“Relationships are built at the speed of trust; and social change happens at the speed of relationships.”~ Rev. Jennifer Bailey, Founder of Faith Matters Network
How do we build deeper relationships, in our communities and with ourselves, so we can hold contradictions as well as accountability in love, striving to dismantle systems of oppression in the world?
Who Are We and Why Do We Come Together?
The Finger Lakes Accountability Network (FLAN) is a multi-racial and multi-generational group of people who meet regularly and build relationships with each other in the western Finger Lakes Region of New York State. Committed to the interracial work of cultivating a culture of curiosity, courage, and commitment to dismantling systems of oppression, members of FLAN start by looking within ourselves, focusing on the necessity and joy of racial healing, as well as ecological justice and equitable food systems.
How, When, and Where We Work…
In 2023, members of FLAN meet monthly on the second Saturday of each month from 6:30 to 8:00 PM, currently in-person in Naples NY, but sometimes virtually. Our meetings have a loose structure where individuals in attendance are encouraged to share or check-in about activities they’ve participated in, books or articles read, or anything that is on their minds regarding issues of race and racism in the local community and beyond. More than just sharing and discussing thoughts and concepts, participants are encouraged to share about actual projects that they are engaged in or they are considering engaging in to further racial justice.
To get involved, drop a note on Food for the Spirit’s Contact page, let us know you are interested in joining FLAN, and share a little about yourself and your interests.
What keeps each of us showing up? (In the words of FLAN members)
“We each operate individually and come together to share learning through challenging conversation, sharpening applicable understandings and communication skills, practicing how to build trusting relationships and have difficult conversations. Opening opportunities to collaborate and share through projects, workshops, and events. Hold ourselves and each other accountable to learning and doing more.”– Danielle Ohlson
“To establish trust in groups with people we can talk to, where we can show up and explore difficult topics. To support ways to encourage curiosity and compassion in other people, towards seeking connection and common ground – to reach understanding that we share this existence of material and spiritual interests.”– Kim Torpey
“We learn, laugh, lean on and grow with each other, creating community and camaraderie to meet this moment and become good ancestors together.”– Petra Page-Mann
“I keep showing up to this group to collectively build our skills and understandings together through shared conversation to align with and show up for our BIPOC community members.”– Dave Raggio
“Creating a separate volunteer group space to sharpen skills when it comes to thinking about racial justice & food justice, working together to actively progress along a continuum of allyship. You can’t just get to a point where all of sudden you’re an ally.”– Jared Strohl (on Seeding Resilience/FLAN collaboration)
Our North Star or Guiding Principles:
- Open / inclusive / honest / vulnerable / effective / empathetic communication
- Intimate connection
- People working together
- Multi-cultural organizing supporting BIPOC-led racial justice work
- Cooperative decision-making
- Sharing perception
- Cultivating awareness, curiosity, listening, patience, reflection
- Growth, change – discovering new ways of being
- Beholden, responsible, accountable to each other
- Comfortable with discomfort
- Address apathy, disinterest, disassociation
- Rippling out beyond this group, experimenting with “testing our ideas on (and with) others”