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May 2021 - Radical Action Circle

May 2021 - Radical Action Circle

May 2021 - Radical Action Circle

By: Abby Twyman   |   May 5, 2021

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and the full moon this month is referred to as the Flower Moon (Algonquin), as well as Budding Moon and Leaf Budding Moon (Cree), the Planting Moon (Dakota, Lakota), the Egg Laying Moon and Frog Moon (Cree), and the Moon of the Shedding Ponies (Oglala). This is the time of the year that flowers bloom, plants flourish, animals reproduce, and the weather warms.

This month during Radical Action Circle, we are focusing our conversation and action planning around Anti-Racist, Anti-Sexist, and Anti-Ableist Activism. We will welcome a few honored guests on the podcast who will share their perspectives on how we can work collectively toward realizing our shared vision of a world in which everyone is provided the supports they need to live a life of their choosing.

Our Honored Guests

Akilah S. Richards of Raising Free People and the Unschooling/Self-Directed Education Movement

Brian Middleton - The Bearded Behaviorist

Gathering #1 - 5/8/2021 (New Moon 5/11) - Setting Intentions

#FuckingListen - we collectively listened to stories and perspectives and then reflected upon what we heard, shared our reflections, questions, and committed actions, and set our intentions for this cycle.

Reflections and Questions from Our Crew

The meeting with the Values to Action team with Anthony Biglan and Andrew Bonner went great.  We have 16 people who are on the starter list who want to help, which is very reinforcing.  Many people responded with enthusiasm, and people even proactively reached out.  

Continuing to put together the virtual luncheon for the Chamber of Commerce, and that conversation will be focused on the education system on Prince of Wales Island.  I’ve been able to put out invitations, communications, phone calls, and daily actions that take a lot of effort.  The physical action isn’t difficult, but for me, there’s a lot of buildup in terms of anxiety related to invitations and phone conversations.  Other people also have those barriers, but canvassing and phone calls are critical to social justice movements, so we’ll need to help people develop those skills.  

We’re doing a study on the Morningside Model of Generative Instruction.  The Morningside School published a book recently.  Today we discussed assessment and response to intervention.  For the literacy project, I’m pushing the point that most schools don’t have a robust response-to-intervention system even though it’s legally mandated.  My curiosity question is why?  Why wouldn’t we want to have a robust system to identify students who need help and target that help?  I’m not sure what the barriers are.  

Working on developing persuasive statements, using presentation mindset.  Not sure what other mindsets go into persuasion.  Looking at data, test scores, demographics, to pull out the data that people might connect with.  What type of information would be convincing to people?  

Attended a webinar put on by the Native Movement in relation to the THRIVE Act, which has potentially a significant amount of funding available.  They were trying to organize and spread information about regenerative education, just economy, workers’ protection.  Protection for people to organize and unionize.  I brought up the education system, community organization, and development.  Joelle Hall mentioned that going to the school board and getting involved (e.g. the Alaska Black Caucus for Education) is a good approach.  What are those organizations that we can work with?  

Participated with Alaska Rural Community Action Program in a House-level hearing: resolution to start a task force on poverty and opportunity.  How might that fit into this whole puzzle?  There are things being done at many levels, but I’m curious how to bring it all together.  How can I help be the connector and help people connect dots, and facilitate those connections?  

Also Alaska Humanities Forum. 

The education department had a meeting on ARPA and talking with stakeholders about how people can spend that money.  Teacher survey indicates internet access, especially in rural areas, counseling and mental health support, and academic remediation programs.  There seems to be much consensus about the problems, but not the solutions.  

Last night: went to a Women’s Empowerment Conference for networking.  This morning: AK Chamber of Commerce reached out to our Chamber of Commerce: they have $45k grant funds to close the gap between current vaccinations and target 80% vaccinations.  How do we use these grants and what will be meaningful?  This group is motivated to organize around vaccination.  

Practicing organization skills.  What are people motivated to organize around?  

What are people’s strengths, weaknesses, desires, fears, and contributions?  Motivations, tradeoffs, and constructive virtues, mindsets, and attributes.  Motivations are why people care.  

Empower people by starting to learn what they want.  That influences what sort of power we offer them, and how.  

I can’t predict what people want; I can only observe and learn from it.  

It’s interesting learning about what people want and what their perceived level of power is to effect change.  Having trouble figuring out what people want is a common issue people have.  They even have trouble figuring out what they themselves want.  Systems of oppression may affect this.  If you’ve been conditioned to want what others tell you to want, you might suppress your own desires and strengths because of the perceptions of others.  Let’s say someone is strong at a certain video game?  Public perception is that they should be doing something else.  However, playing video games and programming them is a legitimate job these days.  

We don’t always slow down enough to have those conversations about what people want, their resources and powers, why they care about things, and what can be done.  We’re focused on solving immediate problems and overlook the slower, ground-up approach of asking those questions you propose and getting input from people.  How do we tap into those motivations?  How do we get an understanding of their motivations and utilize that understanding…  I don’t want to use that understanding in a coercive way, but I want to figure out how those motivations are linked to the solutions and larger, more impactful, and sustained movements.  More thoughtful, mindful allocation of resources and power, not power for power’s sake.  There are limited resources and we have to be mindful of how those resources are allocated.  

 I start with diagnosis and deconstruction to identify what people want, then use narrative and inspiration to illustrate possibilities relevant to their interests.  Then they can find the sorts of things they want the most, and we can explore their mindsets and attributes to find strengths they can work with and weaknesses holding them back, and contributions they may want to share with others.  

We can help people understand their own motivations, find the range of goals they want, and identify actions they can take to fulfill them.  

For example, let’s explore the COVID vaccination team with $45k that must be spent within the next 1.5 months.  

Chamber of Commerce, Dept of Public Health, $45k for a project to meet the goal to get 80% of people over the age of 12 vaccinated.  Currently vaccines are only eligible for people over age of 16, and 50% are vaccinated.  There’s an understanding of the resistance to vaccination.  A person from the clinic observed 100 people on her list have signed up and called to make the appointment, and they’re still interested but not ready.  How do we get them to ready?  What are their fears and motivations?  


  • Government money
  • Public time


  • Preventing public illness
  • Preventing one’s own illness



  • From COVID: risk of fatality
  • From vaccine symptoms
    • Associated problems exacerbated by symptoms
  • From economic problems (due to getting sick)
  • From economic problems (due to slow economy)


People might not feel confident of taking time out of their lives to get vaccinated and feel ill for a few days.  They don’t see an immediate threat or immediate reward.  Low initiative.  

Do we have a vision of what’s going to happen once we hit 80%?  We go back to the office?  How about a festival?  A better economic infrastructure?  Can we offer a vision of better than normal?  

Can we create a locally-sourced care package, for comfort, to give to people who get the vaccine?  People may be worried about long-term effects of the vaccine, but what about the long-term effects of COVID?  Personal stories from people who are forced to wait for COVID to stop?  Long-haulers?  Then the reward?  A raffle for a shopping spree at a local business.  Long-term reward is nobody has to wear a mask?  Hug-your-neighbor drive?  There’s a group of people trying to coordinate an art-and-seafood festival, but there’s another group for a Renaissance festival.  There’s a fun deficit, so we need to tie in the human connection.  I like the “better than normal” angle.  

There may be an ethics angle with people who are affected by isolation, as a stick, but that might not be very effective.  As the carrot, we can offer an escape from stagnation.  Types of fun that people haven’t been able to have in a while.

Gathering #2 - 5/15/2021 (First Quarter Moon 5/19) - Exploring Possibilities

#BeRadical - we collectively considered actions we could take at the Me, We, and Us systems levels, shared our perspectives while exploring possibilities for this cycle, and reframed our intentions.

Reflections and Questions from Our Crew

  • Regarding Pride Month for June, how do we tie in the Rekers & Lovaas Retraction Movement and build more momentum?
  • Could we earn back trust by helping people create economic justice? 
  • Can we do great things based on skill and feedback rather than just big pushes without looking at the effects?
  • Could we share our stories of lived experiences of oppression, abuse, and neglect, in the service of creating a network of powerful change agents?
  • If we have a shared vision and we’re always oriented towards the big picture, could we figure out how to have more effective feedback loops?
  • How do you get information from communities about what they need?  
  • How do you know the industries and the jobs and training people need?
  • What does learning entail?  What are the skills that we need to learn, so we can become more independent and autonomous learners?
  • What aspects of reality do we care about and have to pay attention to in order to build and calibrate skills to accomplish what we care about?

Register to join the conversation! The same registration is used for every Saturday - we welcome everyone at any time - come once - come often - share your wisdom - generate behavioral momentum within yourself and others!

Gathering #3 - 5/22/2021 (Full Moon 5/26) - Making Decisions

#BeRadical - we collectively made decisions about actions to take at the Me, We, and Us systems levels, shared our perspectives regarding the next right actions for ourselves, our families, and our communities, and released our intentions.

Reflections and Questions from Our Crew

Gathering #4 - 5/29/2021 (Third Quarter Moon 6/3) - Taking Action

#TakeAction - we will share with the circle the committed actions we are taking or plan to take and accept feedback from the collective wisdom generated within the circle, contribute to the Radical Action Plan, surrender our intentions to the universe, commit to continued engagement in Anti-Oppressive Action, and express gratitude.

Register to join the conversation! The same registration is used for every Saturday - we welcome everyone at any time - come once - come often - share your wisdom - generate behavioral momentum within yourself and others!

Review our outcomes from the April Radical Action Circle cycle.

Check out our TWO Radical Action Circle cycles planned for June 2021: POW Literacy Action Circle and #RetractHate Action Circle.

Give a Gift of Generative Gratitude!

Image by beate bachmann from Pixabay

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