When I joined Side with Love over four years ago, I could not have predicted the assaults, experiments and possibilities that were before us. I’m writing to let you know that my time with the campaign is coming to a close. It has been a pleasure to be able to connect with you - online and in person - helping us guide and grow Side with Love into who we will become. I am planning to spend some time in Georgia this Fall with Mijente’s Gente4Abrams team building power and getting out Latinx voters in support of Stacey Abrams for Governor (who is amazing & you should look into!) along with diving deeper into my interest in doula work, informed by doula training through with Ancient Song Doula Services (check them out!).
On my way out, I’m hoping to leave you with a few of my favorite things - a short bullet point list of reflections, a mixtape of some of my current favorite tunes and some questions i’m leaving with. The reflections are heavily informed by Black and POC organizers within and outside of the faith. Thank you for supporting our work and keep on building.
find your elders - in age and experience - support them, bring them in, build with them
- get clear about your stake in the work - why are you here? what keeps you here? what are you willing to do?
- do your personal work - study is only as useful as it shifts behaviors, changes power and dismantles oppression
- get comfortable with conflict - and build skills around transformative and restorative justice practices
- seek out and build justice work that fortifies and sustains you spiritually
- stay humble, curious & learning
- be experimental, willing to change, reflect & pivot after feedback
- learn how to apologize
- credit people for their work - normalize affirmation, compensate folks, strategically shift resources
- be cautious about mirroring language when it fails to shift power, patterns & actions
- building shared political analysis requires time, relationships, study and practice. we're here because folks were patient with us. offer the same grace coupled with rigor to those you're building closely with.
- remember that your loyalty to your values and relationships supersede that to institutions
- figure out where you’re a gatekeeper - and figure out antidotes to being in the way
- a committee of one can’t grow - how are we bringing more folks into the fold? how are we investing time, energy, resources and love to develop others?
- boundaries are gift - get clear on yours and respect others
With gratitude and thanks: a playlist featuring some of my faves!
- who do we want to become? what are we willing to do? and how we answer that question as individuals and a body of faith?
- how do we assess collectively and move boldly rooted in our faith?
- what does it look like to do work service of liberation and what are the ways my work is reinforcing white supremacy and empire?
- I find myself guided heavily by mary hooks’ and SONG”s “are you willing to be transformed in the service of the work
P.S. The gifts of time, attention, presence, feedback, assessment and vision for our growth are blessings that Nora has given abundantly. I, and we, have much to thank Nora Rasman for in her time with Side with Love. We send her and all those navigating transitions and new chapters with boldness and love, knowing that the work of liberation and web of interdependence connect us beyond any roles or jobs. We are also currently in the process of hiring a new Side with Love Campaign Manager, and applications are welcome. - Elizabeth Nguyen, Senior Strategist, Side with Love