Yesterday marked the 59th anniversary of the start of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to surrender her seat to a white passenger. Rosa Parks sitting on that bus looking out the window is one of the iconic images from the Civil Rights Movement. But in our popular imagination, we sometimes have a distorted view of what that moment actually was—why she did it, what she was thinking, what kind of person she was. Rosa Parks later wrote in her autobiography,
People always say that I didn't give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn't true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.
–Rosa Parks, in "Rosa Parks: My Story"
Her act of resistance was a tactic that she and other emerging leaders in the local NAACP had already planned and prepared for, as part of their larger strategy to force an end to racial segregation.
Leadership is learned and acquired. A decade before her arrest, Rosa Parks was a youth member of the NAACP, where she served as secretary for her local chapter. In the 1940s, she worked to organize a campaign demanding justice for Recy Taylor, a black woman in Abbeville Alabama who had been gang-raped by six white men. She also helped to organize actions in response to the brutal murder of Emmett Till in 1955. And four months before her arrest, she trained with other grassroots leaders on non-violent civil disobedience tactics at Highlander Folk School in Tennessee.
Half a century after Rosa Parks, our country continues to need leaders in the fight for social justice. Here at EPIP, our vision is to provide a platform for those leaders. EPIP is a space where people in the philanthropic and social change sectors can connect, learn, and practice some of the skills and values necessary to be effective leaders in building a more just, equitable, and sustainable society.
Last month, we announced a seventh-month applied learning campaign to help highlight these skills and values, as described in EPIP’s Measuring a Leader. In December, we are highlighting the Leadership and Management skill set, which includes:
- Directing individuals or groups to accomplish desired results
- Delegating appropriately, allocating resources as needed
- Emulating exemplary individual behavior and ethics
- Coaching others when appropriate
We’re also highlighting some of the ways that members are demonstrating these skills, such as:
- Highlighting management experiences from their current job
- Seeking opportunities to lead teams in volunteer settings
- Mentoring work colleagues or community members, such as students
Through the MC MaL campaign, we want to offer a more intentional way for our members to share best practices and tools that come out of this work, while also connecting them to resources from the broader social change community. Here’s how you can participate in December:
- Try out our sample discussion and peer coaching guides that you can use to share and exchange ideas, resources, and best practices around Leadership and Management. Organize a brown bag lunch and try them out in your local chapter! Give us your feedback on how we can improve for the following months. Our plan is to develop guides for each of the seven skill sets.
- Follow us on Twitter @EPIPNational and retweet our posts. Use#EPIPLeaders to follow and join in the Measuring a Leader conversation.
Tweet about it! Use #EPIPLeaders to share your own thoughts, ideas, or skills-related resources! Examples:
- Member Christen Lee recently tweeted: “Reading Quiet by Susan Cain, about introverted leadership. Wonder how many EPIP members are introverted? @EPIPNational #EPIPLeaders”
- Board Member Jasmine Hall Ratliff tweeted: “Do you have what it takes to be a leader? Find out: http://www.epip.org/programs … #EPIPLeaders @EPIPNational”
- Write a blog post. For example, how are you developing your Influencing and Fundraising skills? Are you participating in Giving Tuesday? Share what you’re learning through our blog! [EPIP Blogging Guidelines]
- Is your local chapter recruiting for new steering committee members? If so,apply to serve on a steering committee! Steering committees provide additional opportunities to develop Measuring a Leader skills.
- Check out some of the Leadership and Management tools and resources developed by EPIP members and friends. Do you have a favorite resource, tool, article, book about Influencing or Fundraising? Share them in the comments section!
- Like us on Facebook
- Join our LinkedIn group
- Are you on a local chapter steering committee? If you and/or your local chapter might want to co-design or co-lead in this campaign, fill out our survey here and we’ll get in touch!
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