I intend to incorporate my social justice awareness into my life using my personal mission statement of leadership interchangeably, that is:
"To be a transformational, SERVANT leader, one must have the courage to "fall, and get back up". With faith, authenticity, and growth, one can accomplish anything you set out to do, even when roadblocks sometimes crop up during the journey"
To meet my goals, I must set servant leadership practices and measure myself against those servant leadership practices to ensure I am accomplishing these goals.
I plan on using the "nine challenges for social justice leaders" discussed in the book "Learning as a way of Leading, Lessons from the struggle for Social Justice". These challenges will ensure I am moving towards my growth as a Social Justice Leader.
1. Learning to be open to the contribution of others (foundational skill). We begin to view small groups as an ecology of we, not me (interdependence); We begin to perceive diversity as a value; and we understand that today’s challenges are best solved by including multiple stakeholders’ perspectives and insights (those with influence and those whose voices are marginalized).
2. Learning how to reflect critically on one’s practice. Only as we become open to the contributions of others can we gather the perspectives needed to practice critical reflection (shifting from the balcony and the dance floor).
3. Learning how to support the growth of others. Instead of asking, how did I do, one learns to ask how did we do? What did we learn? What could we do better?
4. Learning to develop collective leadership skills. Group members become aware of how individual learning is premised on and contributes to the learning of others.
5. Learning to analyze experience. This is a leadership practice that leads us to challenge our old assumptions and then to reconfigure accepted practices. Changing our mind is not seen as a weakness but strength.
6. Learning to question oneself and others. What we learn on one day serves as a bridge to consider a whole new set of understandings and challenges. The group becomes a living field of experience and new knowledge. We never cease growing and learning how to work together most effectively.
7. Learning democracy. Learning democracy requires that we learn democratic principles. We learn to honor diversity, living with the partial function of the democratic ideal, avoid the trap of false antithesis (where we are always forced to choose between either-or, learn to avoid the temptation to bypass the democratic process in the interest of speedily reaching a decision, develop collective forms of social and economic planning, etc.
8. Learning to sustain hope in the face of struggle. The longer one learns about collective leadership practices, the more one becomes aware of just how deep and strong are the structural forces that oppose attempts to change the status quo. Radical pessimism.
9. Learning to create community. We seek to build community and teach the value of community-based decision making and leadership where people’s experience and knowledge are honored and where opportunities for members to develop their talents and capacities are supported.
Finally, we, as social justice leaders, we have to get involved, and involve others in the fight against social injustice. Each one of us is needed to be the solution.