The end of one year always means the beginning of another. It affords us time to rejuvenate our spirits with loved ones and comrades, but also affords a chance to look ahead to the coming year.
At a recent meeting, Grassroots staff shared reflections on our and our partners’ work. We created two word clouds, and also created space for discussion.
What from our partners’ work keeps us rejuvenated?
I shared “radical imagination” because I think that it’s important to recognize that people have to imagine that things can transform… that things can be better. What gives me a lot of energy about movement work is that in the face of lots of threats and repression and challenges, people are still committed to there being a better day. I think, in the ways our ancestors have always done, to just believe. That faith gives movements — and me — a lot of energy.
What makes me rejuvenated is our partners’ sumud, their steadfastness, despite an ocean of colonialism, an ocean of smear campaigns, an ocean of everything a human mind can imagine. They’re still steadfast, they’re still doing the work on the ground.
For instance, in Gaza there sometimes is no electricity, there are no electric generators, and our partners are working from home. Day and night they’re trying to do their work, with their offices closed. In the middle of the night they will share messages with us. It is beyond a career; it is a deep commitment to social justice.
Both of those responses resonate a lot. The words I put in were “love” and “courage.” I was thinking about that quote, “being loved by someone gives you strength, and loving someone deeply gives you courage.” I was just thinking about the love and the courage that I know our partners have, and that I feel they give to us.
What seeds are we laying in our work at the end of this year for future harvests?
We’re beginning to tie up an updated framing and rationale document for our Brazil program. With that comes planting seeds for continuing to deepen our relationships and understanding of Indigenous movements in Brazil. We’re planting the seed, hopefully, for a Quilombola partner.
I had put in “move money earlier.” This is so wonky and behind the scenes, but so much more of our money for grantmaking is from our discretionary money, money not tied to a donor or institution, than ever before.
What that means is, as a grantmaker, we can be a lot more responsive. We can get the money to our partners and grantees when they need it. One of the things that always used to kill me in the past was, we’d be hearing from our grantees that “we’re about to start planning, we really need this money,” and we’d be waiting for a response from one of our grantors. To be able to shift it, so we can be there when we need to, just feels really good.