You may have noticed since the launch of Rights & Democracy we have always managed to feature a flock of geese on our posters. We pride ourselves on putting out graphics and art that represents the beauty, energy and excitement about the movement we are trying to build for people and the planet. But you may be one of the number of people who have asked the question, “What’s with the geese?” over the course of our first year. Well, we saved the answer for our First Annual Membership Assembly held this past Saturday, December 10th in Lebanon, NH (See post about the assembly here, and see new board member Mary Gerisch’s blog post on the significance of Human Rights Day here).
I have always had deep reverence for geese as for thousands of years they have been making their annual migrations across the globe. In addition to being beautifully graceful animals, after watching a documentary detailing their amazing annual trips I have always marveled at their perseverance and teamwork. Being in New England, it is also awe inspiring to see them fly overhead sometimes in the hundreds (which they call a gaggle). Years ago I saw a presentation about the lessons of geese, and we adapted them to a poster that we released at the Assembly called “Movement Lessons From Geese.”
When introducing these new beautiful posters, I chose to read one lesson in particular that seemed special for the occasion of recognizing the work of our founding chair Michelle Salvador, who was taking a step back after playing a key role in RAD’s launch. She was able to pass the torch to new co-chairs Sylvia Gale (NH) and Brittany Nevins (VT). Along with the Sheila Reed (VT) and Janice Kelble (NH), the new co-chairs for the Rights & Democracy Education Fund, they will step up to lead this new grassroots power building formation.
Here is “Lesson # 4 - Empowering Everyone To Lead: When the lead goose in the front gets tired, it rotates back into the formation and allows another goose to take the leadership position.
LESSON: We are all leaders and have the capacity for greatness. Micro-managing and keeping tight control will demotivate people, while stifling creativity and growth. It will also burn out everyone. We all have unique skills, capabilities, and gifts to offer. When we all have the trust and a chance to shine, we will be surprised with the collective outcome.”