An empowerment lens

"Why are discussions about poverty so often held in luxurious surroundings?" That's the opening line of this amazing article from OpenDemocracy.net ... just one more piece of evidence that there is a global rethinking of our financial system currently taking place.

from giumaiolini on flickr

“If money is power, then control over money has to be democratized [...] Transforming our relationship to money is both a political and a deeply personal challenge.”

The relationship between money and power fundamentally needs to change if we want to address the climate crisis and inequality. Those in luxurious surroundings, however well-intentioned they might be, do not know how to address the needs of the poor as well as the poor do themselves. That's one reason why Groundswell takes a human-centered design approach to our work in community. We know that if our work doesn't empower people - our participants, our neighbours in the Downtown East Side, the workers at our democratic enterprises - we won't be creating the transformation we are seeking.

What does empowerment mean? That word can so quickly become a cliché. True empowerment requires recognizing and releasing our power-over others, building power-with them, and building power-within ourselves so we can act from a place of strength and resilience. Though our current economic system encourages us to feel an overwhelming sense of our own acute need, we can recognize that in community we have the choice to act differently - not from that needy place, but from a generous and humble place. When we embed these values in our financial system, that's when we'll really see a new economic logic take hold. Join us in making it happen.