Each generation must, out of its relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it.
I’m part of a generation (I’m 27) in North America that grew up being told that everyone should be born equal and have equal opportunity. I think my parents’ generation believed that so much they started to think of it as a reality, something already achieved, and not as a should-be, as something to aspire to. They were trying to believe in the dream of the civil rights movement. Believe it into reality, even if the work was so far from done. And so from a young age growing up in Toronto in a wealthy family I didn’t understand why people would choose to be poor. Why not just be rich? Everyone was given the same opportunities, after all.
Early in life I had somehow internalized the lesson of the inherent fairness of things. Being in middle and high school and trying to understand money and wealth at a society-wide level was confusing. At least it was for me. I wasn’t taught about the racial and gender divisions of wealth that have existed for hundreds of years here. Or about how that history led to today’s reality. I was simply taught that we live in a fair society of many opportunities. That’s the proud Canadian narrative. Not too different from the American dream.
I discovered RG three years ago after a frantic online search for information following a frustrating phone call with my mother. During the call, I was informed that, upon turning 21, I would be named as a trustee of a private family foundation. Without going into too much detail, the thought of engaging with four family members with varying degrees of interest in the process and only a few intersecting values felt challenging to say the least.
These are the reflections of Ruth Sawyer, RG Seattle Chapter Leader after attending RG’s first ever Transformative Leadership Institute (TLI) for member leaders in July 2013.
One of the most persistent questions I’ve gotten when I try to explain RG’s work in Seattle is “cool, but what do you guys do?” Yes, we have groups that get young people with wealth in the same room, but what’s the point? (more…)
Post by Lizzie Busch, RG member leader and an attendee at our recent Transformative Leadership Institute in early July, 2013. The Transformative Leadership Institute was a 4 day training for rg member leaders from across our work in chapters, family philanthropy, tax organizing, racial justice, Making Money Making Change planning and more.
Two weeks ago, I attended Resource Generation’s Transformative Leadership Institute in Minneapolis. It was a magical weekend put together beautifully and intentionally by RG staff and members, with amazing workshops by facilitators from groups like United For a Fair Economy and Class Action. I appreciated the opportunity to deepen my analysis and reflect on RG’s role in movements for social change.
There are many important topics I could write about post-TLI, including our collective mourning for the death of Trayvon Martin. However, I know that I am part of an excellent team of bloggers who’ve even already written about that topic. In this blog post, I want to come clean about my own tendency towards flightiness. As I learned at the Class Action workshop at TLI, flightiness, along with lagging timelines and a sense of grandiosity, is one of the most common tendencies of activists who were raised owning-class. To me, “flightiness” is what it sounds like: flying from project to project without setting your feet down, being hard-to-reach when there are other things going on in life, and taking on projects without thinking about your capacity. Though I’ve learned about flightiness from many different sources, including Resource Generation’s own most-stolen-book-from-bluestockings’ Classified, I am in need of reminders that it exists and it’s not something I can fix in one fell swoop.
Staying the Course: Why it’s important for folks with class and race privilege to stick with our commitments and community