I think a lot about power structures. Any organization can be thought of as a partially closed system of power structures; it doesn't matter if we're talking about a multi-national corporation with hundreds of thousands of employees and well-defined hiearchy, or a loosely defined, unnamed mutual association of individuals who come together for a very specific purpose. A performance troupe is an organization. A polyamorous family is an organization. A political non-profit is an organization.
An organization has an inside and an outside. Those within the organization define themselves in relation to those on the outside of the organization; you're either part of the group or, by default, you're not.
At any scale, organizations have a culture; the culture is simultaneiously defined by the power structures, and actively defines the power structures. Its a cyclical feedback loop. Which is to say, if you have a shitty, oppressive culture, you'll find yourself swimming in shitty, oppressive power structures. Accordingly, the shitty, oppressive power structure limits the rate at which someone with good intentions might wish to change the culture into something more positive. I'm a white queer trans woman with a non-profit; by no measure am I experiencing the same sort of environment as a trans masc person of color, or someone with mobility impairments, or an individual who otherwise lies far outside the dominant culture's "default" state of being a cisheteronormative man.
I think a lot about power structures, and the organizations they define, and the structures defined by those same organizational feedback loops.
The last three years of my life has been spent on building up non-or-minimally-oppressive power structures and a positive culture within East Bay for Everyone. I don't believe that, today, it is currently possible to completely divest oneself of oppression. I don't have the hubris to argue that EBFE is perfectly free of oppression, but I do feel that we've done a pretty good job of eliminating as much as we can; even so, our culture is one of constant self-reflection and self-improvement. If we do find that something is unfair, the first tool we reach for is asking ourselves: how do we make this better?
But not every organization can be East Bay for Everyone.
I'm so tired.
I'm so so tired and I know that I have been here before. I know this path quite well. It is paved with good intentions and leads nowhere pleasant. The further you go, the more you notice how few and far between sit opportunities to turn back; to take another path. Every fork in the road provides an opportunity to sit and consider your destination.
Here, there is no map. There is no one true way towards your chosen destination. As we sit and contemplate these forks, as we deliberate which way to go, it is important to remember who has the power in that moment to make the decisions that bring us closer to a goal that we will forever approach yet never reach.
I look behind us at the path paved with good intentions and I see where we ventured off course. I've been there too. At times I was part of those decisions. Other times my words fell on deaf ears.
In this moment, I am not lost. I know with certainty where I am and where I want to go. There are more forks in the road ahead; at one of them, I too will part ways.