Leaning Into Our New Normal

I can’t seem to get the lyrics of Hal David and Burt Bacharach’s song from 1965, “What the World Needs Now is Love”, out of my head. Turns out that year the war in Vietnam was raging, riots broke out for six days in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, and Malcolm X was assassinated. It was also the same year that brave and determined civil rights activists conducted three protest marches from Selma to Montgomery to continue their non-violent campaign for voting rights for African-Americans. Together, arm in arm, they literally and figuratively lifted each other up and defied violence, bigotry and fear, to inspire the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

It has always been our collective efforts that allowed us to overcome our greatest challenges and make progress, often in small steps and sometimes through great leaps. Collaboration is what has created our success as a species. Without knowing one another personally or deeply, our shared humanity invites us to find common ground, and lead, or better yet, co-lead, our way toward progress that benefits all of us.

The COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. While “social distancing” is making it hard to come together, technology is providing important platforms for sharing ideas, insights and solutions. It is keeping us connected when other traditional forms of connection are impractical or off limits.

This morning my kids were able to conduct their normal “community circle”, typically held on a carpet in their classroom, with 10 other kids in our neighborhood. Today it was conducted via Zoom and the discussion was based on the question, “if you could go anywhere, where would you go?” Together, we “traveled” the world from our living rooms.

If you are fortunate to have access to a computer and internet, and are new to Zoom or need a refresher on how to use the technology, click here to access a step-by-step guide we adapted from Zoom’s tutorials to make this as easy as possible for you and the people with whom you need to stay connected.

We all need to keep our “community circle’s” going as best we can to take care of our families, friends, and colleagues, serve our clients and continue to build resilient communities.

Due East has been using Zoom technology for several years to facilitate engaging and productive discussion and strategic planning meetings with social sector leaders and communities across the country. While video conferencing can’t replace in person interaction, it can allow us to continue to connect to one another while we are physically separated, and keep your important, mission-critical work progressing during these tough times.

Through Zoom, we are using tools and techniques to create great web-based meetings including:

  • Real-time polling
  • Breakout rooms
  • Whiteboard and digital post-it notes for brainstorming
  • Interactive chats

To make this easy on you, we have created a simple Stay Connected and United Package which includes:

  • One, 1-hour Zoom meeting with your organization and/or meeting leads to confirm meeting objectives, participant list, invite channel(s) and initial agenda items
  • Drafting an invitation and agenda package with suggested pre-reading and pre-work
  • One, 45-minute Zoom meeting with organization and/or meeting leads to review and refine the agenda package and discuss “day of” roles and responsibilities
  • Interactive facilitation of a virtual planning session, up to 3 hours/max 25 participants
  • Drafting of meeting summary including action items and future deliverables
  • One, 45-minute Zoom meeting with organization and/or meeting leads to debrief from the Zoom session and refine deliverables

The approximate cost is $3,000. Email bess@dueeastpartners.com or lauren@dueeastpartners.com today if you are interested in learning more or discussing a customized approach for your organization. We also can facilitate shorter meetings.

While we make good decisions to keep the people in our circle healthy, we can also help you stay connected to your community and keep us all united to address today’s challenges.

Let’s continue to lift one another up by staying connected, finding creative ways to keep our missions moving forward, and spreading a little extra love. We can’t run from reality. We need to lean into our “new normal” and make it work for us.

Lauren and Bess