Category Archives: inclusive community building

We Do Not Have to Start Big to Touch Lives

I am Chuks Okoriekwe, a lawyer in Nigeria who loves adventure. This photo was taken at the McKinney Roughs Natural Park in Cedar Creek, Texas when I visited Austin, Texas last year. I consider myself a social engineer using the instrument of the law to heal and transform societies, one at a time.

Growing up in a family of seven has taught me to appreciate bonds in family, devotion and looking out for people. I have learned to appreciate the little I have without losing sight of striving for something better. In the process, I have also learned that looking out for others could be soothing.

My goal, in taking the “Discover Your Inclusive Leadership Potential” Online course, is forming a bond to heal the world of hate, discrimination and violence through love, kindness and affection. I am also taking an Earth Charter Leadership course. The Earth Charter has been a very valuable document in preserving the earth. If only all its principles could be implemented, we’d have a more sustainable place to live in.

I found the introductions in the First Module of the course to be indeed inspiring. For example, Paul Atsu’s strides in innovation for agribusiness business are enlightening and worthy of emulation. I’m also impressed with Stanley Daniel’s efforts at revitalizing his indigenous language in Canada. Indigenous languages are at the brink of extinction if not passed on to the next generation. Similar challenges are faced in Africa (due to the adoption of ‘western’ culture) but gradually we are seeing a new wave of young and dynamic people promoting the sustainability of the language culture. Young people are blazing the trail in providing solutions to the problems facing the world today.

The next module in the Inclusive Leadership course described the Building Bridges steps which are never ending. One must continue to build bridges across to those we consider different from us. It is never enough to allow societal prejudices define a set of people. We must all understand that first and foremost, we are all human and no one made a choice of where or how to be born. One of my fellow participants, Graham Fielding shared how he used to believe that “someone would always be there to care of issues when they arise.” He is not alone in these thoughts. I was once that way, believing this myth without the urge to be an active participant in changing what I felt strongly against in my own little way.

I would say that my ‘transformation’ started as an undergraduate law student, when we were exposed to series of challenging national issues including violations of human rights at various levels despite legal safeguards. People were either unaware of these safeguards or were not informed enough to take action. At that point, I realized that it wasn’t enough to simply sit back in my comfort zone whilst others continue to suffer deprivation. More so, if nothing was done, the challenge would soon become a leviathan consuming anything and everything on its path.

It is particularly striking to see young people who have been awaiting trial for years in prisons without their cases being called up in court. Some have also spent more years than they would have served if convicted for the alleged offence(s). All these were due to the slow pace of the justice system. In Nigeria, judges are overwhelmed with the number of cases.

To become a solution which I desired and understanding that I’ve been armed with the knowledge of the law, I joined forces with some friends (at different levels) and we carried out human rights sensitization exercises. We also offered pro-bono ‘legal’ assistance to those who couldn’t afford the services of legal practitioners. One of the strategies we used was to create a radio drama series in pidgin-English (first of its kind!) to educate as well as entertain people on their rights and corresponding obligations (what they need to do when their rights are infringed).

Our little efforts recorded some successes! In addition to our regular pro-bono advisory services we offer to indigent people, we were able to secure the release of two inmates who were unlawfully detained. For me and my colleagues the joy we derived in seeing smiles on the faces of people being reunited with their loved ones was enough compensation for our time and resources spent on the project.

This story is a pointer to the fact that we do not have to start big to touch lives. If we could each decide to take action in our little ways, we’ll cause enough ripple that will change the course of history. I hope to share more of my stories and adventures with everyone while participating in the Inclusive Leadership Community.

Discovering New Ideas About Inclusive Leadership

I am Paul Atsu, a youth leader, a thinker and communication expert in Ghana, Africa with a special focus on Agribusiness/ Agriculture. I began the Discover Your Inclusive Leadership Potential Online Course ready to learn from my fellow leaders.

My hope is that as we learn more from each other here, the impact will be to make a world a better place for our generation.

I believe the future is the Earth and the Earth is our future. I am currently doing a masters programme in Agribusiness at the University of Ghana in Legon, Ghana. I am the CEO of IncubationTv that aims to be an information and knowledge sharing hub for sustainable agribusiness development in Africa. We promote youth in Ghana and other African Countries taking the lead to start up their own agribusinesses. What agriculture produces is driven by consumer demand. The composition of meals changes gradually as lifestyles change. Cereals are still by far the most important source of total food consumption: In developing countries the consumption of cereals 30 years ago represented 61% of total calories. It decreased to 56% nowadays, reflecting diet diversification and as more countries achieve higher levels of nutrition. It is expected that cereals will continue to supply more than 50% of the food consumed in the foreseeable future. A large proportion of cereals is produced for animal feed. Food production from the livestock sector includes meat (beef, pork, poultry, etc.), dairy production and eggs.

This Inclusive Leadership course is a discovery of new ideas about leadership within a wonderful learning process with practical information and questions, meditation, and journaling. The information and questions in this course develop our ability to stay aware of our emotions and manage our behavior, social awareness and relationship management skills. We are learning to more accurately perceive our own tendencies and develop the social competence to understand other people’s moods, behavior, and motives.

An example of practical information and questions is the module on networking, or the art showing up. For me, the art of showing up is basically going and learning a new things; information, knowledge, and ideas. Showing up in our roles of supporting and encouraging others who are looking up to us is a key to personal and global leadership development. For example, if a day goes by in which I do not post anything on my on my Social Media Page or Wall concerning agriculture or Agribusiness development, then someone who supports me may personally send me a message to find out what is happening to me. That message alone gives me more courage and hope that someone out there is learning and is inspired by my works and helps me know that I must be able to show up anytime. By networking with others and information sharing, we will all learn more about caring for the environment in ways that have sustainable impacts in our communities, the business world and the wider world.

Meditation is also part of this course and is such an important pillar in one’s life. Visualization, manifesting and seeing what is happening despite the stress of situations will always grow you as a leader to high altitudes. Once you know and accept your potential, then you will end up being a quality leader and change maker in your community, city and the world. For example, during Module 3, as I meditated on the Earth Charter, I discovered the difference the Earth makes by sharing the basics that everyone needs. In agriculture we are very aware that “you may not leave a full day without water or food.” and that the main source of food for the population of the world is agriculture.

The Discover Your Inclusive Leadership Potential course encourages participants to keep journals. The documentation process of journaling involves putting our thoughts and ideas together to develop good communication and listening skills. This maintains a high standard of discussions as we access the course Discussion Forum to read each others works. This directs us toward impactful ideas for creating sustainability on Earth for our generation. In my journaling and in the discussion forums have been thinking and writing about Inclusive Leadership in agriculture, agricultural irrigation, and livestock husbandry. As the population keeps increasing, more food and livestock feed need to be produced in the future and more water applied to this purpose to feed the world.

The course flexibility and positiveness reminds me to remind myself and my fellow leaders to trust ourselves. From this trust comes the basic of understanding how important and wonderful we each are in this Planet.

To contact Paul:

Two ways to enroll in Discover Your Inclusive Leadership Potential Online Education:

  • Self Guided Version begins as soon as you register
  • Next Guided Group Expedition begins October 1, 2018

 

You Matter To Me

submitted by Stan Daniels

A bullet would be a kinder death.

In this day and age social media is so accessible and we can post anything and say anything. People often don’t realize just how much impact their words can have on another person.  Although you do not die physically from words spoken, some folks actually die in spirit, and it grows and grows for a lot of folks to the point that people aren’t living anymore. Resigned to a life of depression and isolation, or anxiety. Living whole lives not feeling connected: folks turn to alcohol and drugs to help sooth the pain.

I do not condone violence or gun violence in anyway, especially in light of all the violence down south. And it’s precisely because of how reckless people are with weapons, that I draw my comparison to guns and words. People use their words as weapons. And just as recklessly. And so in desperation and hopelessness, I ask , would a bullet be kinder?

Definitely not. But whereas a bullet may kill instantly, the pain from words can last a lifetime. How many of us remember the first time we were called ugly or stupid or fat or dumb or worthless or useless. The words and feelings stuck.

But just as negative words can stick, so can words of love and hope. Every day as conversations of unity and Secwepemc unity are thrown around I ask :
What does unity look like ?
What does unity look like for the Secwepemc Nation?
What does unity look like for my Canim Lake community?
What does unity look like for my family ?

I know that with the compassionate communication involved in being an Inclusive Leader, unity includes:

  • Being heard.
  • Being included .
  • Recognizing differences as strengths.
  • Recognizing individual differences as a collective strength.
  • Having respect for one another.
  • Having integrity.
  • Building trust.
  • Being there and showing up.

It is with the intention of ensuring everyone feels heard and included that I do all my work. Letting everyone know that they matter and their voice and story deserves to be heard , that I support everyone , not just some. I see people of all status and power levels as the same. I would hope my kindness shows up the same in every interaction. We tend to see folks through lenses and forget that we are all human and have very human needs, and everything we do serves those needs.

It hurts me to see our folks so divided, but it also excites me. In challenging situations, there is an opportunity. At the end of the day, we are all human, and we need more folks encouraging one another than criticizing each other. Light is more powerful than darkness Love is more powerful than hate. Give peace a chance. Let go of what does not serve you. When we talk about community development, unity , governance , self governance, administration or anything involving people please consider this first : E kwenmintmes es tsilems…Tsuk ren tsetswe7 me7 nekenwentmes. – if it is to be, it is up to me . Good policy begins in the home.

Be the change you wish to see in the world 🙂

(Stan has been involved in the Inclusive Leadership Community for over 15 years now, since the age of fourteen. He is a member of the Tsqescen community in the Shuswap Nation, British Columbia, Canada. He is a currently a student of Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, studying Chemical Addictions Counselling.  He has three siblings, is the uncle of two beautiful nieces and family is VERY important to him. Stan is participating and mentoring in the “Discover Your Inclusive Leadership Potential Online Course”)

Welcome Joy Emmanuel: Summer ILC Co-ordinator!

Our wonderful Joy Emmanuel will be co-ordinating the Inclusive Leadership Co-operative for the summer while Linda Hill takes a break to spend time with family and do some travelling.

Joy is the perfect person for this challenge! She was the Co-op Developer who guided the founding members of the ILC through the process of becoming a Community Service Co-operative in 2013. She felt so at home with our vision, mission, values and practices that she joined our association and has been sharing leadership in cultivating the ILC ever since.

Joy’s experience as a co-operator and her understanding of the ILC from the grass roots up and from the inside out, is making the transition smooth and easy. Joy facilitated our Spring Update Sharing Circle on April 28 and is helping with organizing our online Heart to Heart Sharing Circle coming up Saturday May 5 9:45 am to 11:30 am Pacific Time (4:45 to 6:30 pm Co-ordinated Universal Time). New and experienced Inclusive Leaders from around the world are invited. Simply email Joy at inclusiveleaders@gmail.com and Harriet at ilc.online.cafe@gmail.com for the url address and other directions on how to drop in.

Joy and Harriet will be co-facilitating an eight week ILC Online Practice Group beginning Thursday May 3. There is still room for a few more Inclusive Leaders to join this weekly zoom video meeting from 8 am to 10 am Pacific Time (3 pm to 5 pm Co-ordinated Universal Time). Join new and experienced Inclusive Leaders from across Canada and around the world in cultivating your Inclusive Leadership skills through sharing, listening and practicing. . Click here for more information and to register.

Joy has three more things to co-ordinate this summer. To learn how you can become involved, email Joy at inclusiveleaders@gmail.com

1. The ILC has been invited to join with Cowichan Intercultural Society, schools and NGOs in our local Cowichan Valley community in Canada in “The Inclusion Project.” TIP aims to build inclusive and welcoming bridges between students who are transitioning from small elementary schools to a larger high school. One goal is to build safe, respectful, peaceful and enjoyable relationships between  Indigenus students and Non-indigenous students.  Thank you to Project Co-ordinator, Linda McDaniels of the Cowichan Intercultural Society for inviting the ILC to work with you on this exciting initiative. (Linda McDaniels is also a founding member of the Inclusive Leadership Co-operative).

2. Joy will be reaching out to invite you and other new and experienced Inclusive Leaders to bring your families, friends, colleagues, students, volunteers and other champions of diversity and inclusion to come to our Sept 28 to 20 annual Inclusive Leadership Co-operative gathering for 1, 2, or all 3 days. Joy says, “One of my take-aways from the weekend is just how amazing each of us are when we have the opportunity to show up in a space of respect, openness and support and share our stories. The gifts of our lives can really shine through.” Register online or email Joy at inclusiveleaders@gmail.com for more information.

3. Contact Joy at inclusiveleaders@gmail.com if you would like the ILC to facilitate an Inclusive Leadership workshop for your organization, community group or school during Fall 2018 or Spring 2018. Trained and experienced ILC facilitators will guide your group to explore and develop skills for connecting with differences, communicating with compassion, responding with Anti-Discrimination First Aid and Building Bridges to equality. These are essential skills for everyone who wants to live, learn and lead more inclusively in our diverse communities.

“Inclusive Leadership is a crash course on community and possibility that I love being part of. I’ve been trying to work Inclusive Leadership skills into everything I do with Youth 4 Diversity and trying on ways of facilitating modeled by many Inclusive Leaders. Every time I do that, I see a glimpse of possibility – even if it’s brief – of the compassionate world we are trying to create.” (Moss Dance, Youth Worker, Campbell River, BC)

“Inclusive Leadership is a strength-based focus where there is appreciative inquiry into group or community strengths. Inclusive Leadership focuses on what gives life to community-building, communicating needs and solutions. It gives a community a positive, solution-focused way of problem-solving. It brings people of all ages to the table, circle or forum. It celebrates what works, and gives room for dreaming, designing and celebrating.” (Wedlidi Speck, Director of Aboriginal Service Change, Government of BC)

Inclusive Leadership has been incredibly instrumental in our school’s connectedness and our students’ and staff commitments to social and environmental responsibility.” (Gillian Berry, School Counsellor, Duncan, BC)

 

My Internship With the Inclusive Leadership Co-operative

submitted by Katie Sayers

My internship with the Inclusive Leadership Co-operative has been a powerful opportunity to work in unity with other leaders following a path toward common goals.  It is amazing how opportunities cross your path – just when you need them to. When we vision our goals, make steps in the direction of them, and keep ‘our eyes open’ to the possibilities that come before us – the path will be made clear.

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Spring 2018 Inclusive Leadership Co-operative Sharing Circles

Online Inclusive Leadership Sharing Circle coming up May 5, 2017

Twenty five Inclusive Leaders gathered in Duncan, on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada on April 28 to share our highlights from the past few months of of living, learning and leading in our diverse communities!  “This gathering was fun! I know why I like coming as I always feel included. I feel lucky that I went to an Inclusive Leadership workshop in 2016 because that is what got me started with developing my own Inclusive Leadership skills, my identity as an Inclusive Leader, my sense of belonging within this amazing global Inclusive Leadership community.” (Terri Beaton, Sooke, BC, Canada).

Another sharing circle is coming up May 5. This time online!

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Inclusion is When We Belong

submitted by Janice Maxwell

Melanie second from the left at age 10

If there is a movement afoot to build more inclusive and welcoming communities, then our family is a pioneering founder of that movement. Our journey began in 1979, when our daughter Melanie was born 10 weeks premature and developed cerebral palsy. For 38 years our focus has been on trying to get Melanie included. It was called integration at first. I remember the days when we asked people to “tolerate” persons with disabilities.  Melanie has been petted like a puppy, had her cheeks tweeked, referred to as “she” and “her” instead of by name. At one time Melanie told me she felt like people saw her as a bee; they seemed to want to swat her away and get her out of their space. It broke my heart. Continue reading