New staff member Sydney Stead brings social work, organizing and CVT East Africa experience to New Tactics.
Hello New Tactics community! I am delighted to begin connecting with you as the New Tactics in Human Rights Program Coordinator. My role will largely be to provide programmatic, logistical, risk management, and administrative support.
Although I am new face within the New Tactics team, I come to this role with institutional CVT knowledge and experience; from 2016-2019, I served in a similar program coordinator capacity providing client-centered, culturally-responsive operational support to CVT’s rehabilitative programs for survivors of torture and war trauma in Kenya and Uganda.
In the interlude, I completed a master’s degree in Social Work, holding the core values of social justice and the importance of human relationships especially close. I tried on direct service work through case management for newly resettled refugee families with intensive mental health and/or medical needs and care coordination for a diverse patient population at a community health center. Both of those roles challenged me to learn how to advocate appropriately on behalf of and with my clients, and taught me that I am better suited for more macro-level practice.
Leaning into this knowledge, I focused on learning more about community organizing, legislative advocacy, and building power from the dynamic team at Jewish Community Action and through work with coalition partners on the Decriminalizing Communities campaign, which sits at the intersection of criminal justice reform and immigrant rights in fighting against the excessive detention and incarceration of poor, immigrant, and BIPOC communities in Minnesota. Ultimately, my area of study was in organizing, advocacy, and nonprofit leadership.
I have also been particularly influenced by spending my formative years in Singapore and France and working on professional exchange programs for current and emerging leaders globally for several years, as well as motivated by adrienne maree brown’s self/planet help book, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds, and her insistence not only that change is possible, but also that our collective participation is necessary. I believe that deep and radical collaboration is needed for sustainable transformation, and by drawing lessons from the natural world, brown encourages us to think expansively about what the future could look like. (Some have called brown’s work an update to Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals; Emergent Strategy is both a practical and lyrical text on movement building, including essays, poems, assessments, diagrams, and lists that I recommend frequently and find profoundly energizing.) She is one of many, many teachers and mentors who have guided me in this work, and I am eager to start learning from and with the NT community as well.