by Zak Wear, RG member
Resource Generation’s 2015 Making Money Make Change conference brought me back to my home state of Maryland. I was excited to take the week to see my people, rake mom and dad’s leaves, eat, and get to know the people of RG.
Everyone has great ideas and wise words to share at a given conference. MMMC is certainly worthwhile for the purposes of intellectual, professional, activist or philanthropic development. If you’re considering going next year, I’d suggest attending for a much more fundamental purpose: come home to a community that shares confidence, clarity, and vision for a more just and sustainable future. There’s nothing too-cool-for-school about it– just be with us as we embark on the very personal work of bringing that future ever closer.
I couldn’t sleep on the second night at MMMC. Our retreat had a long, pitch-black road that dripped with the warmth of Chesapeake rains. As I ran the road my eyes adjusted and I saw the blonde, rolling fields glowing behind fully silhouetted forest. I know what my mind was doing up at 2am, running this run—it was trying very hard to reject the safety being shared by this group of people, to reject trust and belonging. It is comfortable to not be “enough,” to be incapable, to rest in the nihilism of wealth and class privilege. The impulse is to run away, to seek the familiar safety, to stand outside love and wonder and the spirit of rendering the impossible, possible–and instead rest in the validation by one’s status in the growing socio-economic dominance over the global 99%. To end my run in what the aristocrat in Les Matins du Monde anxiously referred, “the violence,” among the rural woods, and return to the keep. It’s a familiar story.
One peer shared, “I am wealthy and I don’t feel free, I don’t feel safe…” Conscious or not, we are all shouldering an incredible weight and trauma that is the unsustainable fever of globalized, vulture capitalism. In addressing this, I found myself moved by a profoundly compassionate organizational character that holds both this ongoing systemic violence of which we are all a part and a healing, bold culture of action that walks each with their own journeys for restorative justice.
Personally, I respond to that culture of action. Since MMMC I’ve been drafting a 5-year plan that will stretch every skill, resource, and experience I have to the purpose of delivering a new worker and community-owned economy. That vision pending, I’ve re-committed myself to a year-long campaign to deliver rent control to my community. As part of RG, I will be participating in my chapter’s campaign to build sustainable housing with families of color. Every one of these increments are real and they are only possible if we run towards community, rather than away.
In building the foundation of a new economy, in pursuing systemic change, holding a sense of hope and determination is challenging enough to do alone, MMMC is a space where we get to embark on this work together. It’s a space where stories are shared, anxiety is released, and challenge comes in hearts, not darts. It’s a step, not a solution, and I invite you take it.