When I was a child my father would say, “Nneka, the good Lord gave you two ears and one mouth, so listen twice as much as you talk.” I can remember as a little girl thinking hard about this and struggling with that part of me that is indeed a talker. As a teen, I often rolled my eyes (out of eyeshot of course!) and allowed his wisdom to run through one ear and out the other. As an emerging adult, I saw this adage as a practice and a way of creating enduring relationships with others. But as I sit amid my middle-aged adult life, I find myself returning to the contemplation of my childhood. I am learning that to listen well to others, I must first be able to hear and listen to myself. Turning the act of listening inward. And as I explore this new truth, I am surprisingly finding deeper wisdom, a rhythm and rest. [Read more…]
“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
Collecting Courage: Joy, Pain, Freedom, Love is a perfect example of what happens when two parallel paths converge to create something special and of significance.
On one pathway was Our Right to Heal, an initiative featuring the voices of ten Black Canadian fundraisers sharing their journey towards healing from painful and traumatic experiences. In May 2020, a few days before George Floyd was killed at the hands of the Minneapolis police on May 25th, the stories were published by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (Global). His death served as a flashpoint triggering worldwide outrage about police brutality against Black people and igniting protests against anti-Black racism.
On a related and separate path, our group of Black Canadian fundraisers selected Cap in Hand: How Charities are Failing the People of Canada and the World by Gail Picco as our book club selection for December 2019. When Gail joined us for the discussion, she shared her idea about a compilation of writings featuring the voices of Black fundraisers. In March 2020, Gail became the Editor-in-Chief of The Charity Report, a new digital magazine, and at the same time launched Gail K. Picco Books, an imprint under Civil Sector Press.
These two convergent paths intersected, creating a perfect storm and genesis for the book. Conditions and timing were right to address historic exclusion and oppression in the charity sector. In June, discussions got underway and Collecting Courage: Joy, Pain, Freedom, Love was born. [Read more…]
Identity is who we are. It is the way we think about ourselves. It is the way we are viewed by the world and the characteristics that define us. To say the least, identity is fundamental and it matters. But despite the value of our identity many people spend little time investigating or understanding their own. I believe the exploration of your identity requires curiosity, courage and humility. Why does this matter? Because clarity of identity or lack thereof has a direct impact on how we work and live our lives.
In my work, I have discovered a unique link between achieving equity and understanding one’s own identity. Identity influences who we choose to do life with, our friends, our partners. It can control our leadership style, who we hire and who we fire. Our identities create environments, even systems. That is to say, the cultures we create in our homes and in our offices are manifestations of our values and beliefs. And are ultimately an extension of who we are. If we are not conscious of the impact of those environments, real devastating effects can result to those who do not share your
identity. [Read more…]