Magdalena Valderrama Hurwitz

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Big bad institutions vs Cute little community groups

By Magdalena Valderrama Hurwitz, 2014-11-14

The first time I attended a presentation on Asset-Based Community Development, the end of January 2012, everything I heard at first brought out the flames of rebellion always hiding inside me--I had surely stumbled onto a movement to bring down the behemoths, there must be a protest march taking place nearby that I could join! Yet when we were taken through a simple small group exercise comparing the traits of institutions and associations (i.e., community individuals and groups) in society, the process of that discussion was an eye-opener for me.

Back home in the community I live in most of us knew we were responsible for our institutions but there was lots of finger-pointing and blaming going on and we weren't getting much of anything done. The ABCD discussion made me see that society needs both its institutions and associations. There are ways to use each well, and it is up to the people to make any of that happen. This moment in the ABCD presentation was a turning point for me, and I have since brought ABCD to our folks and we have started our learning conversations.

In the meantime, that "both-ness" nagged at me. Back when I had done some contract facilitation for a state agency incorporating multi-cultural approaches, I had also studied polarity management as a way of illuminating the need for both/and thinking instead of either/or thinking. It's very useful when groups are relatively clear on their mutual purpose but conflict is holding everyone in a vise grip. You can check out quick explanations here:

I tried to explain to my colleagues in the community about all the connections popping up in my head about the bad feelings people have and the conflicts this results in and moving forward and beyond. I developed and gave several presentations just to force myself to think and feel everything through.The attached Word documentmight seem obvious, but it is the result of my two and a half years of trying to come up with a succinct way to show these ideas.

The document is a compromise on what I originally tried to make into a Powerpoint presentation for a scheduled meeting, as the original polarity templates were not easy to put into Powerpoint. I was pressured for the time it would take to wrestle in all the presentation elements, so in the end, I threw everything into Word.

During the meeting, I was able to screenshare the Word document as if the images were part of a slideshow, and the presentation was a success. Now that all the concepts and models are in one place, and my folks have responded about the clarity, I thought I would share it on this ABCD site for your comments (click here).I'll be able to make it into a Powerpoint later and, if you think it necessary, incorporate narration.

Looking forward to your constructive thoughts.

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ABCD in ancient times

By Magdalena Valderrama Hurwitz, 2013-10-14

I found this quote labelled a Chinese proverb, in a document on Community Engagement at this link:

Go in search of people.
Begin with what they know.
Build on what they have.

Seems to match ABCD :-)

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