The Complexities of Resilience

We recently held a teamwide discussion of the concept of resilience, and asked Promise54 team members to share their reflections on how and where they learned about resilience and how they’re considering it today. When we entered into the conversation, we were expecting – and found! – inspiring stories of perseverance, courage, strength, power, and survival. But, notably, the notion of resilience can also be oppressive - a source of pain and suffering. We found ourselves in a rich discussion of the nuances, complexities, and trade-offs that can accompany resilience, as well as the ways in which the concept has been weaponized, and how our own beliefs about resilience have changed over time.

We’re eager to share the raw reflections of a subset of our team members, in hopes that readers find inspiration or meaning in them. But, before we fully dive in, we’d like to take a minute to make our intent clear: our aim is to reclaim the concept of resilience by embracing the consideration of all its nuances.

Ring the Alarm: When the “Burden Alert” Sounds, Think Informed Consent

In this moment many organizations are scrambling to articulate commitments to DEI, anti-racism, and racial justice and to do the hard work of living and leading in alignment with those commitments. As leaders work to figure out how to do all of that, there is often a tendency to turn to Black and Brown folks (or folks with other historically marginalized identities) to ask for input, help, guidance, and leadership. When that tendency kicks in, the “burden alert” should sound! 

50 Actions Your Org Can Take After Posting About BLM

This list is intended to serve as a starting point for leaders contemplating where to go from here and for staff members who are advocating and case-making within their own organizations. It also serves as a reminder that words and written statements, shared internally or publicly, must be accompanied by substantive action and change.

We share this to help broaden the conversation as organizations think through what action to take. It is best used as a menu - pursuing the strategies that make sense for your people and context - rather than as a checklist to complete.