Community and Connection

Bystander Training within Organizations - information - PDF paper about the value of training people to actively get involved when oppression and marginalization occurs on the small-scale, especially in work environments. Taking action is vital, and the small things matter; bystander trainings can help people take positive action instead of watching idly as problems fester.

Building Resilient Organizations - information - a great article about ways in which our organizations can become mired in problematic dynamics, even ones that are aimed at justice and liberation causes. Lots of concrete advice and recommendations for how to avoid and grow beyond such issues, whether on a personal level or a collective one.

Web page of Kat Vellos - information - Kat offers a number of invaluable resources and ideas for building community. I've found ideas from her book Let's Get Together (many of which are also available via the site We Should Get Together) to be very useful in both formal settings (like a company) as well as informal/casual settings (like a circle of friends).

We Should Get Together - actionable - direct suggestions and tools for building better interpersonal connections and relationships, in a variety of settings. From the work of Kat Vellos.

Better Than Small Talk - actionable - more great suggestions from Kat Vellos on starting discussions and conversations that have substance and meaning and depth. I've also found that these resources are useful in helping allistic (non-autistic) people understand how I prefer to communicate and relate with others; one of my autistic traits is a strong dislike for small talk, which feels shallow, empty, meaningless, and stressful to me.

How to Eradicate Toxic Culture from Your Workplace - actionable - an easy-to-watch YouTube video about ways to reduce problematic behavior in an office environment. Fairly introductory and basic, but a decent conversation-starter.

Post-Meritocracy Manifesto - actionable - recommendations for eradicating the poisonous mentality of "meritocracy" from tech-creation environments.

Polysecureby Jessica Fern - information - this is a brilliant book about consensual non-monogamy. However, I recommend it even for those who are quite comfortable with monogamous life, for a few reasons. First and foremost, this book offers a brilliant collection of tools that can help any relationship, including our relationships with ourselves; I'm confident that anyone could find useful things to glean from the exercises and suggestions it contains. Secondly, the text is unapologetic about naming a rather under-acknowledged form of oppression, mononormativity - the pervasive assumptions about what relationships, love, and fulfillment are "supposed" to look like. This oppression affects both those of us who enjoy relationships in far more complex and variegated ways than monogamous culture deems acceptable, as well as those who have no cause to participate in certain kinds of relationships, notably the aspec community. Lastly, the text also refuses to depart from gender-neutral language throughout, and yet remains clear and easy to understand; for any writer concerned about excising gender-assumptions from your writing on the grounds of reducing clarity or creating awkward results, please read this book to learn how it can be done (at least in English).

Immunity to Change - information - this is a popular book about various ways in which we can unconsciously or subconsciously resist change, even changes we desire. It is aimed primarily at corporate cultures and has a very distinctively white perspective, so please keep that in mind; but it does offer some insights that I've personally found helpful in illuminating why sometimes things don't seem to move forward the way they should, both in and around me.

The Purpose of Power - information - this book by Alicia Garza (of Black Lives Matter) covers a wide range of practical wisdom about how social movements are really created and sustained. It's a pointed look into the role of power - that is, the ability to affect things in the ways we want - and the importance of understanding how to work within systems of political power. Setting aside questions of the fundamental salvageability of certain political institutions and structures, there's no question that surviving political systems is a crucial skill for all of us seeking liberation, and this book is a great place to start thinking about how we can do so.