on building community
4 min read

on building community

it became clear to me by the second year of my teaching career that "managing" a classroom and "running" a school is organizing and community building. thus, i've spent my adult life studying and building communities. for the last half decade or so, i've been more intentional about this informal research. from the books i'm reading and rereading to the organizing and teaching work i've been a part of, i want to be around people who are interested in this work. who have something to say about it. who are doing something.

like all good study, i have many more questions now than when i started. there is one thing i know for certain though:

communities are made up of people and people are a goddamn mess.

i know for sure that i am a goddamn mess and yet i am still surprised when each group of people i am a part of contains so many fellow messes. each mess combining and conflicting with others creating an environment where nothing is simple.

i have moments where i want to just walk solo into the woods and see how it goes.

i can't though. almost none of us can. we've been communal as a species since the beginning. our languages and the communities it has enabled us to build are what has allowed us to survive and expand without fangs, claws, or much else really.

which leads me to another handful of things i'm thinking about:

our struggles are not new, we are not special, and there is much to learn.

i don't say this to be dismissive of the very real pain, harm, disappointment, and grief so many of us are feeling in community at any given moment. i say this to remind us that we are a part of a long lineage and that most of us too will survive.

the rest of this email is a gathering of media i'm mulling on as i try to figure out how we do this together.

Ritual: Power, Healing, and Community by Malidoma Patrice Somé

“A true community begins in the hearts of the people involved. It is not a place of distraction but a place of being.”
Malidoma Patrice Somé, Ritual: Power, Healing and Community
“A community is a place of self-definition. Any group of people meeting with the intention of connecting to the power within is a community. People who regroup under a different banner to take care of themselves are attracted to indigenous culture. In these new formations, people seek to explore what has frustrated, betrayed and constituted a deep wound in their hearts. What they are trying to do is restore their inner power, which has been tarnished. Because they are trying to fight the servitude in which corporate power holds them prisoner, they are redefining themselves. They are moving themselves away from the magnetic visibility of externalized power. But to regroup against the Machine is to get out of control. However, one must not only be aware of this moving away, one must also be prepared to go all the way. To leave behind society and culture, one has to be prepared to do battle in order to be who you want to be. Without a community you cannot be yourself. The community is where we draw the strength needed to effect changes inside of us.”
Malidoma Patrice Somé, Ritual: Power, Healing and Community

Cuba's Families Code

Cuba’s New Family Code is Approved After Referendum
The option in favor of its approval obtained 3,936,790 votes, that is, 66.87 percent of the votes cast.

"Learn how to commune with soil"

“The fugitive is the figure of the Anthropocene, a political invitation to unlearn ‘mastery,’ to fall to the Earth, to learn how to commune with soil… In a sense, the fugitive answers the question that is hidden within the words of my Elders, when they say: ‘in order to find your way, you must become lost.’” In this week’s episode, Bayo Akomolafe guides listeners on a journey to lose oneself and leave behind the ties that bind us to world views that do not serve humanity’s wholeness.
‎For The Wild: DR. BAYO AKOMOLAFE on Coming Alive to Other Senses on Apple Podcasts
‎Show For The Wild, Ep DR. BAYO AKOMOLAFE on Coming Alive to Other Senses - Aug 17, 2022

Healing Resistance

“A lot of people who don’t want to listen have some frozen need to be heard” - Kazu Haga

as always, I hope this was useful.

if it was and you've got five bucks a month to spare, click here.

with hope,

katie wills evans