This week I am using art I created in my “Progress Not Perfection” series to explore:
- Community development
- Racial justice
Yesterday I said that community development is the process of people working towards common goals, and racial justice is fairness for all people across all social systems. I said that the connection between community development and racial justice is through community capacity building. I explained that shifts in what I believe about myself and others are the first way I think about capacity building. What I value is unseen, because it happens inside of me. What is seen is the way I touch others through what I do. So, another way to think about community capacity building is through the changes in skills and knowledge of individual people.
Have you ever thought of community capacity building as changes in what you know and what you can do?
In my family having more capacity has meant learning about how to set limits about screen time for my 9 year old, and then doing that. It has meant learning about how to grow blueberries, and then doing that. At work growing my capacity “to do” looks different. This year I learned how to write better grant applications, and how to coordinate more complex projects. Intersectionality tells me that there is cross over between the many roles of my life. So while learning to write better grants helps me at work, it also means I will use this skill to support the PAC at my kid’s school.
How does learning new information and new skills link to community development and racial justice?
I said yesterday that what I believe, whether I am aware of it or not, comes out in what I do. While this is true, it is also true that growing my skills and knowledge has the power to change what I believe.
The images from Progress Not Perfection that show the interaction between my values and my skills/knowledge are from Day 94 (Blueberries) and Day 119 (Smudge). Both these images show what I can do is directly influenced by the values I hold, and the values I hold are influenced by what I learn. I know more about growing blueberries because I value eating foods that will keep my family healthy. I learned how to smudge because I live in a place where smudging is valued.
I have lived in N’Quatqua territory for 11 years. During this time I have learned more and more about St’at’imc language and culture. I have learned about the impact of colonization, the Indian Act, the 60’s scoop, and residential school. I have learned about strength and resilience. I have learned what it means to be exceptional. St’at’imc people should always speak for themselves. And, by learning about what it means to be St’at’imc in my family and community life, I bring that knowledge to work with me, and I can be a better ally there.
While I have separated out what I value and what I know and do over 2 blog posts to explore capacity building, clearly they are interconnected. It is also clear that I don’t exist in isolation. I am influenced and I have influence in different communities of people – my family, my colleagues, and in community. More on this tomorrow.
My thinking about capacity building has been directly influenced by the work of Ken Wilbur and the Integral Model. For more information check out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integral_theory_(Ken_Wilber)