Progress Not Perfection – Day 5

For the last 4 days I have used drawings I created in a series called “Progress Not Perfection” to explore:

  • Community development
  • Racial justice

I have shared that I think of community development as a process of a group of people working towards a shared goal. And I’ve said racial justice is fairness for all people across all social systems.

Over the last two days I have shown art that illustrates how the link between community development and racial justice happens through community capacity building. I said that individual changes in how I think about myself and others (my values), and growth in what I know and can do are two ways to think about community capacity building.

A third way I think about community capacity building is the changes that happen in shared values, beliefs, assumptions, and biases. That is, the way a whole group of people feels about itself and others.

Two drawings from Progress Not Perfection illustrate this: Day 13 (Butterfly) and Day 120 (Pride). I expect that you see the butterfly from Day 13 just as a monarch. However, the butterfly from Day 120 means something different. Pride colours show the values of a whole community of people. These colours are widely recognized, and that they are so widely acknowledged show that collective values about what it means to be LGBTQ have changed. Changes in collective values are important because just as individual values shape individual actions, shared values shape shared actions.

The outpouring of support for indigenous communities by non-indigenous people after the remains in Kamloops were found was significant. But a collective shift in the beliefs about white superiority would be way more significant. Feeling the huge loss of these children and re-examining what it means to be white isn’t the same thing.

What would it mean if whole communities looked at the belief of white superiority? Would we all work towards behaving in less racist ways, and work toward racial justice? I think so. Because we would carry this belief into all aspects of our lives: being with our families, working at our jobs, studying at school, playing sports, sharing art, and living in community. A shift in our collective values would change how we work together as we reach toward common goals.

Tomorrow I will share a fourth way I think community capacity building is linked to community development and racial justice.

My thinking about capacity building has been directly influenced by the work of Ken Wilbur and the Integral Model. For more information check out:

Day 13 (Monarch)

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