the privilege and joy of supporting Resonance network, a network of individuals who are in deep relationship and practice to interrupt the roots of violence and oppression and create the conditions where all people and communities thrive. Learn More

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