Written by UyenThi Tran Myhre (Movement Building Coordinator)
As the year draws to a close, I’ve been reflecting on my time at Building Movement Project and SolidarityIs. My one year anniversary with the organization is coming up soon, and it seems like the perfect time to look back on our work and share highlights from 2022.
At BMP, we strengthen the nonprofit sector and catalyze social change through research, relationships, and resources. With these strategies in mind, here’s a brief recap of how Solidarity Is contributed to and supported this work.
Synthesizing lessons from frontline response groups
Through our work with the National Asian American Leaders Table, we began a series of case study interviews with Asian American organizations across the country who have been providing crisis response to communities in the wake of anti-Asian violence. This research will be released as part of BMP’s Movement Infrastructure report series in March of 2023. As we finalize our research and writing, we are guided by chia buồn – a Vietnamese saying that means divide our sorrow. We hope the learnings in this forthcoming report can be one way to chia buồn across and beyond Asian American communities.
Strengthening connections across movements
In our trainings and workshops about transformative solidarity, we emphasize the importance of building and sustaining generative relationships. We incubated virtual spaces to hold these relationships with two cohorts in 2022.
In February, we launched the Social Movements and Philanthropy Funder Lab, which is a continuation of BMP’s Move the Money project. The Funder Lab created an opportunity for philanthropic professionals to learn more about contemporary social movements and the needs of movement leaders while exploring approaches to initiate and sustain investments in social movements at their philanthropic institutions. The lab seeded an idea for a Solidarity Is This podcast episode (more on this below!) and catalyzed collaborations among the participants.
The Solidarity Summits, our second cohort, launched in May. With this initiative, we have the honor of hosting an incubator to expand solidarity practices, narratives, and partnerships among organizations and communities at the frontlines of advancing justice and equity in the United States. In large group sessions and peer group meetings, we facilitated conversations on building capacity, connections, and commonalities across movements. We learn so much from each of these sessions, and are grateful to be doing this work alongside our amazing coaches: Jazmin Pichardo, Hyeon-Ju Rho, and Jess Solomon!
In addition to these cohorts, we facilitated trainings for faith leaders, young activists, organizers, and philanthropic institutions on strengthening their social change roles. Through workshops and keynotes, both on- and off-line, we reached over 1000 people, from nonprofit frontline staff and leaders working in the immigration and Asian American space, to youth activists to environmental and climate justice advocates around the world.
Sharing social change resources and solidarity stories
In November, we hosted a virtual launch for Social Change Now: A Guide for Reflection and Connection, a new book and offering from Deepa Iyer, Sr. Director of Strategic Initiatives here at BMP! Besides introducing the social change ecosystem framework that Deepa first developed in 2017, this book combines real-world examples of what individual and organizational social change work can look like, plus reflection prompts, discussion guides, and ideas that can be put into action. If you missed the book launch, where our Co-Executive Director Frances Kunreuther facilitated a fantastic conversation between Deepa and Emergent Fund Executive Director alicia sanchez gill, you can find the recording and transcript here.
And for the sixth season of our Solidarity Is This podcast, we released six episodes! (This wasn’t planned, but we like the unintentional synergy all the same). We kicked off the season with guest host (and former Manager of Solidarity Is) Anna Castro, who spoke with J. Gia Loving (GSA Network) about finding inspiration in working with Gen Z. In the spring, Heidi Khokhar (Rural Development Initiatives) inspired us to become “rural curious” in our solidarity work with rural communities and Homayra Yusufi (Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans) reminded us of how to cultivate meaningful solidarity with refugees. In July, Dr. Jessica Gordon Nembhard and Julia Ho gave us a lesson on solidarity economies 101, and in September, coinciding with #BannedBooksWeek, Deepa talked with Jude Dibia and Rena Baledi about book bans and equity work in Malmö, Sweden. Finally, in November, we learned about the Indigenous Aunties Council from Cúagilákv (Jess Housty) and Kim Hardy, co-leads of the Right Relations Collaborative, who talked about their work to fund movements differently – shout out to our Philanthropy and Social Movements Funder Lab partners who first shared the Collaborative’s work with us!
Last but not least: earlier this year, we also shared the newly revised Ecosystem of Well-Being tool, after piloting it at the Solidarity Summits and our own BMP colleagues at our staff retreat. The Ecosystem of Well-Being helps us visualize and create well-being as an interdependent practice, in relationship to those around us. This tool can be a start to identifying ways to resource and sustain ourselves in social change work, not just as individuals, but on organizational and movement levels as well.
If you’re reading this Solidarity Is recap, we hope you find something to take with you, whether it’s a new podcast to check out or readings and resources on strengthening your social change role and solidarity practices. And, if you want to learn more about collaborating with us in 2023, get in touch!
In the meantime, we hope the end of the year gives you what you need, whether that’s rest, time with loved ones, space to reflect, or whatever else feels right as we welcome 2023.