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With so much going on in the world right now, and an abundance of information coming from a multitude of places, it can be hard to know what role we play in the pursuit of equity and belonging. As a facilitator, or leader in an organization, it can be even more difficult to know how to provide groups with the tools and resources they need to respond to injustice or create belonging in their own groups or organizations. I was recently listening to an interview with Deepa Iyer, a “South Asian American writer, lawyer, strategist, facilitator, and activist,” who was talking about a framework she developed called The Social Change Ecosystem Map. Originally created in 2017, the framework is premised on the idea that we are “more effective and more sustainable in our social change work when we build connections with others.” She described how “many of us play different roles in pursuit of equity, shared liberation, inclusion, and justice. And yet, we often get overwhelmed, lost, and burned out. Some of us are newcomers to ongoing social change efforts and don’t know where to start. Still others are catalyzed into action during a crisis in our community.” While no one tool solves all problems, Iyer described this tool as “one humble offering” for how we can engage.
The Social Change Ecosystem Map has two components, represented as shared values, in the center, and the ten ways people and organizations generally show up, around the outside.
Photo Credit: BuldingMovement.org
From the interview, I understand the ten roles this way:
Understanding ourselves and our work in the context of an ecosystem means recognizing that there is an intricate web of relationships between people, communities, and institutions. We are not the responsible for the whole ecosystem AND we have a role to play. While our roles may change over time, and may depend on the situation, mapping ourselves onto that ecosystem helps focus our time, energy, and resources in more tangible, accessible, meaningful, and sustainable ways – both for ourselves and the groups we lead or facilitate.
Learn more about the social change ecosystem map here. If you use the map as an educational tool, please let us know how it went!
Photo Credit: Pexels.com