April 14, 2020
A Call for Radical Transformation
The following is a letter from Executive Director Panthea Lee, shared with the Reboot community this month in response to the COVID-19 crisis around the world. It has been edited and adapted for this blog.
You don’t need me to tell you that these are extraordinary times. In fact, extraordinary feels like a wholly inadequate word for this moment; “extra-ordinary” is a vast understatement.
The COVID-19 crisis has laid bare the deep injustices and failures of our dominant ideologies, systems, and institutions. These failures have driven many of us to feelings of rage, despair, anxiety, overwhelm, and guilt.
In recent conversations with Reboot’s allies near and far, many of us are asking ourselves: What could we have done differently? What is our role now? How do we build a more just and resilient future? And I’ve noticed that most of us aren’t satisfied working solely on immediate response and recovery. We want moral and structural transformation at scale.
For this, we need to marry the radical imaginations of our poets and artists, the principled courage of our bravest activists, the innovation and generosity of our community organizers, the agenda-setting influence of our media and civil society, the infrastructure and tools of our digital age, and the reach and durability of our public institutions.
Our team has found immense hope as we work alongside our community toward this future we know is possible. We’ve benefited deeply from your insights. So today I write to share back some offerings to support your thinking and work—and to extend an invitation.
Thank you for all that you do.
Panthea and the Reboot team
Resources & Reflections
How we can rise to do the work this crisis demands of us.
- A New Masterclass on Cross-Sector Collaboration: We’re offering a free three-part series with practical guidance on how to drive transformative cross-sector collaborations, drawing on Reboot’s decade of global experience. Runs Wednesdays April 22 – May 6.
- Reflections on Our Collective Work Ahead: This crisis has pushed me hard into organizer, ethnographer, and designer mode. What I’ve learned has convinced me that we urgently need radical collaborations to respond to COVID-19—institutional reservations be damned.
- Tips for Running Virtual Co-Creation Processes: As we take our work online, master designer Corey Chao shares the benefits of taking co-creation out of physical space and into virtual gatherings. As great as the “hallway track” is, you can make so much more progress without it.
Nourishment & Provocations
Nuggets of wisdom and inspiration that have informed our thinking.
- “Movement Building in the Time of Coronavirus” from Rising Majority: A teach-in with Angela Davis, Naomi Klein, and US progressive movement leaders that is honestly hard to summarize, but absolutely worth one hour of your time.
- “The Pandemic is a Portal”, by Arundhati Roy: “We can choose to walk through it dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred…Or we can walk through lightly, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”
- “Not Fit for this Future”, by Aarathi Krishnan: The humanitarian futurist on why international agencies must challenge assumptions about their own accountability if they are to fulfill their stated mandates, both now and after the pandemic.
It’s undeniable: We need to reimagine a radically better future. To do this, we need a space for courageous co-creation between unlikely allies. Many of you agree, and we’re ready to build this new space together.