The Challenges Of Building An Equal Future

Reflections on hosting the first Mission Equality event, Equal Futures

On Friday 14th July, we hosted our first Mission Equality event - Equal Futures. The event came about for a number of reasons:

  • We’d already been talking about hosting an event around the same time as the race2dinner screenings of which I’d originally been helping to organise (more on why I pulled out of that at a later date), since many of our community were going to be in London anyway. With Sharon also in the country for her daughter’s graduation, it felt like too good an opportunity to miss!

  • I’ve had so many conversations which included the words “If only we could all get in the same room”.

…and so we did!

What We Did & Why…

As with many things we do at Mission Equality, we wanted to do things differently when it came to running an event; these are the decisions we made:

  • Not a sage on the stage format but an equal platform for all to contribute with no ‘experts’ front and centre; we are, after all, leaders in our own right.

  • No strictly defined structure and format but loose guidelines which could be used, or not. These were the ‘instructions’ given to attendees on the day along with this template to use.

  • A focus on action - we spent a lot of time urging attendees to think about what actions could be taken, how they could move forwards from the day and put things into action…action, action, action!

  • Much of what we do at Mission Equality is about experimenting and modelling; this event was no different. We wanted to model equality as much as we could and as we’re learning, that means operating from a variety of different paradigms some of which include:

    • Operating from a foundation of trust, in and for ourselves and each other.

    • Operating from a place of independence and freedom; this means taking radical personal responsibility for one’s whole self which in turn requires an awareness of what we need, the ability to meet those needs for ourselves and/or being able to express and ask for support from others, when required.

Takeaways & Insights

It was an enriching and fascinating day in many ways; we’ve had some great feedback from attendees but one common theme in amongst the feedback has struck me…

We are so used to being told what to do, how to do it and having things structured for us - our education, our health, our work days, our entire lifestyles. This is, by the way, by design and not by accident.

Where’s our responsibility in this colonised way of thinking, doing and being? Where’s our own power, agency and control?

People (say they) want more freedom, more flexibility, more power and more control…but give it to them and they often struggle.

We have experienced this in our company at Mission Equality; the way we work is so very different from almost everywhere so we have designed a very specific ‘runway’ into working with us precisely because of this experience and the struggles folks have.

The path to freedom is often paved with the need for some scaffolding and some structure until people are and feel better equipped, resourced and able to trust themselves to truly benefit from the freedom they want.

The event was no different; a fascinating experiment in providing what we hoped was a safe and nurturing space to explore the freedom, agency and…trust to do what we all say we want to do…work towards equality and be equal, while fulfilling our potential in achieving this mission.

What this requires is us each working individually towards:

  • Our own potential.

  • Taking radical personal responsibility for ourselves.

  • Being and becoming the leaders of ourselves we want to be.

These are some of the foundations required for an equal world to function, equally, on an individual and a collective level.

And while this tension between the individual and the collective - a tension I often point to - is also important, let’s remember that the collective is made up of individuals and if nothing else, the thing we each individually have control of is…our selves.

It’s what we require of ourselves and the people at Mission Equality. There are those who ‘get it’ and those who still fight it. Which side of the fence are you on?

This article was originally posted on Doing Business Differently by Lea Jovy-Ford.

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