angel Kyodo williams

Posts Tagged ‘social justice’

a more perfect union

In culture, leadership, politics, relationship, spirit on June 9, 2009 at 2:21 pm

using our wholebody



Days after California’s Prop 8 was propped up by its Supreme Court, former vice president Dick Cheney unapologetically (of course) and righteously affirmed the novel idea that “freedom means freedom for everyone…people ought to be able to enter into any kind of union they wish.”

Many of us pulled the lever to cast our vote for an oddly hopeful promise of “a more perfect union” of our Divided States. We watch with our breath held, our hearts in our throats, ready to put our bodies on the line as our One Government lets individual Republics of imaginary divides decide one-by-one, state-by-state, who freedom means freedom for: our embodiment of a more perfect union catastrophically undone by an unwillingness to recognize our most precious union: the one of the heart.

In an historic constitutional referendum in Bolivia, the voters expressed their more perfect union through the powerful symbolic act of embracing a second official flag: the formerly illegal flag of the indigenous people and of the social movement that brought down the previous corrupt governments.

The seven-color Wiphala flag is arranged as 7×7 colors in a square:

Historically, it is the flag of the Incan territory that spanned Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina.
Culturally, it is the flag of the Aymara-Quechua Andean and Amerindian people.
Politically, it is pan-indigenous, multi-ethnic, cross-class and trans-issue. With it’s similarity to the Gay rainbow flag and use for urban social movements, it is becoming an international symbol for diversity and solidarity, equality and equity, dignity and reciprocity…all coming together.

A celebration of the order of cosmos, symbol of life and fertility, it’s rainbow covers the spectrum of colors and represents the honoring of all that should matter to a society:

  • RED for man and the earth
  • ORANGE for society and its expression through culture and education
  • YELLOW for energy and strength through collectivity
  • WHITE for time and community transformation
  • GREEN for natural resouces and the land
  • BLUE for the heavens and natural phenomena
  • Last, most powerfully and sanely, VIOLET for harmonious governance and self-determination of the people.

Taken as a whole and liberated from the neo-colonial closet, it represents that more perfect union that we should all strive for in our quest for a fair and equitable society.

Some worry that Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous President, may be inadvertently diminishing the symbol, as savvy politicians have been wont to do, putting a cursory end to movements of the people by absorbing their symbols and slogans into government. Our own Civil Rights Movement came to an abrupt, stunted and co-opted halt on Lyndon B. Johnson’s appropriative declaration that “we shall overcome.”

But as powerful as symbols, phrases and slogans are, they only derive their energy from the wellspring of the people they represent. People that don’t just stand in the truth, but express it through the way they live. And just as “words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights” the more perfect union we seek for this country will not arise from a speech, a bailout, or even a healthcare plan.

What it will arise from is the embodiment of that more perfect union by folks that know and act on what’s right: like the whites and blacks that fraternized in backwoods jook joints, using rhythm to find harmony. From learning how to dance together, they eventually found the ability to pray, sit and stand together “always at great risk.”

It will arise from the embodiment of principles in and by the people that show up every day to “narrow the gap” between the hope for our society and “the reality of (our) time.” It will arise through the embodiment of actions that manifest the longing held in our hearts, the vision that we cannot yet see, but can feel the truth of in our very core. Thus with great faith, we reach inward, act outward, and move toward it. Our more perfect union will arise from within the people.

Some think this union will come as the result of the broad view of Analysis: political, social, grounded. Others believe we’ll be brought together by the deep current of Spirit: fundamental, ethical, rooted.

In the end, it will express itself as nothing that we currently know of, but rather as a constellation, integration and distillation of all. It will be individually-particularized, collectively-driven and universally-appealing. It will be a social movement because we are social creatures that can form the shape that expresses what we wish to become. It will be a cultural movement because together we create the conditions in which new ways can thrive. It will be self-determined and other-honoring. It will be systemic, endemic and talismanic. More than anything, it will, because it must, be transformative. Our more perfect union will be neither this nor that. Leaving nothing and none of us behind, it will be WholeBody: a Third Way that embraces and embodies being fully Human: ever-evolutionary, ever-revolutionary, ever-dynamic and always Divine.

From there, state-by-state and heart-by-heart, in our more perfect union, we can get Dick Cheney’s wish granted.

Jai Bhim! We shall overcome…Si, se puede. A Better World is Possible. Venceremos…Yes, we can. By any means necessary: Power to the People. Power by the People. Power FROM the People.


copyright MMIX. angel Kyodo williams.

angel Kyodo williams is a maverick teacher, author, social visionary and
founder of the Center for Transformative Change.
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this is our time

In culture, leadership on May 8, 2009 at 1:41 pm

will the real american idols please stand up

It’s our time.

Though it may seem hard to discern through the economic debris that is still falling, that so many of us are picking through the pieces of, this is our time.

For far too long we have labored for justice and lurched towards change with far too little resources, too little cohesion, too few wins too far and few between. But labor we had to—making do with what we had, holding it together best we could, savoring the wins and weathering the losses—thus lurch we did and change we made.

A Black Organizer is in the White House. Justice is getting off the bench and in the Game.

It’s our time.

The era of the lowly grunt that toils for justice being the under-appreciated, underpaid underdog is officially overrated. We are now the wunderkinds that can capture the imagination of our nation with our unwavering comittment to Hope, resounding call for Freedom and heart-stopping effort to reveal Truth, Justice and a truly New American Way. It’s Easy as ABC: rooted by Awareness, grounded in Balance, acting from Center.

We, the willing practitioners of a transformative social change, are the only ones who can shift the current paradigm. We are the moral & inspirational frontline of America. Like no other movement before us, we span the globe, defy description and transcend all boundaries: some of us wealthy in cash, some in culture, we are cross-class and transgendered, Caucasian and Cablinasian, neo-social and hyper-spiritual, we bow at the altar of Authenticity. Our movement has been moved by door-knockers and dreamers, academics and activists, poets and pundits, writers and rappers, EDs and PhDs: we are all One. We’ve been a Tribe with a Quest to self-liberate even the antidote of what ails us, because complete freedom is the only freedom that matters.

It’s our time.

Auditions are over. We’re front and center stage. We must stand up and stand out. We need to take our rightful place as the Real American Idols: the exemplars of excellence that know there is no justice if justice isn’t for all.

We’ll create a Mad World in which Adam can take home the prize AND Steve for a Union in any State of his choosing because there’s a Whole Lotta Love and this town is big enough for all of it. Our children will want to grow up to be aligned agents of change, not morally bankrupt bankers, broken-down mortgage brokers or exposed wizards of Wall Street caught with their hands on the levers of peoples’ lives. While they all lined their pockets with peoples’ pain, We lay the path for possibility and prosperity. We… are…the…champions.

It is our time.

We’ll lift every voice to sing.

We’ll dance with whole body, mind and spirt.

We’ll shine from the inside, radiating self-awareness, self-care and self-love.

The crowds will go wild. Sitting on the edges of their seats, they’ll cheer us on, spellbound by the marriage of head and heart, fierce commitment to humanity and strength of humility that wins where it matters, even when the scoreboard says otherwise.

They’ll tweet, twitter, digg, fan and follow the triple-threat talent that steals the show every time:

Our courage to take on Responsibility for the work that needs to be done.
Our conviction to be Accountable to our co-workers, communities, and most of all, ourselves.
Our clarity of Purpose that is the container of our intention and the vision for our success.

This Radical Relationship to self, other and the Mother is ecological, evolutionary and embodied.

This is our time.

Well-coiffed and, dare I say, well-dressed, we ARE the bling, we are the Rock Stars, the Sexy Mothers and Mutha…(you get the drift), and Mike wants to be like Us.

When the viewers telly and the texts are tallied, we’ll be judged by true measures of greatness: how skillfully we exhibit grace under pressure, wield power with precision and receive feedback—even when it seems negative and harsh—with aplomb. Simon says: take what’s yours and release the rest.

And when the small wins elude us (as they will) we’ll flash our pearly whites and see the opportunity to learn from our missteps, sharpen our skill and deepen our practice. We’ll accept defeat gracefully as we prepare for the next round with abiding love in our hearts, joy in our spirits, compassion for others and equanimity in the face of it all.

Because we know that when met in this way, two steps back can propel us a giant leap forward. We know Victory is ours because justice has ALWAYS been on our side, and now, finally, we need only make it so for now, now now…

NOW is our time.


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