icon icon icon icon icon icon icon

Act Bravely

A group of girls smile at the camera while crossing their arms.

A space for action, transformation, and courage

A Litany for Survival
by Audre Lorde


“when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid

So it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive.”

— from The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde. Copyright © 1997 by the Audre Lorde Estate.



Poem for South African Women
by June Jordan

Our own shadows disappear as the feet of thousands
by the tens of thousands pound the fallow land
into new dust that
rising like a marvelous pollen will be
even as the first woman whispering
imagination to the trees around her made
for righteous fruit
from such deliberate defense of life
as no other still
will claim inferior to any other safety
in the world

The whispers too they
intimate to the inmost ear of every spirit
now aroused they
carousing in ferocious affirmation
of all peaceable and loving amplitude
sound a certainly unbounded heat
from a baptismal smoke where yes
there will be fire

And the babies cease alarm as mothers
raising arms
and heart high as the stars so far unseen
nevertheless hurl into the universe
a moving force
irreversible as light years
traveling to the open

And who will join this standing up
and the ones who stood without sweet company
will sing and sing
back into the mountains and
if necessary
even under the sea

we are the ones we have been waiting for

— from The Essential June Jordan, edited by Jan Heller Levi and Christoph Keller, Copper Canyon Press 2021.
(c) 2021 June M. Jordan Literary Estate. Used by permission.



Writing down our private thoughts to prompts is one way of becoming more aware of our place in work or the world.

Questions for Journaling

From AWID’s Feminist Realities: Our Power in Action Toolkit (website):

  • What would a feminist planet smell like? What would a feminist planet taste like? What would a feminist planet sound like?

Thinking about your own position:

  • What are the edges of your discomfort in this work? And what’s behind that?
  • What will your life legacy be? What will you leave your children and grandchildren other than money or property?
  • Listening and Action

    The following exercises are intended to generate dialogue and help us learn from others, ultimately spurring action. They can be done alone or in a group.

    Homework Assignments


    Review the “Grantmaking Practices” checklist by Justice Funders (PDF), principles / points of unity and the Embark principles:

    • How do these compare with the principles of your own organization?
    • What would you change or add to your own principles?
    • What are some of the contradictions between these principles?


    Review Vo Vo’s “Anti-Racist Trauma Informed Care Dos and Don’ts” checklist (PDF). Survey staff and partners:

    • How do these align with your own organizational culture and ways of working?
    • What is the culture you’d like to build collectively?
    • What opportunities can you build on?
    • What are the sticky points or challenges you will need to confront?


    Read the Center for Story-based Strategy’s primer (website):

    • Look back at past exercises, and reflecting on your own story. Map out the “Elements of the Story” that you are a part of/engage with in your work.
    • What points of intervention do you engage or support? Where and how? With whom?

    Overall Reflections 

    • What kinds of leadership are needed to hold these values, spaces and practices?
    • In what ways can these be fostered?
    • What changes are required in how we work, look, etc. in order to support this way of moving in the world—personally and organizationally?

    CARE Tools


Work is grounded in political education and study. Following are some resources for additional reading and reflection.

Points of Unity/Principles



Deeper Reading

  • Emergent Strategy, adrienne maree brown, AK Press, 2017
  • How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Haymarket Books, 2012
  • Unapologetic: a Black, Queer and Feminist mandate for radical movements, Charlene Carruthers, Beacon Press Books, 2018

Explore the Toolkit

Part 1: Reflect

Learn from diverse histories to build understanding, connection, empathy, and respect. Read More

Read More

Part 2: Listen

Build awareness of our own position in society, and it impacts on our realities. Read More

Read More

Part 3: Resist

Resist oppressive systems and practice self-accountability. Read More

Read More