The Law Center will be closed for a period of Collective Rest from July 27-31, 2020.
Our communities are in an unprecedented situation and many activists and social movement organizations have been sprinting since March. If we do not acknowledge this, and particularly the impact that it has on our organizations and the people that power them, then we actively perpetuate a cycle of violence that keeps our communities tied to the extractive, white supremacist culture we are trying build beyond. Many of our community members were already depleted when this social movement and historic moment came about. Inspired by members of our community like Hasta Muerte Coffee, East Bay Meditation Center, Alchemy Collective Cafe, CompassPoint, and others, the Sustainable Economies Law Center is taking a week of collective rest starting July 27th. Our intention is that this week will give us a short time to pause, disconnect from the constant virtual meetings, and reflect on how we are each being impacted. Hopefully we can find joy in what’s available to each of us at this time, too.
“Our journeys toward liberation must also be liberating.” - Harsha Walia
Many things are allowing us to take this time off, but a foundational one is that we are a worker self-directed nonprofit where anyone can bring a proposal to change the way we work. We recently went through a round of 360 peer evaluations where at least a third of staff said they were feeling overwhelmed by work. Members of our Internal Resilience Circle (which cares for the personal, interpersonal, and organizational health of the Law Center) and our Conflict Engagement team became increasingly concerned with staff mental health and the rising levels of burnout, anxiety, and tension they were seeing across the organization, so they decided to propose a week of collective rest. This process and outcome is a direct impact of distributing power across an entire organization.
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” - Audre Lorde
We are following the lead of queer, feminist, and activist leaders who brought the idea of self-care into our movement spaces; a self-care that is not about buying products or commodities so we are lulled into acceptance of the economic, environmental, and social conditions we are born into. It is a self care that leads us closer to liberating ourselves from the systems of oppression that we have all internalized in different ways. It is our hope that you and your organizations can find ways to do the same.