reset project

Jesús Iñiguez, CultureStrike

Jesús Iñiguez, CultureStrike

 
 
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The reset project at Power California cultivates imagination and builds power toward inclusive and participatory governance. reset leads co-creation and implementation of a national cultural strategy to advance governance that centers people and the natural world. 

Power California envisions that all who call California home – regardless of citizenship – participate fully in decision making for a just, safe, and culturally vibrant state. Through the reset project, we are going beyond California to transform governance in the U.S. and bring people – Indigenous, Black and other communities of color including youth, immigrants and refugees, queer and transgender people – to the center. We will draw on and amplify the possibility for large-scale transformation by developing a new partnership ecosystem, rooted in place-based civic engagement organizing and cultural strategy, and deep, resilient, and values-led translocal collaboration. 

reset is an experiment in possibilities, emergence, and transformative change in governance.

The transformation will bring about governance that centers people and the natural world, which ensures that decision making power and influence reside within our communities so we can shape social, political, spiritual, and economic outcomes in our own lives. As organizers, we know that culture, not data, changes hearts, minds, and votes. This is why it is essential to integrate cultural strategy in grassroots organizing and power building for political change. 

Cultural Strategy

Cultural strategy ignites our shared imagination and unites our often disparate communities for collective action and justice. Through cultural strategy, we can imagine and engage together toward a new future. By shifting the collective imagination, we shift what's politically possible, so that together we can determine our own lives.

The potency of cultural strategy lies in practice and learning that engages all aspects of cultural life and all avenues of social changemaking to transform society for a just, viable, and liberatory future.

Culture change outpaces the grassroots organizing we’ve done to date. Without cultural strategy, we will not get to the scale necessary fast enough to meet the widespread assault we’re experiencing every day on our rights, our bodies, and our families. We must employ a number of strategies and levers of change that can speed up and create the kind of leaps required to mitigate harm and lead us to liberation and dignity. And we need more people engaged, taking ownership and working together in true partnership.

Cultural strategies are crucial to shifting power and transforming society for love, joy, and belonging.

Through cultural strategy, we uphold our collective power to redesign governance to benefit Indigenous, Black and other communities of color including immigrants and refugees, queer and transgender people, and young people. 

Rooted in the unwavering love we have for each other and belief in our collective strength, the reset project activates whole people, thriving families, and interconnected communities from a place of expansive vision. Together we’re inventing a new normal.


Grounding Ideas

The what, why, and how of Cultural Strategy. Commissioned from Art/Work Practice with the support of Unbound Philanthropy 

The reset project at Power California, Nayantara Sen, Resonance Network, and Movement Strategy center co-produced a webinar on the transformational possibilities of cultural strategy in world building and organizing for justice. Below are links to the corresponding resources.

A summary of Until We Are All Free, our culture-led racial justice initiative with CultureStrike in partnership with Black Alliance for Just Immigration. Commissioned from Art/Work Practice with the support of Unbound Philanthropy 

An overview of the Cultural Strategy Ambassadors’ Program in collaboration with Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at UC Berkeley 

More details about upcoming briefings to dive deeper into the contents and recommendations of the 2019 reports coming soon! 

Our Creative Council

Since 2014, Aparna Shah and Rufaro Gwarada have steered Power California’s testing, developing pilots and platforms, and integrating cultural strategy with electoral organizing, racial justice, and migrant justice. They lead reset in collaboration with a Creative Council comprised of the leading voices and visionaries of cultural strategy and social justice.

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Chrissie Castro, Diné and Chicana, is a consultant, facilitator and coach, specializing in community organizing, civic and voter engagement and electoral justice in Native communities. She is dedicated to equity for all peoples, with a focus on the self-determination of American Indian and Alaska Native communities. She is the Chairperson of the Los Angeles City and County Native American Indian Commission, and co-led the charge to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day in the city and county of Los Angeles. Chrissie co-founded Indigenous Women Rise, which organized the Indigenous women’s contingent of 1,000 Indigenous Women at the 2017 Women’s March in DC. She is the Network Weaver of the Native Voice Network, a national network of 40+ Native-led organizations that mobilize through Indigenous cultural values; and recently launched two organizations to build community and political power of Native communities –  statewide, the California Native Vote Project and nationally, Advance Native Political Leadership.

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Jeff Chang is the Vice President for Narrative, Arts and Culture at Race Forward. His books include Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation, Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop, and Who We Be: A Cultural History of Race in Post Civil Rights America. His latest, We Gon' Be Alright: Notes On Race and Resegregation, was published in September 2016. It was named the Northern California Nonfiction Book Of The Year, and the Washington Post declared it “the smartest book of the year.” In May 2019, he and director Bao Nguyen created a four-episode digital series adaptation of the book for PBS Indie Lens Storycast. A national leader in narrative and cultural strategy, Jeff co-founded CultureStr/ke and ColorLines. He was named by The Utne Reader as one of "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World" and by KQED as an Asian Pacific American Local Hero. He has been a USA Ford Fellow in Literature and the winner of the Asian American Literary Award. He was recently named to the Frederick Douglass 200.

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Kate DeCiccio is an artist, educator and cultural organizer. Her artwork using portraiture for counter narrative includes posters for the Women’s March, March For Our Lives, and a series featuring over 50 parents who lost their children to police terror. Her approach is informed by her experiences witnessing the failures of the prison and public mental health systems. Kate’s interest in imagining the role of artists to transform systems began over 15 years ago while painting collaborative murals and teaching art in state psychiatric hospitals and locked forensic settings. In 2007 she relocated to the Bay Area and began facilitating art classes for inmates coping with mental illness at San Quentin Prison while working as a residential mental health and substance abuse counselor. As a white artist originally from Central Massachusetts, Kate engages white audiences to take ownership of intergenerational and historic harm on behalf of collective healing. She is currently working for the fourth year with Performing Statistics, a project centering the art and personal narratives of youth in detention to dismantle the Virginia Juvenile Justice System. 

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Judith LeBlanc is a member of the Caddo Tribe of Oklahoma and director of the national Native Organizers Alliance (NOA). NOA builds relationships with tribes, traditional societies and grassroots community groups in key Native communities and reservations through community organizing training and strategic campaign planning. At the core of her work is the belief that organizing a grassroots, durable ecosystem of Native leaders and organizers who share a common theory of change rooted in traditional values and sacred practices is necessary to achieve tribal sovereignty and racial equity for all. She is currently partnering with the Brave Heart Society, a traditional women’s society, and the Yankton Sioux Tribe on a project to re-establish the inherent and legal right of the Yankton and other tribes in the Missouri River Basin to regain co-management of the bio-region. She believes that the path to transformational social change is built upon an ecosystem of relationships. As we say in Indian Country, being a “good relative” is walking in total awareness of the environment, past and future, and acting, in the present, in harmony with the natural world and humanity. Judith is a board member of IllumiNative, chair of the board of NDN, and a 2019 Roddenberry Fellow.

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Gerald Lenoir is the Identity and Politics Strategy Analyst at the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, UC Berkeley. He works with Haas staff and community, advocacy, labor and faith partners to organize the research, development and promotion of a strategic narrative that fosters structural inclusion and addresses marginalization and structural racialization. He also works with community organizing groups in developing communications and cultural strategies, curricula, and trainings for promoting civic engagement and voting. Gerald is the founding Executive Director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration and a founding steering committee member of the Black Immigration Network. He co-founded Priority Africa Network in 2003 and has served on the board of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights since 2006. He is a former board member of the Interfaith Peace Builders and led its first African Heritage Delegation to Palestine/Israel in 2012. His opinion pieces and reporting on immigration, racial justice, apartheid, electoral politics, HIV/AIDS and other issues have appeared in Time.com, Black Scholar Magazine, The Los Angeles Sentinel, the Seattle Times, New America Media, commondreams.org, colorlines.org and other publications.

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Innosanto Nagara is an activist graphic designer, illustrator, and author of children’s books. Originally from Indonesia, he has been involved in political cultural work for over 30 years, as a freelance designer, a designer at Inkworks press, and the founder of Design Action Collective. Design Action Collective is a worker owned cooperative union design studio that has been providing graphic design, web, and visual communications services to the Movement since 2003. Having been active in the worker coop movement for over 25 years, he is passionate about the intersection between labor rights and workplace democracy as a key institution for building the society we envision. In 2012, Inno wrote and illustrated the bestselling children’s book, A is for Activist. Since then he has written and illustrated four more, ranging from board books to middle grade fiction—all with social justice themes. He regularly visits classrooms to read his books and speak with children about these topics, as well as speaking to adults about diversity in children’s literature, art and activism. Inno lives in a cohousing community he helped found in Oakland, California, and teaches and trains martial arts at a collectively run dojo.

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Anasa Troutman is a cultural strategist, writer, producer, and entrepreneur. As CEO of her company, Culture Shift Creative, Anasa works to build and execute strategies for artists, brands, and organizations that are aligned with her vision of a loving world and her belief in creativity as a pathway to personal, community and global transformation. Based in Memphis, and best known for her work as strategic advisor and executive producer for long time friend India.Arie, Anasa recently stepped into leadership as the first Executive Director of the historic Clayborn Temple in Memphis, a historic preservation, storytelling, and community engagement project at the site of The Sanitation Workers Strike of 1968, Martin Luther King Jr's last campaign. Anasa has provided strategic and creative guidance in critical cultural, political and social justice spaces; she has designed and facilitated national learning exchanges, trained organizations to integrate cultural strategy as a community organizing tactic, and was invited twice to the White House by the Obama administration to advise on cultural policy. Anasa embodies art making as a pathway to her own healing and spiritual expansion. She creates stories, songs and essays that reflect her commitment to loving kindness and thirst for beauty and adventure.

Imagine with us

Want to know more? Join our list and imagine with us at imagine@powercalifornia.org

Artwork by Kate DeCiccio for Amplifier.org featuring Amanda Gorman

Artwork by Kate DeCiccio for Amplifier.org featuring Amanda Gorman