Dear Network Fam,
I’m writing you with a very important update and exciting news to share.
The Ruckus Society is changing gears!
For over a decade now, we’ve been on this journey together, planting seeds and cultivating the right relationships in frontline communities most affected by racial and climate injustices. Together, we have been integral to the development of various networks and communities specializing in action visioning and skill-building. We’ve thrown down pretty hard on countless actions: training, advising, planning, blocking, climbing, building, chanting and even sitting in jail together. It has been an amazing 25 years that would not have been possible without the contributions and passions of you, our amazing community.
Ruckus first changed gears 19 years ago, by deepening our commitment to the frontlines of our fights and lifting up their leadership. Since then, it has been women of color, Indigenous women, and Black women who have largely answered that call and we’ve been blessed to have this amazing leadership build and shape Ruckus. Today, we are changing gears once again by leaning into the revolutionary work and leadership of Black women – in service of Black leadership and for ALL of our liberation.
As of May 1st, Ruckus officially shifted gears—keeping our essentials: our knowledge, our stories, our relationships, our skills—but replanting ourselves as a project of The BlackOUT Collective. Ruckus staff hung up our training gloves on April 15th and with a kiss goodbye (and a stiff drink) Van, Eva and I are no longer employees of the Ruckus Society. There were many many conversations which led us to our decision and we are fortunate to pass on this evolution to our comrades at BlackOUT.
Some of you may know our history with BlackOUT, which started in 2014 after a trip to Ferguson. This trip to Ferguson inspired what is now BlackOUT to do what many people who have trained with Ruckus have done: focus training and action skill-building directly on their community. Ruckus has learned and shared that lesson a lot over the years—that our trainers and leaders need to reflect the lives and identities of the communities we serve.
So, what does this mean for Ruckus?
The Ruckus Society continues to exist in smaller form, as a project of BlackOUT. We are still accepting training and action requests and the ACT scholarship continues to be our offering for 2019 (tell your folks to apply!). In June, Eva will rejoin Ruckus as a staff member of BlackOUT to support the continuity of Ruckus’s work in our new form. Our faithful Ruckus Board members have turned their leadership over to other members of our family in order to steward the transition. I’ve committed to shepherding this transition as Interim Board President, in collaboration with Celeste Faison and Chinyere Tutashinda, Co-Executive Directors of BlackOUT.
As for me, I’m harnessing this opportunity to give myself a serious break. I’ve been training, engaging, agitating, learning, growing, fighting for 24 years now. I need a sabbatical!!! And I’m gonna take it!! As you read this, I’ll be dipping my feet into the ocean far away from wifi and my computer. We can talk more about what’s next for me when I’m back…and you can best bet I’ll be calling on my community to support me in this break!
In 1999, I met a bunch of folks who were on some serious shake the system shit. I had no idea at the time that these folks had started something that would grow to be one of the most important parts of my life. 11 years ago, I uprooted my life in LA to come work for Ruckus. I have worked alongside you- some of the most principled, humbled, fierce, intelligent and powerful I have ever known, and I can’t express enough my gratitude for how this work has shaped me.
Love you Ruckus fam.