The Ultimate Pivot - Together We Will
By: Abby Twyman | June 23, 2020
Over the past 4 months, our world has been rocked to its core, and the wave of justice warriors rising to the surface has been inspiring to many, including myself. This is my call to action to all the Beautiful Humans out there who are ready to stand up, speak up, and take action to create a more peaceful world for themselves, their families, and their communities.
Even though we have the data to show the system is broken; our actions to date have not been effective in improving things. As an example of the chronic issues our world is facing, I want to share some data from Alaska. In 2019, the Alaskan Score Card showed that 5.9% of adults reported contemplating suicide, 23.5% of adults engaged in heavy or binge drinking, 18.1% of those over the age of 12 used illicit drugs, 36.1% of teens reported being depressed, 12.6% of the population did not have health insurance, 44.1% of those incarcerated had a mental illness or disability, 43.5% of arrests involved drugs or alcohol, 6% of children had a serious emotional disturbance and 20.5% of adults had a diagnosed mental illness. Over the past 10 years, these data have been reported in this form, there has been NO SOCIALLY SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT!!
Our communities are likely not much different from many across the world. Our people are suffering and it’s time we take a serious look at the root causes and come together to develop a plan to effectively and efficiently address those issues. We need to start by openly telling our stories and reflectively listening to the stories of others. There is so much wisdom to be shared among us. The data we can glean from our stories will help inform the plan. The shared plan we create will be the impetus for action. The actions we take will be in the service of justice. And once the world has been transformed through radical justice, we WILL experience true world peace.
When we launched AFAPW late in 2019, the idea was to provide courses that would help behavioral scientists overcome the challenges associated with burnout. The original intention was for the lessons to be highly interactive rather than just me talking at people, but I found myself falling back into old habits. Given the personal work I’ve done to learn how to be more present in my life, notice when ineffective patterns of behavior are re-emerging, realign with my values, and pivot toward what matters, it quickly became clear that I needed to do something different but I didn’t know what.
When COVID-19 hit in March, a sense of disorganization and overwhelm crept into my life and I could feel myself starting to veer off track, so I decided to take a pause in order to get re-centered and re-focused. The deep concern I felt for myself, my family, my students, and my community related to the long-term impacts of the global pandemic I was predicting left me feeling uncertain about the next right action so I pumped the brakes.
Then George Floyd was murdered on May 25th in yet another example of systemic racism for which our Black and Brown brothers and sisters have continued to pay the price for over 500 years. This event, followed by the long-overdue uprising of Anti-Racist activism, caused me to slam on the brakes and come to a full stop. If there were ever a time history in which to take action to create more peace in the world, this was it. However, I couldn’t see the path forward… so I stopped. But rather than falling into old behavior patterns that have vexed me in the past, such as shutting down and crying, I started to push in.
Over the next couple of weeks, I joined groups, listened actively, and began considering the next right actions. It became clear to me that the courses and lessons as they were originally designed no longer fit the current context. However, our mission remains the same, so we decided it’s time for a change. The pivot we’re taking will move us from courses and lessons that were well received but promoted more passive engagement, to an open space in which we can actively engage with others from around the world who share our vision, mission, and values. The only way for us to effect meaningful and sustainable change is to come together and develop a plan based on our shared values through Collective Action.
Together We Will Take Action - Together We Will Create Peace