THE VISTA: June 2024

During the month of June, we celebrated Pride and also observed Juneteenth. Hear directly about the history from the “Grandmother of Juneteenth” Opal Lee, one of the activists who advocated for this federal holiday. You can read about the need to not “water down” Juneteenth described as “less [of] a celebration and more a wake-up call for the necessity of organizing to prevent the erosion of rights, liberty, and fairness.” We would recommend Harvard’s Kennedy School new study on Normalizing Reparations: U.S. Precedent, Norms and Models for Compensating Harms and Implications for Reparations to Black Americans; and you can learn about the specific experiences of the New Jersey Reparations Council as they observed Juneteenth by reflecting on the past year. This month Ms. magazine extolled readers, “Let’s All See Ourselves in Black Women,” and affirms that “it is by centering Black women that we get to meet the needs of all.”

Horizons continues to prioritize making connections between academics and practitioners and would highlight two recent articles that identify important researchers and include summaries of their work: Political Scientists Want to Know Why We Hate One Another This Much; and, The Behavioral Scientists Working Toward a More Peaceful World. You also may be interested in recent insights on how AI could change democracy.

Please check out two recent articles from Chief Organizer, Maria Stephan on making political violence backfire and the important role of faith leaders in standing up to the authoritarian playbook. And finally, you don’t want to miss this recent episode of the Laura Flanders Show that features Maria together with our colleagues at 22nd Century Initiative and Vision Change Win, discussing political violence and ways communities can come together to organize against it.

Happy summer to those in the northern hemisphere, and enjoy these additional resources we’ve been reading, watching, and listening to this past month:


A System Within: Addressing the Inner Dimensions of Sustainability and Systems Transformation
The Club of Rome

“This deep-dive paper aims to complement Earth for All by highlighting the overlooked inner dimension of system change, and supplying systems thinkers with the language to advocate for psychological, social and spiritual factors crucial to sustainable solutions. It discusses worldviews, mindsets, values and identity as root drivers of cultural behaviour, their interaction with psychological and behavioural tendencies, and the transformative inner capacities that can be cultivated to intervene at deep leverage points; and introduces existing initiatives leading the way in integrating inner and outer dimensions of system change.”

Here’s Why the News Didn’t Tell You What Protesters Really Wanted
by Douglas M. McLeod, Scientific American

A “protest paradigm” identified by news researchers four decades ago helps explain why protest coverage often fails to inform the public and limits the impact of the protests…numerous studies examining coverage of social protests—including both left-wing and right-wing protests, as well as a wide range of issue protests—have isolated common characteristics of relevant news stories, [including] focusing on protest events rather than protest issues, positioning protests as contests between protesters and the police rather than their intended targets, and privileging officialdom’s views of the protests rather than a more diverse array of informed perspectives. The paradigm also disparages protests by highlighting any rudeness, noise or legal violations by some protesters; marginalizes protesters as being different from normal citizens; [and finally] minimizes the effectiveness of the protest.”

Understanding Youth Perceptions Towards Authoritarianism
by Meryl Miner and Scott Warren

“In this mega-election year, it’s becoming increasingly evident that young people are frustrated with the form of democracy they’re experiencing. This is an active conversation in polling in a US context- but it’s a global phenomenon, and worth understanding whether this frustration turns into flirtation with authoritarianism itself. [This] report uses new polling and qualitative interviews with young people across the world, including members of Generation Democracy and Democracy Moves to explore whether youth are actually becoming more inclined to look toward autocratic leaders to provide results.”

On Relational Infrastructure
by Sam Rye, Network Weaver

“Relational infrastructure refers to the social connections, interactions, and collective intelligence that underpin a community, network or group’s ability to collaborate, solve problems, and drive change. It is an emergent framework of trust, shared values, and common goals that allows individuals, groups, and organizations to work together effectively, pool their resources, and amplify their impact. A strong relational infrastructure can enable organisations and communities to overcome challenges, build resilience, and create sustainable social, economic, and environmental value and outcomes.”


Rev. James Lawson: Gandhi & Nonviolence
International Center for Nonviolent Conflict

This month, we lost a giant in the field of nonviolence and one of the architects of the U.S. civil rights movement. To honor the Rev. James Lawson, we recommend watching these short remarks he delivered in 2009: “I’ve come to the conclusion… that life itself is powerful and that the gift of life is a gift of power. And the big issue is, do we help shape our children, our babies, to use that power destructively or to use that life power that they have from day one in ways that enlarges them, that gives them a sense of freedom, enables them to make good choices…. Philosophically, I like to say that nonviolence is the power of creation that is planted in us human beings uniquely.”

Hospicing Modernity & Rehabilitating Humanity
The Great Simplification with Nate Hagens

“In this episode, Vanessa Andreotti discusses what she calls “hospicing modernity…” Whether you refer to it as the metacrisis or the polycrisis, Vanessa brings a unique framing rooted in indigenous knowledge and relationality to aid in understanding, grieving, and building emotional resilience. What does it mean to live and work within systems that are designed to fail? How do we as individuals steady ourselves and create inner strength before engaging with such harrowing work?” Vanessa is the author of Hospicing Modernity: Facing humanity’s wrongs and the implications for social activism and one of the founders of the Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures Arts/Research Collective.

Does Deliberative Democracy Stand a Chance in Neoliberal Times?
University of Canberra, Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance

This recording is part 4 of a 10-part conversation series on 10 Big Questions on Deliberative Democracy. Professor John Dryzek, author of ‘Democracy in Capitalist Times: Ideals, Limits, and Struggles’ discusses whether deliberative democracy stands a chance in neoliberal times, and Professor Oliver Escobar argues that it does not stand a chance unless we think critically about the type of deliberative democracies we develop and how we approach current levers of power.

Cultivating Hope – Supporting Changemaker Wellbeing
The Wellbeing Project

This series of conversations is hosted by Rohini Nilekani with leading philanthropists, starting with this short teaser with Melinda French Gates. The series will be exploring the pressing funding gap for changemakers’ access to wellbeing resources and how it is holding back progress both now and for future generations. Check out the curated list of resources the Wellbeing Project has developed and what “you can do for you and for the people you care about.”


What it Takes to Heal
Becoming the People podcast

“In Becoming the People’s inaugural episode, Prentis Hemphill, co-founder of the Embodiment Institute is joined by their dear friend adrienne maree brown. adrienne interviews Prentis about their book, ‘What it Takes to Heal: How Transforming Ourselves Can Change the World.’ These two friends discuss Prentis’ journey of writing this book, the role that transformational characters play in change work, and why we should prioritize healing in this painful moment of history.”

Disruptive Movements with Frances Fox Pivens
Practical Radicals podcast

You can listen to all eleven episodes of this podcast series that accompanies the book, Practical Radicals: Seven Strategies to Change the World. Horizons would highlight this episode, that explores the strategy of disruption with one of its leading theorists and practitioners, the scholar and activist Frances Fox Piven. The conversation starts by distinguishing protest from disruption, two types of action that are often confused. They consider famous instances of disruption, like the mass actions on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation that blocked the Dakota Access Pipeline, and lesser-known ones, like the 1975 “Women’s Day Off” that helped win equal rights for women in Iceland. The conversation covers the potential for using disruptive power today, the ways that too much organization can stifle movements, and the essential role of exuberance in movement politics.

Building Solidarity in an Era of Silos
Solidarity Is This podcast

“Fractures are widening. In an age of increasing polarization and division, how can we build bridges across lines of difference and strengthen solidarity? What strategies do we need to sustain connections across the growing chasms of ideology, experience, power, and privilege?” This special episode is a lightly edited recording of the State of Solidarity in April 2024 featuring Adaku Utah in conversation with Darakshan Raja, Muslims for Just Futures; Woods Ervin, Critical Resistance; Xochitl Bervera, Near Futures Farms; Rachael Lorenzo, Indigenous Women Rising; and Yvonne Yen Liu, Solidarity Research Center.


What Gives You Hope Right Now?
The State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance

Ever since the Interfaith Alliance President & CEO, Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, started hosting The State of Belief, he’s made a point of asking virtually every one of his guests this one question: “What gives you hope right now?” Here’s what gives Dr. Anthea Butler, Sharon Salzberg, Rep. Jamie Raskin, Race Forward‘s Eric Ward, Rev. Dr. Derrick Harkins, Rob Reiner, Sushma Dwivedi, Tim Alberta, Rabbi Sharon Brous, Rainn Wilson, and Dr. Eddie Glaude, Jr. hope.