You may not know the name Marshall Ganz, but chances are you are familiar with the social movements he helped shape.
In 1964, he dropped out of Harvard and headed South to work for civil rights as part of the Mississippi Summer Project. By 1965, he was at Cesar Chavez’s side, fighting for farmworker rights in California. He even helped create the grassroots organization for a presidential campaign. From his earliest days organizing, Ganz knew that success meant forging individuals who barely knew each other into a group that would risk their lives together to fight for change. The secret, he discovered, was to start with storytelling.
Before groups engage in action or even try to define their collective identity, Ganz asks each person to write a story of self, so they can answer the question “Who am I?” in just two minutes. Considering our lives and experiences and how they have shaped our values, opens us up. Sharing our stories is how we connect, but the first step is knowing our own story.
I meet new people every day in my role as community manager with Weave. It’s my favorite part of the job, in large part because I continue to be surprised by the instant connection I feel with other weavers. It reinforces for me that weaving is not about what we do, but how we show up for others in the world.
Recently, our team asked some researchers to interview weavers to understand what inspires them to be weavers in their communities, what values they share, and what support they would find most helpful. The researchers asked weavers to tell their stories. Some of you may have been part of the interviews. We’ll be sharing the results in future posts.
One of the early findings is that, while weavers share many values, they approach weaving their communities in different ways. The researchers found five types of weavers and I’m wondering if you see yourself in one of these types:
- Healers work to support communities that have been harmed or marginalized. They seek to help their communities heal and thrive by offering services, support, connection, and advocacy.
- Disruptors aim to free their communities from discrimination, oppression or unfair treatment. They challenge systems and norms that have hurt their communities.
- Growers want to strengthen the sense of belonging and common purpose in their communities. They foster healthy relationships, create a sense of pride and pursue projects that make their communities stronger and better.
- Seekers find personal meaning and growth in building loving relationships with others. They work to forge a network of deep connections in their communities that are mutually nurturing.
- Occupational weavers do their weaving as part of their jobs. They invest in organizations, businesses and local institutions that serve the needs of people and the community.
Like many weavers I’ve met, I consider myself an introvert. You won’t find me with a megaphone in hand, leading a crowd. I see myself as a Grower, especially in my role with Weave. My work is to build connections with individuals and across groups. My quieter personality fits this well because it allows me to listen and focus on connecting with others through our stories.
If you are a member of our Weave Community, you are already on a weaving journey, whether just starting or already well along. I invite you to think about your story of self. Does one of the weaving types feel right to you? What brought you onto the path of wanting to build connection and trust with others around you?
Whether online or in person in the coming months, I hope we have a chance to meet, share stories, and, together, build a new, inclusive culture of weaving.