*Being a decentralized network, different regions throughout the country are experimenting with their own models of onboarding people into the Network. East Point is supporting this experiment for the Bay Area region of FVN, and our process will look different from other regions. As of this moment, there is no one “official” onboarding process for the Network.*
What is Onboarding and Why Does It Matter?
FVN is attempting to build a decentralized, self-organizing structure. This means that each team within FVN is empowered to make decisions, design and take actions and experiment with FVN's DNA: our shared principles and practices.
Part of the challenge in building a network without a rigid hierarchy is the balancing of autonomy with unity. If individuals or teams within a movement are not grounded in the same vision, values and frameworks, each group making its own decisions could lead to fracture.
This is where Onboarding comes in.
Individuals who are interested in joining the Network are asked to go through an extensive Onboarding process, to learn the principles and practices of FVN. This will allow you to discern whether or not FVN is a good fit for you, and if it is, that you have enough understanding of our movement’s DNA that you can begin experimenting with it, talking about it, and inviting others into it.
That’s A Lot of Work!!!
We imagine that the full Onboarding process will take roughly 40 hours. Initially, we were envisioning this as a five-day residential retreat.
That is a lot of hours that we are asking of people. And yet, we feel that this is the minimum that is required for people to ground themselves in FVN’s DNA.
FVN is not a place where people can sign up on an email list and become a member. We are trying to create a true, lasting movement home where each individual can feel a deep sense of belonging.
FVN is not an organization that is interested in spending years fighting for a single piece of legislation. We are trying to bring about climate and racial healing.
FVN is not a typical network operating under traditional guidelines and best practices of nonprofit organizations. We are trying to change the culture of activism, and transform how we relate to each other and to the earth.
While we are only trying to do our small part in the broad ecosystem of movements that is needed to bring all of that about, we also acknowledge that we have a big vision and know that it will take a lot to get there.
In California, it takes roughly 1,600 hours to become a licensed cosmetologist, and 1,500 hours to become a barber. How much are we willing to commit to creating a new paradigm of social change?
We will be doing everything we can to make this process as accessible as possible to those who are interested, including making available our Internal Reparations Fund for Black, Indigenous and People of Color. We know that there are systemic forces that make it harder for some people to participate in workshops than others, and we are committed to doing what we can to combat that.
Elements of Onboarding
As you can see in the image above, there are 12 separate modules that, together, make up the Onboarding process. These do not have to happen in a linear order, but you will not be considered to have been fully onboarded until you compete all of them.
- FVN 101: This 8-hour workshop will provide the broad overview of what FVN is, how it is structured, and some of the key elements including our core commitments.
- Upending White Supremacy: This workshop is only for white-identified people. We acknowledge that working on issues of racial justice and racial healing in mixed-race spaces can be an incredible challenge, and the emotional burden of that challenge often falls on BIPOC people. This workshop will ensure that white-identified people have at least some base-line level of understanding about undoing white supremacy.
The Five Stands of our DNA
- Reparations: Reparations are a prerequisite to racial healing. This workshop will introduce you to FVN’s paradigm around reparations, and begin the process of making reparations real.
- Direct Action: FVN is ultimately a Direct Action network. This workshop will introduce some core concepts around direct action, and discuss how we are trying to introduce a new way of engaging in direct action work.
- Fierce Vulnerability: This is a key workshop for FVN, and introduces the core ethos from which our work is built. This is therefore the longest workshop in the bunch.
- Vocation: Helping each person identifying their unique gift to the world and mobilizing that gift for the purpose of healing and justice is what this network is about!
- Emergence: The depth of the crisis we are facing is extraordinary, and we are not going to think and analyze our way out of it. We will need to develop the skills and the stillness to listen to the wisdom of emergence.
The Five Living Systems
- Decision Making: How do we make decisions in our team and within the Network in a way that is efficient, equitable and hears the voices of each person?
- Information Flow: How does information flow within the network, and why is this important for us in building a living, growing and egalitarian system?
- Resource Flow: How do we ensure a flow of resources that is transparent and equitable?
- Feedback Loops: In what ways are we giving each other feedback, and giving feedback about the system overall within the Network? How are we integrating that feedback and continuing to always grow and evolve?
- Conflict Engagement: What are the structures and practices that allow us to engage in conflict in healthy ways?
In addition to the twelve modules of our Onboarding, we will be designing a workshop to help support new teams in its early stages, as well as a series of “Enhancement Workshops” that will continue to deepen people into the skills necessary to practice all of the DNA. This will include workshops on direct action skills, jail support, conflict mediation, emotional regulation, song leading, art building and more.
How Do I Sign Up?
East Point Peace Academy is working with allies from the FVN Network and beyond to design these Onboarding modules. We will be posting them on our website as they get scheduled. Check it out here.