Over the past year I, along with our very dedicated board members, have been in the process of creating and defining a vision for Culture Connection AZ. To do this, I spent time volunteering at several nonprofit organizations in our community, listening to folks whose experiences are vastly different from my own, reading and watching stories written from unfamiliar perspectives, and reflecting on what it all means, as I watched our community move through an unprecedented time in our history.
Through these experiences I came to develop some core principles on which to build the foundation of Culture Connection AZ. I hope that sharing them will allow us to start off strong and make steady progress towards a more informed, compassionate, and interconnected community.
Collaboration, not competition
I believe that when a member of our community is successful, we all benefit. When a part of our community is uplifted, it ripples out and uplifts all of us. When a fellow nonprofit organization receives a donation or a grant, I will celebrate with them, knowing that it gets us all closer to our goal of creating a stronger community. I envision a space where we celebrate our colleagues’ (not competitors) successes with them. Another’s gain does not mean our loss.
A rising tide lifts all boats.
Abundance, not scarcity
I believe in giving freely of whatever you have in abundance. I have seen the toll that a scarcity mindset has taken on our community. The hoarding of resources has resulted in too many members of our community lacking what they need to get by, while a concentrated few have much more than they could ever use. I am dedicated to reaching both ends of this spectrum by creating opportunities and space for those who have much, to give back, and for those in need to find connection and opportunities.
If you would like to explore this idea further, I recommend Robin Wall Kimmerer’s wonderful essay The Serviceberry: An Economy of Abundance.
Recognition, not shame
I believe that shame is counterproductive to our mission, and should never be used as a tool to coerce, convince, or alienate those with a genuine desire to learn, understand and connect. I also believe that we have a responsibility to recognize ALL of our community’s history, including the good, the bad, and the ugly. I believe that this acknowledgement must take place if we are to communicate honestly, respectfully, and productively about the complicated issues facing our community. We cannot begin to understand and discuss these issues without first recognizing that we live in a society that historically has perpetuated a system of privilege for some members at the expense of others.