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By johnelliottcisneros, Nov 13 2017 03:05PM


I know it’s been a while since I wrote last – and it may be a while again! Heading to Colorado today to work with Adams State University in Alamosa on a pilot online equity institute for faculty. So excited to develop this work. The possibilities feel huge in terms of differentiating this online learning using our survey (the Diversity Power Survey). Also presenting at the SUNY (State Universities of New York) later in November in Albany.

Loving the increasing clarity of how these three primary unconscious perspectives in this model we've developed (the DPLM – Diversity Power Leveraging Model) reflect these archetypal priorities: we seem to gravitate toward one. Audacity - with the ultimate self–sacrifice being the highest calling – to die for one people, one’s country (warrior archetype). Grief – connection to all by experiencing the grief of being connected to those in pain, those who suffer. From this perspective “God” (to use the gendered mainstream word) is relationship (lover archetype). And third, the magician or shaman, who’s “God” is truth – the reality of alchemical interaction – we get stuff done – implemention by knowledge of the gap between intention and impact and we are her to speak that truth.

Of course these “Gods” do constant battle within and between us. And these three voices get played out in the political sphere in especially obvious ways. When our “sovereign” comes online we become able to intercede, cultivate, and activate each as needed - internally and in our organizations. Clear about my work to support that process for people (as I learn it myself!)

Locally, doing presentations and meetings with leaders still – in many fields – here in Charlottesville. We are finishing a community wide Dialogue on Race and will be gathering in early December to narrow the dialogue to some problem-solving. Working on opportunities to work with police using the Diversity Power Survey and coaching – proposing to the chief of police to pilot this work with 5 officers.

Enjoying the town and the people, the rivers and forests of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The camper is getting chilly but really enjoying the experiment. I realize how little I need in terms of cash flow! My fulfillment in my work and life is so complete generally that it makes my material existence un-interesting on some level. Very grateful to have food and shelter and transportation and a computer! Sitting with the complexity of being a white man in a predominately Black neighborhood – presenting as lower socio-economically than most of the folks on the block – many who are in subsidized housing.

The mom of my adoptive family – who built the house outside which I’m staying – through Habitat for Humanity - just started working for “Habitat” – which is a thrilling transition for her. She has always had a uniform for previous jobs so we had fun, and challenge, going out to shop for “professional” clothes!

Great to have the countries' first openly trans person in history win a seat in the Virgina statehouse. Go Danica!

Yay Sheron!  Day one at Habitat!
Yay Sheron! Day one at Habitat!
Go Danica!
Go Danica!
Path along the Rivannah River - at the foot of Monticello - great running!
Path along the Rivannah River - at the foot of Monticello - great running!

By johnelliottcisneros, Oct 8 2017 11:27PM


Hope this blog finds you well.

Last night the “White Nationalists” led by Richard Spencer revisited Charlottesville and held a “flash mob rally” at Emancipation Park. If you haven’t seen the news here’s the BBC report: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41543631. I had left that area about 30 minutes before it occurred. I am at the park as I write this--feeling protective of the synagogue which is just across the street--Congregation Beth Israel. I have contacted Spencer and requested a meeting with him or others in his group. I am interested in learning how The Sum’s model might support individuals with this perspective on power and difference. I am also interested, in what feels like “men’s work” that I feel invited to approach here.

Second week of the “Dialogue on race here in Charlottesville.” Lots of problem solving which I find frustrating! Which I have vented rather freely which is new for me! One more session in two weeks. Like the dialogue we held in Fort Collins after 9/11 they will convene the larger group to make a community wide action plan. I feel somewhat jaded about these efforts – so much of this activity seems to keep us from doing our personal work!

Yesterday was phenomenal – I took my friend Shirly to go skydiving (I did not jump!) which was on her “bucket list.” She assures me it was the “best day of her life!” How fun is that? If you have 5 minutes – please enjoy the video I put together last night!


Also held two of three of my meet-up groups: one to create a “multicultural” faith community and another to develop a multiracial/multicultural/queer friendly/interfaith intentional community. I had attended a co-housing “eco-village” potluck which is forming but they seem, to not be interested in such a community. That feels okay. Good to know what I want!

Ah the rain has come…time to go home to my lovely camper!

UVA Black Lives Matter Counter Protest
UVA Black Lives Matter Counter Protest
Flash mob/white nationailsts last night - I'd left the are not long before
Flash mob/white nationailsts last night - I'd left the are not long before

By johnelliottcisneros, Sep 28 2017 04:17PM

Hi Everyone,

My apologies- I am told the blog wasn’t getting emailed to all consistently – not sure why – will work on it today!

Wow, connected to more people in 3 weeks here than in 4 years in Hamilton! Spent yesterday as part of a team of people around the work of Kate Hudgins who is an international expert on trauma and how to shift PTSD to PTG (post traumatic-growth). We “delivered” a three-hour workshop at no cost to the Charlottesville community. Will be a part of this team for delivering other related workshops – 1 per month for 6 months.

I am also leading three “meet-up” groups in Charlottesville: one for an “interfaith” – faith community, one for a multiracial intentional community, and one to do diversity work which I call “Beginning with Me.” Also working today on a training to support teachers and continuing to meet with city council folks and to develop the idea of a study center.

Last week Dave Mathews (who grew up in Charlottesville, graduated from UVA) gave a free concert for the community – with Stevie Wonder and other celebs – people, generally, really loved it.

That’s the update! Gotta Run! Take Care! e

Recover! Charlottesville Team.
Recover! Charlottesville Team.
Charlottesville Town Council...the first Black woman firewoman retires!!!
Charlottesville Town Council...the first Black woman firewoman retires!!!
Yay - my camper is now off the grid!  (mostly)
Yay - my camper is now off the grid! (mostly)

By johnelliottcisneros, Sep 17 2017 03:36PM

Hi All

I have been in "C-Ville" for two weeks! WOW.

Yesterday was the Pride Festival here. There seemed to be a sense of some healing for many. Really fun.

Continuing to meet with religious and civic leaders. Kristin Zaikos who I met on Tuesday is leaving the city council and there is an election in November so I am looking to me with those who are running for office - to support their approaches to the issues at hand, to get their advice, and to make connections generally.

I have begun a grant application process to support the Charlottesville Police Department--looking to provide one-on-one coaching for a small cadre of officers who volunteer. WIll let you know how that goes!

I feel grateful to be here - realize I don't have a need for my Study Center idea to happen this "red hot minute" - and feel patient and grounded. Have also begun talking with a few people about a multiracial "urban" intentional community - longer term! Will set-up a "meet-up" to begin these conversations.

That's the news - Have a great week...

The Statue of Lee at what is now called "Emancipation" park is uncovered
The Statue of Lee at what is now called "Emancipation" park is uncovered

By johnelliottcisneros, Sep 12 2017 12:27PM

Hi Everyone,

Hope all are well. As promised, I wanted to share the pictures of Monticello--"small mountain" in Italian - which is situated next to "Montalto" - or "high mountain." Jefferson named these both after the English names on the county map.

As I shared before, I was so struck by tension between the brilliance and beauty of the words of the Declaration of Independence and the fact that Jefferson said he'd leave what he called the "deplorable disentanglement" of slavery to a future generation. How convenient that was for him! He held over 600 slaves in his life and was known to hire cruel overseers to keep his enslaved people under control. Clearly, had he freed his slaves he would not have had the means to accomplish what he did in the way he chose to accomplish it. He would not have been able to maintain his social standing and access to travel and political power. The tour of Monticello includes of course, seeing how the kitchens worked and how much gourmet French food was consumed by Jefferson and his numerous guests and how many enslaved people it required to maintain this lifestyle. To build Monticello itself required the removal of the entire top of the mountain--done by enslaved men over many years-wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow.

I have often seen how men who are heroes of mine lived these kinds of hypocrisies--MLK and his adultery and misogyny or Gandhi's requiring his nieces and other young married woman from his community to sleep with him without clothes. My intention in pointing out the flaws of these men is not be overly critical...it is simply because their inconsistency "sucks" a certain life out of the good they accomplished FOR ME! I would have wished for Coretta King a man who was loyal to her. I would have wished for Kasturba, Gandhi's wife what I would call a "real partner." Because the work I do with my non-profit purports to be about social justice - which sounds really good on paper, I want to learn from these men and live in a way that does not contradict what I claim to value.

More next time on how all this relates to Charlottesville 2017 and what is called here "The Summer of Hate." So this is about race and it is very much about gender.

Off to meet this morning with Kristin Zaikos with the Charlottesville City Council.

Take Care, e

Charlottesville Blog