It is a skill to be able to go from theory to practice as a community. Many people feel the weight of navigating the daily threats of microaggressions and violence, which makes finding community a powerful resource now more than ever. With so many communities speaking values that move the hearts of the nations let's reflect on what helps communities to grow. How a community's values are implemented will determine the communities relevance to their stated values. Does your community have values that are broader than what is practiced? How can community develop into an alignment the reflects the core values? Or does growth signal a needed broadening or shift in values?
One place you can assess when seeking to build community power are the decision-making moments. When do you make decisions as a community? Who is involved? If the answer does not include representation from all who are directly impacted by the culture of the community what are the steps needed to create access for community-building. This can also be a moment to evaluate what decision-making bodies are determining the priorities that guide your community and values.
If you are seeking to change survival conditions:
How many people connect to the experience?
What are the similarities/differences in goals?
Has this experience manifested differently over generations?
How can these experiences be leveraged?
How can you increase the capacity for supporting concrete ways for the community to access your decision making – access defined as creating the conditions for individuals to participate as much as possible as their full self-identity, giving you the benefit of access to their full experience.
How will you demonstrate that you value experiences shared by the community?
What can you do together to change your conditions that will not leave any part of your community outside or still at risk?
How will you ensure that resources generated for the benefit of the community, make it to the community - anti-gate-keeping measures.
These important questions all communities can answer, and they will help in assessing and setting the broad vision of your community building. Your reflections can determine if you formalize when people do check-ins with folks who cannot access your decision-making process in real-time to get insight or create access points into your decisions increasing community literacy, language capacity, physical space adjustments, developing collective resources, or community awareness.
Growth within your community increases your collective pool of power. Having a culture where people newer in your community build with existing members creates spaces for the community as a whole to celebrate difference and legacy. As community grows it will be informed by an innumerable amount of cultures and legacies, creating new possibilities When we learn together, we change.