Building intersectional, intergenerational solidarity and knowledge: WOOP in Berlin by Nadia Nadesan
This past October Working on Our Power, a transformational leadership programme, marked a huge milestone by hosting it’s very first retreat in Berlin! 24 women, trans and non binary people of colour from across the EU gathered for two and half exciting days, to build intersectional, intergenerational solidarity and knowledge.
Because so many of the past figures and archetypes of a strong, lone figure are failing us today, a cornerstone of our work has been re-envisioning leadership. From the workshop discussions we acknowledged the important facet of radical kindness and invoked images of community leaders from the past such as Sybil Phoenix to re-mold how we want to see and model leadership today. Reflecting on the past and being able to take references from lived experiences from those have fought similar battles before emboldens us to also take heart and strength as we push through today’s uncertainty to form a moral and emotional compass.
In tandem with reflecting on who and how we lead another important discussion was around accountability and transformative justice. Here we made a beginning; asking difficult questions, creating group practices around recognizing and voicing harm. The journey brought us closer to understanding how to create learning spaces that hold very different experiences as well as creating practices of accountability when harm arises.
This encounter of brilliant women and non binary people of colour could not have happened without the determination, work, and aspirations of the WOOP team and participants. The programme has been operating in online spaces, so finally being able to stand in each other’s presence was a wonderful moment for connection.