On Nov. 8, the U.S. voted in a way that shocked and dismayed many people engaged in Sistema-inspired work here and across the world. Donald Trump’s campaign had a complex appeal that we are struggling to understand. What we do know is that this country elected a man who, during his campaign, expressed misogyny and xenophobia and exhibited racist and authoritarian tendencies. His character stands at odds with the bedrock values of our movement. What does this mean for us?
We are all immersed in work that represents the exact inverse of Trump’s message, work that prioritizes inclusion and compassionate connection. It’s essential that we maintain positive, joyful learning environments. However, our students of color are experiencing new levels of uncertainty and fear. And the changes intended by the new administration will affect them and their families directly. We do not serve them well if we simply carry on as though nothing has changed.
It can’t be business as usual. If we are a movement, we have the capacity to move – and to move together in intentional and concerted ways, to push back against this political tide.
What can we do? We will all be asking that question, often daily, for the next four years. Answers will evolve and become more compelling, more precise, more powerful. But here are a few first-minute ideas:
- Build more active alliances with our programs’ extended families and with community leaders. Our programs are more important than ever within our communities, as embodiments of their strengths and assets blooming in celebratory ways.
- Strengthen our collective movement. This is the moment to reactivate our “5% rule,” with every one of us dedicating 5% of our work time to advancing the collective endeavor, always referencing the larger movement and articulating how our mission aligns with a more general vision of social justice.
- Sharpen awareness about racial issues within our own programs. We need to be clear and honest about how issues of race show up in our programs, despite our best intentions. Intentionality needs to be backed up with conscious awareness, communication, and action.
We’ve always been more comfortable with the “tocar ” part of our mission than the “luchar” – and that’s felt okay. But this national moment requires more. We need to galvanize our movement toward collective action – AND keep playing.
– Tricia and Eric