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October 24, 2017

Lead With Love, 2017 WSCADV Conference

Each September Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) members and allies come together to share stories, share power, and share strength. This September (25th-27th) was no different. Inspired by the Movement Strategy Center's #LeadWithLove Pledge, this annual conference brought together over 500 people in Yakima, Washington where together participants challenged each other to LEAD WITH LOVE as we organize, resist, and reclaim our humanity.All of the conference plenaries are available for your listening, along with transcriptions below.

Day 1: LEAD With Love

Plenary Opener, with Nan Stoops, Priscilla Blackfoot (Part 1) // Mimi Ho, Judith Leblanc, Farah Tanis & Jorge Barón, Valerie (Part 2)

"This is critical time for us to be together and to continue building our beloved community with all our might. Coalition staff has worked extremely hard to design a program that is smart, edgy, fun, relevant and supportive of the work you do every day in your communities."

Action With Love, with Lynn Rosenthal (Part 1) // Jorge Barón and Lynn Rosenthal (Part 2)

"We are here today together to reclaim the roots of this movement. To reclaim our activist roots. Because you know, this was a movement born out of liberation. The first shelters were women's living rooms. Women said, "I'm a shelter. Women can come stay with me". This is the movement that pushed hard against patriarchy, the religious right, law enforcement, and conservative forces of all kinds, to say that women had a right to be free from violence in their homes, their streets, their schools, their communities. This is the movement. This is the stuff you all are born from."

What Does It Mean To Lead With Love, with Mimi Ho and Farah Tanis

"What does it mean to lead with love? And I literally moved to the edge of my seat because symbolically, emotionally, that's where I've been with that question. How, and what does it mean, to lead with love in a period where we as black women are giving ourselves permission to stand in our rage, and giving ourselves permission to hold others accountable, and giving ourselves permission to be angry. And that doesn't always translate, or that is not always received by others as leading with love or being in the loving community. And so, I want to share with you this image. Can y'all see it?"

When Love Is Under Attack, with Mimi Ho and Judith LeBLanc

“…we have to be acutely aware that we're all operating in a system where sacredness is under attack. Love is under attack. Humanity, humane values, are under attack. We're operating, all of us, and court systems and even in advocacy and service provision in a context that prides individualism. That is rooted, a system that's rooted, in an economy which values brutal power to maintain control over peoples and resources, as well as solutions. Violence and power and might being right. And often the solutions are framed in a punitive way and punishment and isolation and retribution. And so leading with love is to see that you cannot separate yourself, love, your respect for self from family, from community, from nations, from saving the world. And strategic practice of love really means you have to build on compassion. You have to have discipline. You have to have accountability. That's where the power of love comes.”

Where Radical Love Springs From Us, with Mimi Ho,  Jorge Barón, Farah Tanis and Judith Leblanc

“That's where that love and that radical love, that's where it springs from for us. The reason we have to do that in order to lead movements and in order to be bold, in order to be able to sacrifice, because to change, to transform culture requires sacrifice. In order to do that we had to sit with ourselves and we had to grapple with the legacy of shame that has been placed on black women. We birth generations and generations of enslaved people against our will. For the most part, against our will. That stays in the body. That stays in the spirit and we feel an indebtedness to our ancestors. When we do this work and, as my sister just said, we don't just do it to liberate ourselves. That work of love, and justice, and truth is not just for ourselves, but it is also to liberate our ancestors.”

Finding New Practices To Lead With Love, with Mimi Ho, Jorge Barón, Farah Tanis and Judith Leblanc

“…if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always done. So thinking about habits and how we can instill new practices which leads into some question that actually we do want to open up to this crew. What does it look like to lead with love, when we are trying to stand up against such extreme hatred? Do we need to have love Nazis? What do we need to do with the people in our communities who would want us to not exist, who actually wish us violence and suffering?”

Day 3: Lead With LOVE

An Unfolding Journey, with Nan Stoops, Lynn Rosenthal, Jamia Wilson, M.L. Daniels and Tyra Lindquist

“I think when I think about love, I think of it not more as a destination, I think of it more in regards to it being a journey. An unfolding journey. Something that you have the capacity to grow into that shifts changes, that the mystery opens up and it becomes something more effervescent. I think of it as characteristic of trying to get to wholeness, trying to get that centeredness, trying to get back to a place of completeness and allowing folks to join you on that journey and that journey shifts and changes as we go.”

Our Stories, with Jamia Wilson

“Our stories remind of us of why we fight, while also battling the infectious poison of stigma. Moreover, our stories help us influence policy to learn from our differences, and to bear witness. Our stories allow us to build bridges, and to build those bridges so that we can move, and walk past our assumptions about each other beyond labels of what we think it means to work with Gen Xers, Boomers, Millennials, or Gen Yers, or Gen Zers, which I think is a thing now. They, in their divergences, their diversity, and sometimes their contradictions remind us that we are all living our own chapters of a human story. Into existence, breath by breath, conflict to resolution, despair to uncertainty, and from pain to transcendence.”

Art by lizar_tistry