Sharing a Cultural Recipe for Resilience

A Project Advisor at Movement Strategy Center Presents a Recipe and a Family History for Southern Black Lives

The holiday season is among us — a time to celebrate, reflect, reset, and gather in community. It’s also time to prepare festive meals and share favorite dishes — many from recipes that have bounced around families for generations. The concept of sharing foods and sharing traditions has always been an integral part of movement work, as well. When we share recipes that connect us to our roots, we invite our community to recognize our whole selves. 

The staff here at Movement Strategy Center (MSC) clock in across several states, cities, and time zones. Thus, our mostly remote culture demands creative ways of convening, connecting, and developing connections and we must be intentional in our cultivation of Beloved Community. At the end of the day, our issues and their solutions are interconnected — whether they’re at work or in life. 

It was in this spirit of community and reflection, that our Movement Infrastructure Innovation Center (MIIC) team was asked to share a recipe that best represents their culture. Most team members shared actual recipes — tamales, a honey glazed ham, and lasagna — family favorites shared year after year at holiday gatherings. But, Karmella Green, who joined the MIIC team as a Project Advisor in the Summer of 2022, offered her team something different: a powerful video presentation detailing a cultural recipe rooted in compassion, shared history, and Black liberation. 

Through an oral history, beginning in the 17th century, Green — a Black woman and a Texan — challenged her teammates to interrogate perceived benefits of White proximity, a driving force that prompts people of color to adopt anti-Black views. Karmella articulated the resilience of her culture, noting, “Slavery is White history. How we survived it is Black history.” Her narrative is buried in poems and pain; it details familial accomplishments and societal failings and is bookended with quotes from the Black luminaries lining her family’s bookshelves. She details her family members, including her great great grandmother — a well known member of their community. Throughout these stories, Green poignantly reminds us that “if intergenerational trauma can be passed down through DNA, so can healing.” 

Her incredible piece is a recipe — not for a casserole but for healing, for growth, and for overcoming systemic racism. It echoes her contemporary efforts to disavow the inherent systemic racism within the philanthropic community, and it is a lesson for transforming communities. 

Thank you, Karmella, for sharing your cultural recipe and reminding us, this holiday season, that when we share histories, we can shape possibilities for our collective future, rooted in love. With her permission, we invite you to watch her piece, as presented to her teammates, in the video below. 

Trigger Warning: the video includes photos of violence, themes of racism, oppression, death, and abuse.

If you are feeling nourished, like and share this blog, and let us know in the comments below what dishes — or histories — are staples on your holiday table. No matter the dish you bring to the table, MSC wishes you and your beloveds a spirited holiday season.


Honoring Our Connections and Putting Love at the Center

Practicing our Future Now: Beloved Communities Network and Movement Strategy Network present: Living the Practices of Transformative Movement Building, Part 2

 What do we need to consciously practice to be the people who reflect our shared vision? How do we honor our connections, build community trust, and put love at the center?

Maintaining a sense of radical imagination about the future helps us better understand our collective past. It is our duty to use our collective imagination and use it to shape and direct the tide of change ourselves. 

On December 15 and 16, 2021, Movement Strategy Center (MSC) co-founder Taj James chatted with activists, facilitators, and cultural influencers in a multipart conversation exploring how to live the Practices of Transformative Movement Building on Facebook Live, sponsored by Movement Strategy Network and Beloved Communities Network (BCN). 

In the second segment, we invited filmmaker Wolfhawk Jaguar, Kerri Kelly of CTZNWELL, founder of the Big We, Anasa Troutman, to grapple with big questions including, how can I be the best ancestor now, for the future we all deserve? Listen to these culture builders as they discuss the lessons of radical connection and deep embodiment. Jaguar reminded us that our true power lies in our vulnerability; and that practicing to be reflective of a shared vision of regeneration requires that we center love and build trust in our communities. 

Discussion centered on the four elements at the core of transformative movement building and include leading with audacious vision and bold purpose; deeply embodying the values at the heart of the vision; building radical and deep community around the vision; and using all of that — vision, embodiment, and connection — to strategically navigate toward the future. 

Watch the entire conversation below.

The conversation echoes the juicy conversations on Beloved Communities Network Radio. Catch up on the first season of BCR at Beloved Communities Network’s YouTube.


What Do We Want and How Deeply Do We Want It?

Practicing Our Future Now: Beloved Communities Network and Movement Strategy Center Present: Living the Practices of Transformative Movement Building, Part 1

What do we want and how deeply do we want it? What choices can we make that bring ourselves and our whole communities forward through unpredictable conditions? 

Maintaining a sense of radical imagination about the future helps us better understand our collective past. It is our duty to use our collective imagination and use it to shape and direct the tide of change ourselves. 

On December 15 and 16, 2021, Movement Strategy Center (MSC) co-founder Taj James chatted with activists, facilitators, and cultural influencers in a multipart conversation exploring how to live the Practices of Transformative Movement Building on Facebook Live, sponsored by Movement Strategy Network and Beloved Communities Network (BCN).

In the first segment, guests included Autumn Brown of AORTA and Aisha Shillingford and Terry Marshall of Intelligent Mischief. They talked about the lessons shared with them around transformative movement building. They also discussed the courage and hope it takes to imagine a future that collective traumas might otherwise dim. 

Brown reminded us to look for folks practicing the future now and memorably declared that “Blackness is a sight of magic … One of the most magical forces on earth.” Marshall and Shillingford reminded us to look to ballrooms, raves, or cookouts — places where people practice community and can find hope.

Discussion centered on the four elements at the core of transformative movement building and include leading with audacious vision and bold purpose; deeply embodying the values at the heart of the vision; building radical and deep community around the vision; and using all of that — vision, embodiment, and connection — to strategically navigate toward the future. 

Watch the entire conversation below.

The conversation echoes the juicy conversations on Beloved Communities Network Radio. Catch up on the first season of BCR at Beloved Communities Network’s YouTube.


MSC's 73 Questions with Aisha Shillingford

Movement Strategy Center Chats with Aisha Shillingford of Intelligent Mischief in a 73 Questions-Style Interview

Movement Strategy Center and Intelligent Mischief present MSC’s 73 Questions with Aisha Shillingford, creative director of Intelligent Mischief. This is our take on Vogue’s iconic 73 questions and in it we discuss Afrofuturism, art and design, movement building, social justice, the Golden Girls — all for MSC’s first-ever #GivingTuesday and End of Year Giving campaigns.

Credits
T
alent: Aisha Shillingford 
Videographer: Auden Barbour
Produced by: Movement Strategy Center