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Better Practices
9 - Make direct amends to those I/we had harmed wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others, and give material aid in removing when possible or, if not, overcoming structural impediments wherever identified.9 - Seek to improve or eliminate hostile or harmful dynamics wherever possible, except when to do so would somehow injure those involved, others, or myself/ourselves as well as seek tosolicit aid to remove whenever possible or, if not, overcome structural impediments wherever encountered.
“Make direct amends” - set to right, with the persons directly involved, even at one's own expense or embarrassment.

“Whenever possible” - much of what we have behaved ourselves into is more complex than we initially want to admit; sometimes our attempts to good can cost others in ways we did not anticipate; sometimes our efforts will require stop-gap remediation followed by long-term reconstruction; that is why this work must be entered into in discernment collaboration with those most effected by the inequities being corrected.
9 - Builders of beloved community learn that talking, thinking, and feeling better toward others is no substitute for doing better.

The forgiveness that so many who have harmed others seek is a process, not simply a gift, that requires both formerly oppressed and former oppressor to choose to join one another in creating new possibilities. However, builders of beloved community must understand that forgiveness cannot be coerced through our expectations (spiritual or otherwise) that those wronged always respond graciously.

10 - Continue to take personal inventory, and when I am/we are wrong or complacent, promptly admit it and make amends.10 - Builders of beloved community learn that going through these 12 Steps is a process that both takes time and is recursive, not linear, as in it spirals upward, in essence doubling back on itself, retracing ground previously covered, albeit from a higher vantage point. Although members have already made an inventory, slipping up or recognizing previously unrecognized blind spots is normal. Growth often follows the familiar diagram from unconscious incompetence, to conscious incompetence, to unconscious competence, to conscious competence. And even then, there is more work to do.
11 - Promote and participate in communal reparations, defense, solidarity, and construction efforts on behalf of those historically disadvantaged by structures and systems that advantage others.
Reparations efforts - involve attempts to return to exploited persons assets they or their ancestors have generated or materially contributed to the generation of; historically this has taken many forms, including cash pay outs, land redistribution, joint ownership, equity stake, dividend/royalty payments, establishment of trusts, agreements for future business or support, and often various forms at the same time.

Defense efforts - involve protecting the space for historically marginalized persons to dream their way forward.

Solidarity efforts - involve standing with, listening to, responding supportively to the self-determinations of those most directly impacted.

Construction efforts - involve the building of intra-communal economic infrastructure and political power that is not dependent on the goodwill of others.

11 - Builders of beloved community learn the importance of moving recovery from the plane of the personal, interpersonal and communal to the plane of the structural, institutional and systemic.

Again, it is important to note that traditional 12-step programs are rooted in the principle of anonymity. This has proven itself over many years to be key to personal addiction recovery. However, one of the structural ways in which supremacist logic has historically preserved its power is through anonymity, plausible deniability, and distance between actors and the impact of their actions. This violation of a core principle of the 12-step tradition is yet another way in which this is only a metaphorical model, not a clinical one.

This model depends upon the commitment, "This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine."

12 - Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, I/we strive to carry this message to those entangled in webs of supremacist logic and to practice the principles of beloved community in all my/our affairs.
12 - Builders of beloved community learn that the journey continues, even after completing the steps. The steps are only a precursor, a readiness drill, for the world changing yet to be done. Builders are thus encouraged to support other builders with what they’ve learned.

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there are plenty of movement organizations doing campaign work that invites participants into better communal practices. in fact, they are often many of the same ones doing some of the best critical analysis work as well:

faith matters – a place to plug in for various forms of faith-rooted justice

southerners on new ground – a place to plug in for queer justice issues

sister song – a place to plug in for reproductive justice

mijente – a place to plug in for immigrant justice

PICO – a place to plug in for interfaith justice work around a variety of issues


“consciousness rider” – a rider that can be adapted by any speaker to be added to their contracts in order to set expectations for how event organizers must participate in the justice they claim

Brown Is the New White – a easy to understand analysis of the politics of the changing racial and progressive demographics in America and how to tap into this New American Majority.

other resources:

ferguson syllabus

baltimore syllabus

charleston syllabus

lemonade syllabus

charlottesville syllabus

syllabus for white people to educate themselves