Herramientas para Colaboración is a blog series we’ve started at ALG with the intention to share the tools we use to inspire more frequent collaborations between people and organizations in the world. Collaboration is a big part of our mission, and we are delighted to share these tips and tools with you, our beloved community.
In our last post, we introduced the series by sharing a bit about why we collaborate and with this post we begin to dive into how we collaborate. When ALG was founded we had only one program — the Certificate in Leadership and Collaboration. This is our flagship program and the program we are known best for. We have since added on an additional two programs — the International Collective of Restorative Practitioners and the Traveling Workshop. These two programs, although quite different from the Certificate program, are based in the very same values that the founders of ALG hoped to promote through the Certificate program. These values are diversity, integrity, responsibility, and solidarity, among others. To begin to understand our how when it comes to collaboration we have to spend some time understanding what that last word, solidarity, really means.
“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” Australian indigenous woman and activist Lilla Watson is widely recognized as the source for this radical statement which admonishes the idea that hierarchal, one-way help is constructive. In order to change the world for the better, we must first humble ourselves and recognize that all suffering is universal. If another human being — no matter where they live — suffers, I suffer too. From the place of that mutual suffering, we, as human beings, are able to create healing and transform systems of inequality. This is a solidarity mindset. In solidarity, hierarchy is abandoned, barriers and borders are abandoned, there is no “other” there is just us, walking hand in hand creating healthy relationships and conditions in the world. In the words of Audre Lorde, “divide and conquer” becomes “define and empower”.
To make oneself available to collaboration is to say to another person, peoples, or organization that you see them as part of your own being, with needs and goals and ideas that are just as valuable and so important that they are worthy extending the resources you have to help those people pursue their needs, goals and ideas at the same time you pursue yours. To collaborate is to say, “I am here in solidarity with you. We have different skills, we have different stories and shapes but we are one. My liberation is bound with yours, let’s work together.”
Without a solidarity mindset collaboration is impossible. Collaborating parties must see each other as equal, as partners in a shared mission to make the world a better place. Solidarity is the base of each and every collaboration that ALG participates in.
For those interested in collaborating more as an individual or an organization, we challenge you to reflect on the words of Lilla Watson — are you hoping to help? Or is your liberation bound up with the liberation of your neighbor or the person/organization you hope to collaborate with? Have you abandoned all sense of “other”? Are you ready to walk hand in hand, side by side, with all beings? If so, then you are working from a place of solidarity and you are ready to collaborate.