Elements of the bayanihan
Inspired by conceptualizations of homeplace (hooks, 1994) and the borderlands (Anzaldúa, 2012), the bayanihan is an attempt to reclaim an indigenous voice and combat norms of Whiteness within professional associations. With regards to borderlands, Anzaldúa (2012) conceptualized it as an interstitial place created by dominant identities to maintain marginalization of others. Opportunities to create new knowledge is fostered for critical activists in the borderlands because minoritized and marginalized people, oppressed by the system, must work within the system to survive; consequently, the adjustments made when "working within" create a unique vantage point for the minoritized and marginalized in the liminal space.
Within the borderlands there is a “magic that materializes in the moments between—mysteries that conjure when creatures of darkness meet creatures of light; new meanings born at jazzy and contentious borders and in tricky relationships” (Fine, 2018, p. 94).
One way to create this magic is by decolonizing spaces. In a series of poignant tweets, Rosa (2018) talked about the power of decolonial perspectives when it grounds one’s research. It fundamentally changes all aspects of a research study, including “questions, methods, analyses, modes of representation, proposed interventions, and political commitments.” Traditional perspectives on what a research study should incorporate shift when applying a decolonial perspective, and through incorporating our indigeneity and leaning on the long lineages of other scholars who are breaking the chains of traditional research, we are joining their journey to reimagine what scholarship (and our lives) can look like. Rosa (2018a) noted that “whereas normative scholarship invites you to accept, reproduce, or slightly modify the existing world, decolonial scholarship insists that otherwise worlds have always existed & demands a radical reimagining of possible pasts, presents, & futures.” This study is attempting to break the traditions of normal science, the “strenuous and devoted attempt to force nature into the conceptual boxes supplied by professional education” (Kuhn, 1962/1996, p. 5), to imagine a more rational, sustainable, and just society. We are combatting norms and utilizing "decolonial imaginary," a process where Pérez (2003) noted “we must uncover the voices from the past that honor multiple experiences, instead of falling prey to that which is easy – allowing the white colonial heteronormative gaze to reconstruct and interpret our past” (p. 123), to do it together in a communion of critical consciousness.
Although the borderlands is not an ideal place, it is the reality for those marginalized and minoritized by the system. Yet there are ways to still create productive spaces within the borderlands, something that hooks (1994) theorizes as a person of color’s homeplace. She stated it as “the construction of a safe place where black people could affirm one another and by doing so heal many of the wounds inflicted by racist domination” (p. 449). The bayanihan, the community for critical consciousness, is the manifestation of homeplace. It is a place where, as Yara Shahidi shared in her acceptance speech of the 2017 Black Girls Rock Award,
For purposes of this community, the bayanihan is an extension of Freire’s (1970) conceptualization of conscientization and learning through contradictions; this praxis through the bayanihan will lessen the hegemonic pressure to conform on minoritized leaders within professional associations.
As was shared in the about section, the following eight elements are integral to create a communion of critical consciousness. Although they are offered in three sections below, they are actually mutually constitutive and must interact with one another in the matrix of the borderlands to succeed. They are offered in the below format for the benefit of those new to the bayanihan concept.
Learn more about the elements of the bayanihan below. If the elements resonate, please share your stories to help build the bayanihan in CONTRIBUTE. And if you have any suggestions to the below elements, please offer those thoughts through REFINE.
We don’t want this research experience to seem one-sided. A key component of collaboration is open communication; and by being transparent with all co-researchers, we hope all feel a part of the process. Just by accessing this website, you are joining in the goals of this project to disrupt the cycle of oppression and create practices within our professional communities and professional associations that are more rational, more sustainable, and strive towards justice. Regardless of your demographics, we want you to feel integral to the process, for without your perspective, the study would be different, and that difference is important.
The issues we are tackling are complex because non-profit management operates within a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) environment. The concept of addressing complex environments with even more complexity goes against what many organizations are currently trying to do. Rather than increasing our networks and allowing for more flexibility with our volunteer leaders, we are restricting movements and providing more structure in almost every arena of our work. The bayanihan acknowledges that unique things happen in the adaptive space of complexity.
Through the bayanihan, we want all who build it to feel a sense of release. We recognize that talking about race is a sensitive subject that many individuals shy away from. Yet the release does not necessarily need to be opening the Pandora’s Box of feelings, but rather, it can also be releasing steam from a pressure filled pot. If the pot represents the constraints that society puts on minoritized and marginalized individuals, oppression and justice are two extremes of the temperature dial. As oppression increases, those inside the pot feel more constraint. But through building the bayanihan, the goal is to strive towards justice and release the pressure on the minoritized and marginalized individuals.
We are looking for individuals that do not hold onto anger to use it as a weapon for justice. We are not suggesting that individuals need to be “civil” and “respectful” for there is power in hurt and anger. Rather, we are looking for individuals that are interested in healing the wounds of oppression because if we center our own anger in our journey towards eliminating oppression, we do not strive towards true justice. We strive towards vengeance. And love is the integral ingredient to healing (hooks, 2000; hooks, 2001; hooks 2002; King Jr., 2010).
Connected to the concept of community and collaboration, we want individuals that are committed to the purpose of this study, specifically finding ways to make our practices less oppressive and more sustainable for all involved. It does not matter where individuals are on the journey, whether they are just becoming aware of their critical consciousness and capacity for change or if they are long-time advocates for justice. Regardless of where the individual is on their social justice journey, we want individuals committed to the causes of justice.
One of the key reasons that members join associations is to find community (Marketing General Incorporated, 2018). It is our hope that through participation in this study, participants find community. Through the creation of a brave space (Arao & Clemens, 2013), which include the elements of controversy with civility, owning intentions and impacts, challenge by choice, respect, and no attacks, we hope that together we would become a group of individuals who have learned "how to communicate honestly with each other, whose relationships go deeper than their masks of composure, and who have developed some significant commitment to 'rejoice together, mourn together,' and to 'delight in each other, and make other's conditions our own'" (Peck, 1987, p. 59). It is through commitment to the cause, embracing complexity, and compassion for one another that community is built.
Love is an integral part of this research study. Whether it is love that causes compassion, love that works towards justice, or love between two individuals, love is the critical component to heal the wounds of injustice. It is our goal that, as a result of this research study, there is a deeper relationship between those involved. Communion is deeper than community, for when one is in community with one another, it can be superficial. Communion is more intense. When catharsis happens in community, communion is built, for as hooks (2000) noted, “rarely, if ever, are any of us healed in isolation. Healing is an act of communion" (p. 215).
The conversion we want to produce for those building bayanihan, for those accessing this site and increasing their knowledge of the bayanihan, and those interacting with these two groups of people, is a conversion filled with critical hope (Duncan-Andrade, 2009). What may seem like banging your head against the glass is still an important action to repeat because we do not know if this next strike will break this glass ceiling, opening the flood gates of the revolution.