AMP: Grassroots²

Viviana Rennella with Windcall Institute

What do you do? Executive Director of Windcall Institute. I am focused on exploring what it means to build a resilient social justice movement. I am concerned about the well-being of organizers and how we internalize the trauma and oppression we work against, and how it impacts our personal lives in the process of doing the work. Windcall has traditionally provided month-long sabbaticals for organizers and we are now expanding our programming with “Staying Power,” which are trainings for organizers and organizations in resiliency practices. Outside of Windcall, I explore practices in resiliency as a personal coach and consultant.

What is your why? Why do you do what you do? In my own personal experience – as an immigrant, refugee, and woman of color in the US – as well as in doing organizing work on the ground here and abroad, I experienced burnout myself. In my international work, I was brought in touch with various movements around the world especially in South America where I am originally from. Listening to indigenous movements I learned the importance of buen vivir – the imperative for all of us to live well and come into right relationships with mother earth, with ourselves, and with each other – our humanity.

What moment motivated you to become an organizer/fighter of justice? There wasn’t one defining moment, it was a series of ever deepening moments. I heard from indigenous communities that the time is now to radically shift how we live in the world. We are having to articulate a new meaning of sabbatical. For me, that is about cultivating spaciousness and showing people that it’s not taking a vacation but a deep practice. If we’re really fighting capitalism, oppression and imperialism, we actually have to live it. In the current system, it’s all about what we produce – as organizers, we completely buy into that. So cultivating resiliency and spaciousness are deep anti-capitalist practices.

How has your work been different over the past year? Organizers are thirsty for cultivating resiliency and spaciousness right now. We had a resident go through Windcall last fall, an ED of a reproductive justice organization for women of color, who is now contemplating moving to New Mexico. She recognized how much healing she needed. The process of becoming a very effective ED nearly broke her. How can we achieve success without destroying ourselves in the process? It’s not just about the individual transforming, Windcall is about building relationships. We have 9 elements or practices that we consider in our approach to build resiliency, including relationships and peer support.

The ask: We ask folks to support organizers’ resilience with a donation today. Donor contributions fundamentally uphold Windcall; $35/month gain cohorts access to transformative classes and practices, $50 covers orientation sessions and materials and $100 provides a coaching session for Residents to implement their Windcall vision.