10 PRIMARY CHARACTERISTICS AND VALUES OF PROMOTORES
- Create and cultivate egalitarian relationships based on mutual trust, understanding and respect.
- Committed to sharing information and resources.
- Approach the community with empathy, love and compassion.
- Accessible and trusted members of the community where they live.
- Share similar life experiences as the community.
- Profound desire to serve the community, tireless in their service, and limitless in their generosity of spirit.
- Communicate in the language of the people and knowledgeable about community’s cultural traditions.
- Two-way bridge connecting community to resources and ensuring institutions respond to community needs.
- Natural advocates committed to social justice.
- Effective role models for community change
These principles align significantly with the design justice principles, but with a focus on the protagonists rather than the processes. This loving, human centered framing will especially resonate with my comrades at NOVALACIRO and our work in the local Latinx community, since it is a community still less damaged by Neo-liberalism than is its Anglo counterpart, where notions of community, empathy, compassion, and love have become almost completely foreign, resistant as those ideas are to commodification.
I am almost certain our board president, Ursula Cerro, will love learning about Visión y Compromiso. When I spoke briefly with María after her talk, she expressed an interest in learning more about worker cooperatives, the primary focus of NOVALACIRO at present. I am now hoping we can collaborate with and learn from the wonderful work of Visión y Compromiso, which would be a wonderful outcome of attending this Summit if it does transpire.
What made María's talk so outstanding was the passionate, sincere, no bullshit nature of María herself. This CfA Summit is filled with caring, well meaning people who want to do good in the world, yet I felt the constant presence of invisible shackles provided by the corporate culture in which information tech exists that kept all the other presenters I heard dancing around the issue that will fundamentally prevent our government from ever "working for everyone", the almost complete lack of democratic control over our economic means of social reproduction. As inequality reaches levels not seen in over a hundred years and as tech oligarchs accumulate ever more power over the world in which we live, we the people have less ability to make government work for us, not more.
We live in an economic system that has left remaining no other nexus between person and person than naked self-interest. We have become atomized and commidified in our social relations and so completely immersed ideologically in the religion of Neo-liberalism that we can't even talk about it. My favorite moment in María's talk came when Nathaniel asked her a question about the role Universities played in the work she was doing. She paused, and a wry smile came across her face before she answered that too often Universities received funding for graduate programs and doctoral students who expropriated local community knowledge, the very community wealth of the Promotadoras, to benefit their own programs while giving almost nothing in return. Better that such programs should fund the Promotadoras, she suggested.
María's direct demand throughout her talk to flip the script and give power to the people who serve their communities provided a unique moment of joy in an otherwise proscribed conversation at the Summit around economic power relations.