Former community organizer, Lama Rod Owens is a Buddhist minister, author, activist, yoga instructor and authorized Lama, or Buddhist teacher, in the Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism. He is one of the leading voices in a new generation of Buddhist teachers. He holds a Master of Divinity degree in Buddhist Studies from Harvard Divinity School. He is the co-author of Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love and Liberation. His teachings center on freedom, self-expression, and radical self-care.
A long labor of love, Lama Rod's second book, Love and Rage: The Path of Liberation Through Anger, was written as a guidebook through these difficult times. It addresses the important work we must do to take care of our deep hurt in order to experience the emotional liberation needed to embody fierce and radical love for ourselves, others, and the planet. Lama Rod writes,
Lama Rod also leads the in-depth Love and Rage 7-week course and online practice group. The course teachings include: compassion-based processes to manage cumulative trauma; what self-care really looks like; practices to connect and engage with our ancestors in order to ground ourselves during difficult times and enrich our self understanding; and how to be loving, open and vulnerable... but still fierce! Stay tuned for the 2023 course dates.
Visit Lama Rod Owens' Website
Organizing and movement building are collective efforts. Only together, through institutions, cross-organizational collaboration, and ecosystem connection, can we reshape the world. But within these cooperative efforts are individuals. And as individuals within this work, we often find ourselves in deep conflict, hurt by the way we treat one another. Across the country, our collective efforts are frozen or destroyed by our responses to this conflict. At Movement Matters, we are constantly trying to learn new skills and approaches to create processes that care for the individual, our organizations, and our collective work. The Calling In: Creating Change Without Cancel Culture course by Loretta J. Ross and Loan Tran is one source of this learning. We have been engaging with their material for over a year and the entire MM team enrolled in the course this October.
Loan Tran, who is credited with coining the phrase “calling in”, frames cancel culture as a product of our carceral system of punishment. They add that if we are committed to a human rights framework, we must create systems for relationship building and accountability that free us from these dominant paradigms. Calling In culture is one such mechanism.
Ms. Ross and Loan Tran take participants through the 5-C Continuum (Calling Out, Canceling, Calling In, Calling On, Calling It Off) and discuss how/when each is appropriate in our movement spaces, including distinguishing between how we engage with people “on our side” versus targets of our organizing campaigns. Though the majority of the courses focus on Calling In as a strategy of radical love to uphold our movement spaces, Ms. Ross and Loan Tran explore the ways in which we “punch sideways” at one another due to our trauma responses and deep socialization in the oppressive systems under which we live. However, they urge that if we are to build a real human rights movement that stretches far, wide and deep, we cannot cancel each other and we must find other ways to handle conflict that go beyond the examples provided by society.
The course also helps us examine how to adhere to Calling In practices when faced with uneven power dynamics within our movement institutions. It does not shy away from the need for accountability and change within our work, but rather reexamines our often instinctual reactions to try to achieve them.
In addition to the theoretical grounding to Calling In culture, the course also offers learning labs, led by somatic practitioner Desiree Hammond, where participants are able to practice and embody this process. As we continue to learn and explore this methodology, we look forward to incorporating it into Movement Matters’ approach to accompaniment and capacity building.
Visit Loretta Ross' Website
Learn More About the "Calling In" Online Sessions
This past September, Movement Matters held our first in-person Advanced Facilitation Training (AFT) since the Covid pandemic. This comprehensive 3-day training is tailored to increase the facilitation capacity of organizers in order to move more intentionally toward constituency building and reaching organizing goals.
Together, organizers and cultural workers from 12 organizations (including Tenants & Workers United, Empower DC, SEIU 1199, Beloved Community Incubator, and Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco) gathered for three full days of learning, reflection, cross-pollination and relationship building.
Given the central role that facilitation plays in base building, especially at this crucial organizing moment, we deepened our curriculum to include the role of rhythm and voice as somatic practices and techniques for incorporating self-regulation, community building, and joy. We included theater based activities such as "moving circle" work to deepen communication and trust. We also introduced forum theater and graphic facilitation to move participants beyond simple discussion-based engagement. Participants also learned how to recognize different stages of group development and design meetings to move groups meaningfully towards their campaign goals.
Organizers were able to deeply reflect and share on how their experiences shape them as facilitators and what that means for how they and their organizations need to expand and grow. This understanding was paired with ready-to-use skills to move toward this growth.
We greatly appreciate the contributions of many institutional and individual supporters of the 2022 AFT, including the DC Eaton Workshop.