For Component #2 of the portfolio project, you will read through the worksheets containing a series of questions revolving around roles in social change ecosystems. Answer questions you feel compelled to. You DO NOT have to complete every question in the packet nor do you have to turn the packet in with your responses.
The assignment is to write 2-3 paragraphs explaining your reactions and opinions towards this activity. Do you find it useful? Why or why not? What are some key takeaways? Any improvements needed? etc….
In our lives and as part of organizations, workplaces and movements, many of us play differentroles in pursuit of equity, shared liberation, inclusion, and justice. And yet, we often getoverwhelmed, lost, and burned out. Some of us are newcomers to ongoing social change efforts and don’t know where to start. Still others are catalyzed into action in the midst of a crisis in ourcommunity.
The Social Change Ecosystem Map is a framework that can help individuals, networks, andorganizations align with social change values, individual roles, and the broader ecosystem.
What you’re reading now is the most current version of the social change map, first developed in2018 and then renewed in 2020 by BMP’s Director of Movement Building, Deepa Iyer. Belowyou’ll find a Frequently Asked Questions section. Following that are the three components of theframework: the map, the description of roles, and a reflection guide.
Attribution: Deepa Iyer, Building Movement Project.
SM, © 2018 Deepa Iyer.
All rights reserved. All prior licenses revoked. October 2020 Version
Attribution: Deepa Iyer, Building Movement Project.
SM, © 2018 Deepa Iyer.
All rights reserved. All prior licenses revoked. October 2020 Version
Frequently Asked Questions
Who developed the framework?
My name is Deepa Iyer, and I’m a writer, facilitator, and activist. Learn more about the originalconcept of the social change ecosystem map that I developed in 2018 here. As I utilized theframework with others, it began to evolve; see more about that here. You’re working with themost current version of the framework (October 2020).
What are the components of the framework?
The map, the description of the roles, and the reflection guide can all be found in this document. Ifyou’d like to access individual components, you can find them here.
How do I use this framework?
It’s a three-step process: (1) identify your values and cause in the middle circle; (2) map yourroles and those played by your ecosystem; and (3) reflect, observe, and plan.
Who can use this framework?
Anyone. Individuals can use it to reflect, assess, and plan. Organizations can use it at staff andboard retreats, team-building meetings, orientations, and strategy sessions. Workplaces can use itto assess their effectiveness. Coalitions and networks can use it to clarify different lanes. Peoplenew to equity and inclusion issues can use it to identify how to begin. Those of us who have beendoing social change work for some time can use it when we feel fatigued or overwhelmed.
When should this framework be used?
As an individual, you can use it when you need a re-set, when you feel stuck, burned out orconfused, or when you don’t know how to begin. I use it often when there is a community crisis anddon’t know how to respond. For example, people have been using the framework to figure out their roles during COVID-19, in the struggle for Black liberation, and for post-election response.
Attribution: Deepa Iyer, Building Movement Project.
SM, © 2018 Deepa Iyer.
All rights reserved. All prior licenses revoked. October 2020 Version
What are the permissions and restrictions on using this framework?
This framework is for individual and public use –
with boundaries
. Due to creative and commercialinfringements that occurred in 2020, I have placed new parameters on the use of the map. As ofOctober 2020, all previous licenses are revoked. Please read the permissions and restrictionsbelow and if you have any questions or doubts, please email me ( Please do not send direct messages on Twitter or Instagram; email is the most effective route.
This is Permitted
✓ You can use the map, framework and the guide individually and internally within yourorganization, workplace, faith group, board, or campus/school for meetings, retreats,orientations, check-ins, evaluations, workshops, classes, self-discovery/group discoverysessions, leadership mapping and more, with the following attribution: Deepa Iyer, BuildingMovement Project. SM, © 2018 Deepa Iyer. All rights reserved. All prior licenses revoked.
✓ You can share, post, and repost the map online on your social media platforms and withinemails, newsletters, internal communications and as part of a list of resources as long asyou include the full and original image of the map, the original link and the followingattribution: Deepa Iyer, Building Movement Project. SM, © 2018 Deepa Iyer. All rightsreserved. All prior licenses revoked.
This is Not Permitted
× No adaptations or remixes. This includes but is not limited to changing the colors, thetext or the roles, adding artwork or new elements, or visually reorganizing the roles.NOTE: I’m open to the possibility of collaborating with all you visionaries and storytellersif we can come to an explicit agreement before you alter and create. Please contact mevia email.
× No public-facing workshops. Please contact me first to discuss/partner.
× No commercial use is permitted. The map or any derivations of its content can neverbe used to accrue money for yourself or your organization, ie., charging people or askingfor donations in a session that includes the framework; or making and selling productsbased on the framework.
Attribution: Deepa Iyer, Building Movement Project.
SM, © 2018 Deepa Iyer.
All rights reserved. All prior licenses revoked. October 2020 Version
Attribution: Deepa Iyer, Building Movement Project.
SM, © 2018 Deepa Iyer.
All rights reserved. All prior licenses revoked. October 2020 Version
Characteristics of the Roles
Weavers: I see the through-lines of connectivity between people, places, organizations, ideas, andmovements.
Experimenters: I innovate, pioneer, and invent. I take risks and course-correct as needed.
Frontline Responders: I address community crises by marshaling and organizing resources,networks, and messages.
Visionaries: I imagine and generate our boldest possibilities, hopes and dreams, and remind usof our direction.
Builders: I develop, organize, and implement ideas, practices, people, and resources in service ofa collective vision.
Caregivers: I nurture and nourish the people around me by creating and sustaining a communityof care, joy, and connection.
Disruptors: I take uncomfortable and risky actions to shake up the status quo, to raise awareness,and to build power.
Healers: I recognize and tend to the generational and current traumas caused by oppressivesystems, institutions, policies, and practices.
Storytellers: I craft and share our community stories, cultures, experiences, histories, andpossibilities through art, music, media, and movement.
Guides: I teach, counsel, and advise, using my gifts of well-earned discernment and wisdom.
Attribution: Deepa Iyer, Building Movement Project.
SM, © 2018 Deepa Iyer.
All rights reserved. All prior licenses revoked. October 2020 Version
The Roles
• What values call to you? Circle the ones in the middle of the map that connect with you or addmore/others. When do you feel most aligned with these values?
• What are you seeking to change? Is it a system of power, a mindset or a policy? You can alsochoose to write in a particular issue, campaign, or crisis that calls to you to take action (i.e. COVID 19, solidarity with Black communities, campaign to center immigrants, post-election response).
• Locate yourself on the map and put your name inside the circles that you find yourself playing most frequently. Add other circles if needed and label them with roles (not job titles). Recognizethat you can be playing multiple roles, and that these roles can even shift depending on thecontext. Write the roles below and identify their characteristics (check the definitions for ideas).
Attribution: Deepa Iyer, Building Movement Project.
SM, © 2018 Deepa Iyer.
All rights reserved. All prior licenses revoked. October 2020 Version
• What role(s) do you feel comfortable and natural playing, and why? What role(s) make you come alive, and why? Are there any differences between these two responses for you to explore? Reflect on how your roles embody the values you identified earlier.
• What is the impact of playing these roles on you – physically, energetically, emotionally, or spiritually? What/who sustains you?
• In your role(s), how often do you vision and dream? What is the effect of repetition andredundancy, or compromise and sacrifice in the roles you play?
• How does your role connect to your privilege and power? For example, are there roles whereyou might be taking too much space (or not enough)?
Attribution: Deepa Iyer, Building Movement Project.
SM, © 2018 Deepa Iyer.
All rights reserved. All prior licenses revoked. October 2020 Version
• What story emerges about you when you review the map and your reflections? • How could you stretch yourself? Where can you take bolder risks?
• Social change can be fulfilling but it can also be draining at times. It’s natural to feel burn outand fatigue. People who have been subjected to generations of oppression carry trauma thatshows up in behaviors and responses. And, in times of crisis, we can cycle through fogginess,exhaustion, and numbness. All of these responses are natural. We can also learn more about theirroots and triggers, and build sustainability plans to tend to ourselves – and each other. Below,reflect on a time when you felt fatigued from social change work. What led to that experience &how did you cope? Knowing what you know now about your roles and your ecosystem, reflect onactivities that you can take to sustain yourself through challenging times (ex. setting boundaries,relying on a mentor, asking for help, switching roles, or taking breaks). Then, think about a personin your ecosystem that you can support and check in on regularly.
Attribution: Deepa Iyer, Building Movement Project.
SM, © 2018 Deepa Iyer.
All rights reserved. All prior licenses revoked. October 2020 Version
Ecosystems and Connections
Social change cannot happen at an individual level when we work in silos. It happens when weare connected to others. Our bodies, nature, and organizations all comprise of ecosystems. AsGrace Lee Boggs reminds us: “We never know how our small activities will affect others throughthe invisible fabric of our connectedness. In this exquisitely connected world, it’s never a questionof ‘critical mass.’ It’s always about critical connections.”
• Who are you connected to? What roles do they play? Start with your immediate ecosystem(usually your organization) and then zoom out to include mentors, supporters, co-conspirators,friends, and colleagues outside of your organization. If you are working with the map from anorganizational lens, you can have staff/volunteers map themselves, or you can mappartners/allies that are part of a coalition or network.
• The middle circle in the map identifies the values of the communities and the world we seek tocreate. Which resonate with your ecosystem and why? How does your ecosystem create theconditions for justice, liberation, solidarity and inclusion to be realized?
• What observations emerge about your team, organization, network, or movement when youreview the complete ecosystem, and your role in it?
Attribution: Deepa Iyer, Building Movement Project.
SM, © 2018 Deepa Iyer.
All rights reserved. All prior licenses revoked. October 2020 Version
• An effective, healthy, and sustainable social change ecosystem requires people playing diverseroles. Is your map imbalanced in any way? If so, how could the ecosystem provide support, alterobjectives, or course correct?
• Often, social change ecosystems are prone to maintaining cultures of overwork, productivity,and performance at the cost of individual well-being and long-term sustainability. Does themapping process provide insights into the culture of your ecosystem? Are there roles that need tobe strengthened in order to cultivate a more sustainable culture?
Attribution: Deepa Iyer, Building Movement Project.
SM, © 2018 Deepa Iyer.
All rights reserved. All prior licenses revoked. October 2020 Version
Alignment and Aspirations
• There are times when we all feel confused and lost about the roles that we should play,especially during community crises. When you don’t feel in alignment with my roles, how can youre-set? Who can you turn to for guidance? When you are in right relationship between your rolesand values, how do you feel?
• Based on the reflections above, set 2 goals for yourself to try out before your next check-in. Identify 1 SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely) goal and 1 B-HAG (Big,Hairy, Audacious, as defined by Jim Collins) goal. Check in every quarter to reflect on what’schanged, and if possible, work with a partner, coach, or team-member for accountability andmomentum.
Attribution: Deepa Iyer, Building Movement Project.
SM, © 2018 Deepa Iyer.
All rights reserved. All prior licenses revoked. October 2020 Version
Elections 2020:
Using the Social Change Map to Identify Your Roles and Support Your Ecosystem
This worksheet, prepared by Deepa Iyer and Building Movement Project, can be used along withthe social change map, the definition of roles, and a guide, which you can find here, to alignvalues and actions around the US elections in November 2020.
Attribution: Deepa Iyer, Building Movement Project.
SM, © 2018 Deepa Iyer.
All rights reserved. All prior licenses revoked. October 2020 Version
• Step 1. Review the social change map, roles, and guide (found here).
• Step 2 (Values): Place your values in the middle circle of the map. What values are important toyou related to the elections? Examples include building power, ensuring fairness and integrity ofthe election process, or solidarity.
• Step 3 (Cause): What cause(s) are calling to you now? Examples include a campaign to ensurefair counting of ballots; direct response/action; supporting directly affected communities.
• Step 4 (Roles): Map your role(s). What are your skills? How are you used to showing up? Howwould you like to show up this time? Is there a difference? Reflect on identifying a primary roleyou can play as well as a supportive one for someone else in your ecosystem. Take a look atexamples of roles on page 3.
Attribution: Deepa Iyer, Building Movement Project.
SM, © 2018 Deepa Iyer.
All rights reserved. All prior licenses revoked. October 2020 Version
• Step 5 (Ecosystem): Define your ecosystem(s). There are many formations, organizations andefforts out there. Which one do you feel most connected to already? Which one would you like tobe part of in the future? If possible, map out the roles that people play in the ecosystem. Do rolesneed to be filled or shifted or re-aligned? Are too many people crowded into one role? How isyour role supporting the ecosystem?
• Step 6 (Sustainability): Many of us are feeling exhausted, anxious, and distracted. Reflect onyour capacity – what are you capable of doing right now? Then, identify one daily activity thatyou can commit to in November that brings you peace and energy. Lastly, reflect on how you canpractice community care. Who can you support, and how?
• Step 7 (Next Steps): Based on these reflections, what are 1 to 3 action steps that you believeyou can take over the coming weeks that are aligned with your values, that embody your roles,and that support your ecosystem. Include your sustainability activities as well. What’s thetimeframe for those actions? Who will you be accountable to, and how will you course correct asneeded?
Attribution: Deepa Iyer, Building Movement Project.
SM, © 2018 Deepa Iyer.
All rights reserved. All prior licenses revoked. October 2020 Version
✓ Examples of roles related to the elections:
Storytellers document and share voting experiences of first-time voters or those facingvoting barriers
Caregivers bring nourishment to share with people standing in line to vote Healers provide coaching and counseling support for frontline responders and disrupterstaking direct action
Visionaries remind us that regardless of outcome, we need to stay focused onreimagining a different society because returning to normal is not an option Frontline responders provide support to voters who face barriers or organize rallies andprotests
Disrupters plan actions to shake up the status quo and build people power Guides share lessons learned about how people have historically organized to changesystems of power
Builders put together rapid response networks
Experimenters identify new ideas to change government systems
Weavers connect people, funding, resources and organizations across the country to oneanother
Attribution: Deepa Iyer, Building Movement Project.
SM, © 2018 Deepa Iyer.
All rights reserved. All prior licenses revoked. October 2020 Version

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