Sitting in grade school history class, I remember a teacher inviting us to look at the textbook authors. She then asked us: “Who are they and why does it matter?” This question turned on a light bulb for me. This exact question highlights why I had always been drawn to first-hand accounts of real people attempting to influence the direction of change while it was happening. The meaning making we have in the form of essays, op-eds, even letters to loved ones, that capture the lived experience of leaders is all the more essential in moments of rapid change. And fundamentally it can actually change the course of history.
Surely over the past few months we have witnessed rapid change. Covid-19 and its immediate impacts on aspects of public health, economic and racial justice, and food security are exacerbating already dynamic issues that touch communities in all corners of the world. Violent tensions involving local and national law enforcement that disproportionately impact specific racial or ethnic communities – from Kenya to Brazil, the Philippines to the United States – dramatically highlight this current moment in history.
And, as always, there are leaders everywhere, meeting the complex challenges with the creativity that comes from a deep sense of purpose and knowledge of place.
So, who are they and why does it matter?
This blog is part of CDA’s From Where I Stand series, designed to listen to people most affected by aid as they explore and amplify their leadership experiences, stories, and lessons for the aid sector.