OVERVIEW 

MRNY_LEOFor over 50 years, social justice work has sought to galvanize peoples primarily through identifying self-interest. The integration of somatics into a social justice framework gives us new tools to look deeper and understand more holistically how and why individuals and collectives are primed to take some actions and unlikely to take others. By broadening our understanding and analysis of our communities with a somatics lens, we become more capable of moving our communities from a collective center rather than a time-limited self-interest basis. On a myopic level, somatics allow us to see our patterns on a deeper level that can directly inform our organizational and movement strategies. On a broad level, somatics beckons us to put forth humanity and the development of our collective humanity at the forefront of social justice work.

UP’s principle, Rusia Mohiuddin, pioneered the integration of somatics into an organizing framework. With 8 years of
frontline organizing, four years of leading community organizing organizations, + ten years of training beginner to experienced organizers, Rusia has taken her vast community organizing + leadership development mastery to develop a new holistic model of organizing for the 21st century called Embodied Organizing.
Embodied Organizing is a comprehensive model for community organizers, both new + experienced, that seeks to imparts skills, with a somatic lens, to develop effective organizers while uniquely cultivating leadership that creates necessary balance + self-care so organizers feel + are able to do movement work for the long haul.
In early Spring 2015, UP worked with Make the Road NY to bring the first cohort of Leaders of Embodied Organizing Intensive (LEO), an 11-week organizing training based wholly on UP’s Embodied Organizing model.

The LEO Intensive, takes on a two-pronged approach in developing skilled organizers:

Graduating Class of 2015

  1. Theoretical learning of a broad set of organizing methodologies and skills; and
  2. Deepening theoretical learning through application and practice to add a layer of experiential learning to deepen and enhance overall organizing knowledge.

An overarching goal for the program includes the integration of practical skills that support organizers to create more balance and self-care into their work to ensure individuals are capable of doing social justice work for the long haul. Broadly, the integration of somatics into the framework of organizing will address this need as well as including contemplative learning and practices in each session of the intensive. The design and development of the program is geared to take the rich lessons from community organizing over the last 50 years and reimagine a program that deeply integrates somatics and contemplative practices into every facet of organizing work.

LEARN MORE ABOUT LEO

OVERARCHING GOALS

While the needs of each organization is different and UP shapes the work to meet these needs, there is often a common grounding all our work builds on. For the LEO Intensive, the following goals are the grounding upon which all subsequent customized work is developed from:

  • New to seasoned organizers develop key skills necessary to perform grounded, balanced organizing work with greater efficiency and impact;
  • Organizers simultaneously learn contemplative skills and develop practices that support and guide their work towards balance and mature leadership; and
  • In combining theory with practice coupled with greater impact through self-care and balance, organizers develop healthy practices that allow for effective work over the long haul.

INTENSIVE'S STRUCTURE

While the structure + the flow of the intensive can be adjusted to fit the needs of any organization, the following is the standard + ideal structure for a LEO Intensive cohort:

  • minimum 2 months of planning + prep with leads at the organization
  • launch intensive with a 3-day overnight retreat
  • weekly daylong LEO trainings for 8 consecutive weeks
  • graduation + celebrations

CURRICULUM BREAKDOWN

Opening 3-day Retreat

  • Daily Meditation + Journaling
  • Introduction to the LEO Intensive
  • Introduction to Community Organizing
  • Role of the organizer
  • Understanding Power
  • Principles of Embodied Organizing

Week 1 Daylong Training

  • Meditation + Journaling
  • Principles of Base Building
  • Somatic Mock Outreach Practice

Week 2 Daylong Training

  • Meditation + Journaling
  • Effective 1:1 Meetings
  • Embodied Leadership Development
  • Building the Core

Week 3 Daylong Training

  • Meditation + Journaling
  • Effective Meeting Facilitation
  • Time Management
  • Develop Goal-oriented Work Plans

Week 4 Daylong Training

  • Meditation + Journaling
  • Somatic Campaign Development
  • Developing Campaign Plans

Week 5 Daylong Training

  • Meditation + Journaling
  • Somatic Media + Messaging
  • Effective Communications
  • Somatic Outreach Practice

Week 6 Daylong Training

  • Meditation + Journaling
  • Effective Feedback
  • Developing Embodied Leadership Plans

Week 7 Daylong Training

  • Meditation + Journaling
  • Direct Action + Events
  • Arts + Organizing

Week 8 Daylong Training

  • Meditation + Journaling
  • Coalition + Movement Building
  • Grassroots Fundraising
  • Public Speaking

Week 9 Graduation + Celebration

  • Meditation + Journaling
  • Commencement Speeches
  • Diploma Ceremony
  • Celebration

ORGANIZING SKILLS

The LEO Intensive is, in short, intense. LEO seeks to impart all the skills required to shape individuals to be the absolute best version of themselves they can be as they develop as organizers. The following is a list of skills organizers develop over the course of the intensive:

  • History of community organizing + other social change methodologies
  • Roles + responsibilities of an organizer
  • Understanding power dynamics
  • Effective base building + outreach
  • Effective 1:1 Meetings
  • Somatic leadership development
  • Effective meeting facilitation
  • Time management
  • Develop goal-oriented work plans
  • Somatic campaign develop
  • Developing campaign plans
  • Somatic development of media + messaging
  • Direct action + events
  • Arts in organizing + puppet making
  • Public speaking
  • Grassroots fundraising
  • Coalition + movement building

EMBODIED ORGANIZING SKILLS

The LEO Intensive is, in short, intense. LEO seeks to impart all the skills required to shape individuals to be the absolute best version of themselves they can be as they develop as organizers. The following is a list of skills organizers develop over the course of the intensive:

  • History of community organizing + other social change methodologies
  • Roles + responsibilities of an organizer
  • Understanding power dynamics
  • Effective base building + outreach
  • Effective 1:1 Meetings
  • Somatic leadership development
  • Effective meeting facilitation
  • Time management
  • Develop goal-oriented work plans
  • Somatic campaign develop
  • Developing campaign plans
  • Somatic development of media + messaging
  • Direct action + events
  • Arts in organizing + puppet making
  • Public speaking
  • Grassroots fundraising
  • Coalition + movement building

HOW DO I BRING LEO TO MY ORGANIZATION/ALLIANCE?

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