March 28 – April 2, 2017
Rivers Bend Retreat Center – Philo, California
The HOME Jam brings together 25-30 environmental change-makers from diverse backgrounds, passions, ages and regions for five days of connecting, growing, dreaming, and deep learning. As individuals we gather to restore the transformative potential at the heart of our projects and organizations so affected by burnout. As colleagues and friends in the movement, the Jam aims to strengthen the synergistic ecosystem of our greater movement plagued by fragmentation, build deep community and strengthen our ability to act collectively. As a culture, we gather to change the system at the root, through questioning our own assumptions and worldviews, and taking our learnings home, to transform our efforts and our lives.
We invite YOU as a key leader in this movement to bring all you got. Let’s be the change we wish to see.
What's a Jam?
In music, a jam is a creative, live gathering of musicians who together spontaneously create a new sound, where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Like that, Jams are places where diverse leaders and visionaries bring together their passion, openness, and unique perspectives. In spontaneous connection, we weave layers of experience, wisdom, heart, and spirit to create some real magic. The Jam asks that all the players are present and ready to listen deeply to each other.
To date, more than 135 Jams have been held on six continents, bringing together young and intergenerational leaders from more than 80 nations.
The HOME Jam is being co-organized by a diverse group of leaders (see below) working for environmental justice, with the support of YES!
What Is the HOME Jam? Why Gather? Why Now?
The environmental crises of our time are present, they are real, and they are daunting. Pipelines are threatening sacred lands in North Dakota. Communities are underwater in Baton Rouge. Forests are burning due to drought and palm oil. Some of the same capitalist and separatist ideologies that destroy the Earth are also permeating our movement cultures, creating infighting and causing burnout. Our own experiences and interviews with folks across the environmental sector reveal common challenges with personal and organizational sustainability in our struggles to defend the Earth: lack of time, overstretched capacities, and limited resources. At every level, we call for Earth renewal, but it's rare for folks from across the environmental movement ecosystem to come together in a spirit of healing for personal, interpersonal, and systemic transformation.
In this light, we need new venues, new modalities, and new conversations to uplift disparate and marginalized voices and to collectively re-imagine solutions for our planet. This is the purpose of the Jam, and why we are interested in “Healing our Movement Ecosystem.” In the HOME Jam, we share in a lived experience of the transformative potential at the heart of our organizations, our movements, and our world.
We are guided by these inquiries:
How can we honor our own unique gifts and develop practices to empower creative expressions in our movements?
How can we shift the desecration and fragmentation in the external world — the “environment” — and in our internal world? How can and does our personal healing impact collective liberation, and vice versa?
How can we apply our collective wisdom to join forces across boundaries and catalyze transformation at all levels?
Ethos and Impact of the Jam
In the Jam we will address three interconnected levels of transformation: the internal, the interpersonal, and the systemic. Our aim for gathering is to:
1. Rejuvenate – At the internal level, we aspire to give ourselves space to reflect on our personal stories, learn and unlearn, take off our masks, seek our next growing edge, recharge, and renew. We want to nurture our own spiritual health to fire our activist spaces.
2. Build Solidarity – At the interpersonal level, we want to make and take time for authentic conversations to emerge, to discover common ground, and to celebrate differences. By taking an honest, loving and transformative look at our conflicts, we seek to move beyond allyship towards building deep friendships that will sustain us through these times.
3. Foster Collective Liberation – At the systemic level, we aim to link issues that are not commonly linked, to find new intersection points and to gain a clearer vision of the whole. We want to critically examine the tools and lenses we apply in our work in order to decolonize our imaginations and to examine the ways in which our individual liberation is contingent on the liberation of the whole, and vice versa.
After five solid days, we hope to emerge renewed: bringing back grounded passion, spiritual fortitude, new relationships, and re-imagined solutions to our home communities and projects.
What is the HOME Jam Structure?
A Jam is not a conference, seminar or a typical meeting. It offers multiple opportunities for deep, holistic exploration, in which each person has something to offer and something to receive. Through activities like facilitated dialogues, sharing circles, artistic expression, games, movement, participant-led workshops, outdoor adventure, community dialogue, and lots of free time for spontaneous interactions amongst the participants, we will together explore our own experiences, questions, and dynamics.
We will draw upon the power of collective visioning, new storytelling, self-awareness, breath and movement, systemic analysis, and integrative practices. Through activities, exchanges, and just plain hanging out together, we get a chance to take stock. To see things from new perspectives. To activate our imaginations, creativity, and curiosity. To align our vision and values. To face our fears and overcome our blocks. We get to heal and to find new friends and partners in our journey. Ultimately, a Jam is the fire where connections are forged. A sense of genuine community allows us to forego intellectualizing issues and allows us to explore the depths.
Who We Are Looking For
We are looking for diverse leaders in the environmental sector and strive for intergenerational participation, approximately between the ages of 20-70. We welcome indigenous voices, members of displaced communities, clean energy engineers, food justice advocates, social entrepreneurs, environmental lawyers, policy wonks, members of communities affected by environmental racism, conservation biologists, community organizers, biomimicry designers, social permaculturalists, brujas, high-tech wizards, queer ecologists and anyone who wants to be the change in how the environmental sector operates.
We look for a vibrant diversity in:
Identities and worldviews (e.g. class, race, religion, sexuality, gender, age, dis/ability, ethnicity, etc.)
Experience (from “just starting out” to “been at it for years”)
Roles (from “person on the ground” to “founder and director”’)
Passions & focus (waters, forests, wildlife, energy, climate change, waste, etc.)
**To leverage the movement-building impact of the Jam, we encourage applicants to identify other individuals and organizations with whom you would like to collaborate more effectively and encourage them to apply as well.
Who Is Organizing this Jam?
Ashoka Finley works on issues concerning energy, food, and sustainability community scale. He works both locally and internationally in an effort to find shared best practices. In his life and projects, he seeks to connect diverse groups of people along common lines with dialogue and inclusiveness. His dedication to the empowerment and liberation of all people makes him determined to develop greater capacity within himself to be open and caring in every endeavor in his life.
Jodi Lasseter grew up in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina and currently lives in Durham, NC. Jodi is the Founder and Co-Convener of the NC Climate Justice Summit–an intergenerational, multiracial process rooted in popular education and frontline community engagement. She also works as the Climate Justice Program Director for a statewide grassroots organizing program called PowerUp NC. In her previous positions as National Program Director with the Engage Network and Director of Organization Development for the Amazon Alliance, she worked closely with hundreds of community leaders in the U.S. and abroad. Jodi delights in community singing, walking in the woods, playing frame drums and taking a dip in her favorite swimming holes.
Kyle Lemle is a community-based natural resource management professional with experience working for international and grassroots NGOs in Bhutan, Thailand and California. He is an inaugural recipient of the Spiritual Ecology Youth Fellowship and is currently working with leading practitioners from South Dakota to Northern India to empower diverse moral imperatives for conservation. Kyle is also a recipient of the Princeton in Asia Fellowship where he conducted research with RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests on community forestry and climate change adaptation across Southeast Asia. Kyle most recently has served as Community Project Manager with Friends of the Urban Forest, where he organized over 30 neighborhood-level greening campaigns and the planting of over 2000 trees across San Francisco. When he is not planting trees, he is singing Gospel as founding Music and Choir Director for Thrive East Bay, a new purpose-driven spiritual community for social change based in Oakland, CA. He holds an honors degree in environmental studies and international development from Brown University.
Lazzuly Mello is a bi-racial, multi-cultural human be-ing from the city of Angels. She is completing a Master's Degree in Community Mental Health and is passionate about culture and its impact on mental functioning, the planet earth and how we can better serve and be in relation to her, as well as yerberia, family, and electronic soundscapes. Previously, Lazzuly had been involved with a zero waste initiative to sort through thousands of pounds of trash at music festivals in an effort to divert waste from landfills. In 2011, she worked as a garden educator in an after-school program. She is passionate about the conservation of species and culture and has spent months delving into the beauty of Brazilian ecosystems. Lazzuly spends time thinking about psychoanalysis, critical theory, the state of the world, poetry, music, majic, Love, Latin America, the cosmos and dreams.
Colin O'Brien is a staff attorney at Earthjustice, a non-profit public interest law organization dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth, and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment. Now based in San Francisco after a four-year stint in Alaska, Colin’s work has focused on protecting clean air from the effects of destructive oil drilling and mining and on safeguarding the North Pacific marine ecosystem from unsustainable commercial fishing. Prior to joining Earthjustice, Colin cut his teeth at the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, DC and, before that, at a large law firm in New York City.
Shilpa Jain is currently rooting herself in Oakland/Berkeley, CA, where she serves as the Executive Director of YES!. YES! works with social changemakers at the meeting point of internal, interpersonal and systemic change, and aims to co-create thriving, just and balanced ways of life for all. Prior to taking on this role, Shilpa spent two years as the Education and Outreach Coordinator of Other Worlds and ten years as a learning activist with Shikshantar: The Peoples' Institute for Rethinking Education and Development, based in Udaipur, India, where she worked on a number of urban sustainability initiatives. She is passionate about dance and music, organic and natural farming, upcycling and zero waste living, asking appreciative questions, and being in community.
Dates, Venue, and Contribution
The Jam will be held from the afternoon of Tuesday, March 28, until the morning of Sunday, April 2, at Rivers Bend Retreat Center, located in Philo, CA (2 hours north of San Francisco). It is a naturally beautiful place, away from the hustle and bustle of modern life, both inspiring and rejuvenating.
It takes resources to organize this event, but do not let cost be a barrier, we will work out a solution together. The total cost of the Jam is $1000 per participant ($550 for food, lodging, and local transport; $450 for program costs, including organizing support, childcare, materials, and facilitator honorarium).
We ask that participants consider contributing a minimum of $550 to cover their food and accommodation. This may be still a significant expense for many people, and we do not want money to be an impediment to your participation. We can offer a monthly payment plan, as well as combination of scholarship and work-trade to make it work for you. We also encourage applicants to seek support from their organizations, as many people find a lot of leadership skills development and other professional development happens through their learnings and experiences at the JAM. And, if you are able to contribute more, wonderful! The extra amount will go towards our scholarship pool.
Also, we welcome children to the Jam; we love having whole families sharing the Jam experience. We will work out childcare and any additional expenses with you.
Please feel free to contact us at <firstname.lastname@example.org> if you have any queries. We eagerly look forward to hearing from you!
With gratitude for who you are and what you do,
Ashoka, Lazzuly, Kyle, Jodi, Colin, and Shilpa