Power and understanding come from the act of naming. We name ourselves and each other, our pets, things, actions, purposes, and movements. Sometimes we, as individuals or as groups, do great things but we don’t stop and name what we have done. Without naming, we can fail to recognize the importance and uniqueness of the thing named. If you name it, you claim it.
At WomenShare, we named the work and passions of the women gathered through “Provocative Propositions.” We embarked on this naming mission after hours of interviewing each other so the room was buzzing with newfound connections. The goal? Create a collective vision for the future food system. What, Jamie asked us, could we do to strengthen and accelerate the good food movement?
The challenge was barely explained to us before the room exploded into chatter. Small groups shared ideas and words and scribbled pictures on paper. We imagined society’s relationship with food not as it is, not as an improved version of itself, but as it would be if we completely recreated it.
Women volunteered to take the phrases and group them into themes over lunch. When the women all assembled again, the volunteers’ work was shared with us in a power-point.
I love words, but I did not participate verbally as so many women were shouting out exactly what I wanted to say. Hearing the finished propositions was a very emotional experience. My conviction was that this new envisioned food system is populated with people full of fierce and powerful love. An added beauty was the knowledge that the women present were already living out many of these propositions.
Jamie read the propositions to us. There was silence and then cries of, “Read it again!” came from all over the room. Jamie began again, and quickly a wave of voices joined her. We read the propositions in unison.
• We cultivate our best selves by grounding in the deep personal work needed to be fearless and effective change leaders.
• We access our ancestral wisdom and are getting our hands in the dirt.
• We actively request and provide mentorship.
• We tell compelling stories that connect mind and heart to inspire action for change.
• We demand diversity and end oppression.
• We are creating change from the smallest first step to organizing on a global scale.
• We cultivate community through generosity and redefine success beyond traditional economic measures.
• We empower conscious communities by creating spaces that encourage collaboration.
• We engage fearlessly in politics, transforming economic and political structures for public benefit and more consensus decision-making.