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For the last 30 years the Co-Active Training Institute (CTI) has been offering the gold-standard in coach training and leadership development for individuals and organizations. Now we are creating a new language of leadership. Let's do this together. 

Democracy and Dominant Culture: Our Stand on the Events in the United States on January 6, 2021

  • POSTED ON JANUARY 10, 2021

As much of the world is well aware, on January 6, 2021, the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., was attacked amid the U.S. Congress’s attempt to certify the electoral vote and ratify the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.  

In this blog post, we want to outline the position that we, the Co-Presidents and Chair of CTI’s Board, are taking as we look at what occurred through the lens of Co-Active. Because we believe everyone is a leader, and leaders are those who both create their world and are created by their world, this is a moment in history that we can shape and be shaped by, if we are willing to be in the conversation. We are using our voice in this way as a call to action. 

First, we would like to address our global community. As a diverse collective of Co-Active coaches and leaders, we know the events and aftermath of January 6 are affecting everyone differently. We feel it is critical that we all activate our leadership around the shared contexts that are presenting themselves. Those of you who live in the United States are solemnly witnessing this threat to your democracy and due process. It is a deeply significant and, for many, a terrifying moment in your social and political history. For those of you in the United States of marginalized identities, we know these events speak volumes about your place and safety in the current social and political landscape of your country. Further, this threat extends directly to your daily lived experience. For those living outside the United States, seeing one of the pillars of global democracy being so fundamentally shaken can be very unsettling if you believe in the underpinnings of democratic ideals and process.

What we are witnessing is not just an attempt to obstruct a symbolic and sacred democratic process. It is also evidence of a much more powerful and historic construct rooted in white privilege, racism and violence. We are seeing a deep-seated fear of a more equitable and inclusive future create extreme reactions and deeper divides. Sadly, this dynamic, although playing out differently in various parts of the world, is not unique to the United States. This is not the kind of relationship, or action, we will support, nor the kind of world that Co-Active exists to create. 

Co-Active articulates the irrevocable, interdependent relationship between being and doing — between who we are (Co) and what we do (Active). The hyphen is the literal and symbolic representation of the dynamic interplay between the Co and Active. It shows that the quality of relationship we foster with ourselves, each other and the systems we are a part of shapes the nature and impact of the action we take. Co-Active is a commitment and stand for a world alive with wholeness, responsibility and love. This world includes and requires divergent points of view and the willingness to deeply disagree to create the future we want and need.  We insist that leaders hold this divergence of people and beliefs as vital inputs for intentional innovation and evolution versus obstacles to disprove, remove or dominate. 

We cannot stand with those who are so righteous in their points of view that they incite violence, propagate fear, inflict harm and desecrate property.  

Not only does this violence and destruction oppose the vision we have for our world, but it also leads back to systems and structures of overt oppression and fear-based dominance that many countries around the world have experienced over the last 100 years and continue to experience today. This is a moment for us to stand up together to create a new way forward.

We condemn the actions leading up to and resulting in the violence and desecration of property and process on January 6, and we remain open and willing to enter into a Co-Active relationship with those who feel so harmed that they would take such action.

We have to find another way. Our existence depends on it.

Despite the chaotic disruptions, the U.S. Congress was able to come together and certify the election process. Additionally, on the same day, the nation rallied to make history with some monumental Senate appointments in the state of Georgia. These efforts demonstrate a will to lead through this moment and make real a promise to create a world of radical inclusion and right relationship. 

We believe this is an inflection point in the history of humanity that is calling on change in the system of self and the system itself. This means the days and months ahead are likely to continue to be rife with unrest as we all endure the pandemic and experience the nature of emergence. We encourage you to find your voice, your vote, your vigor in an effort to support systemic and institutional change. We also implore you to open up to the understanding of how what lives in the larger systems (political, social, economic) also lives in you. Become familiar with the concepts like dominant culture and the characteristics of white supremacy culture as a way to deepen your journey and commitment as a Co-Active leader and take emboldened action.  

At CTI, we are currently in the process of understanding our own orientation and contributions to dominant culture norms and white supremacy culture. We are partnered with the Dignitas Agency to help us see into and effect change by evolving our people, products and systems to actively create the world we envision in ways we haven’t before. For more information on what we’re up to, please visit our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion page.  

The moment is now for us to truly see what is unfolding and present in the systems and structures so many of us inhabit. We must take steps together into this uncertain future and co-create a world we believe is wanted by all — a world that is more just, equitable and responsible to all people and the planet we share. We thank you for your courage, resolve and heart to take a stand for what wants to emerge, and we commit to meeting you on the path.

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