As a follow-up to Dr. Shawn Ginwright's popular keynote address at the Guild’s 2015 Conference, the Guild hosted a virtual book club with members in January 2016 to discuss Ginwright’s book Hope and Healing in Urban Education. Facilitated by then Guild’s director of membership development and engagement, Robyne Walker Murphy, and featuring Dr. Ginwright, the book club continued the conversation on structural violence in urban communities and the role of arts education in addressing trauma. Rodney Lopez, one of our Hope and Healing book club participants and then global program director of Dancing Classrooms (New York, NY), followed up on the discussion by sharing some concrete strategies that his organization employed to achieve healing and progress amongst the Dancing Classrooms staff.
Influenced by Peter Block's book called "Community: The Structure of Belonging" Rodney believes creating a transparent environment that welcomes dissent, conversation, accountability and action fosters trust amongst staff. Striking the right balance between open and accountable communication requires risk from leadership.
"Conversations happen at the water cooler and over lunch. People mentally check out of staff meetings that go over the same old stuff. When you can nurture a culture of bold expression, people's batteries are recharged and you'll find new and creative ways to serve your communities."