After 6.5 years at Power Shift Network, it’s with a lot of emotions that I share with you my plans to leave the organization at the end of this calendar year. In my time at PSN, we’ve more than doubled our staff, grown our membership from zero to 126, and witnessed a seachange in the way that we think about and strategize about the climate crisis and keeping one another safe.
PSN’s staff today is a reflection of the movement we need in order to build resilient futures for us all: Black, Brown, Indigenous, queer, neurodivergent, disabled, working class, trans, fat, and tenacious as hell. With your help, we’ve built an organization that centers wellness in the face of catastrophe, contributing to a movement culture that allows people to show up as their full selves to this work, making the climate movement a safer and more accessible place for everybody. We have a 32 hour work week, take mental health days openly, have increased our base salary by 25%, and continue to offer our staff the best in class health benefits available.
Building an an inclusive movement means we have everyone we need at the table – including you – to make sure we’re building policy and community solutions to the climate crisis that won’t leave people behind and lays a solid foundation for the wins we desperately need. In my time at PSN, it’s been an honor to play my part in addressing systemic violence and failures of earlier iterations of the climate and environmental movements.
And with all of our successes, I know we’re not at where we want to be. Our elected officials seem to be working to make our vision for a stable climate and bright future for younger generations almost impossible. From student loan forgiveness to reproductive justice to climate action, to lack of covid support to an ever increasing military budget, promises that got Biden elected – promises that got our people to rally to get him elected – continue to be broken. But we’re fighting back.
PSN’s decentralized network was made for political moments like this. To folks on the outside, it seems like movements have peaks and valleys, but for people connected to networks, we can see the work that’s always happening; mutual aid infrastructure strengthening, people teaching themselves and others to grow food in sinking landscapes, and building a circular economy all while bringing more people into the movement and building power for the next opportunity to have impact. We experiment and learn from what doesn’t work. We build deep lasting relationships to make sure young people in the future don’t have to reinvent the wheel and have access to the wisdom that already exists. I’m excited to see what we’re able to build as we invest in building pathways for youth to take action against Big Oil’s toxic hold on communities and landscapes across the gulf south through organizing Power Shift 2023 in Bvlbancha (New Orleans).
Networks allow us to deepen our knowledge and build a culture of resistance and joy that we need to keep going. And that’s why I, along with our staff and wonderful board, have been so focused on bringing in wellness and joy to this work over the past couple of years. Because we can’t afford to lose more activists and changemakers. Because we need to make movement irresistible.
We’ll share more about our plans about PSN’s transition in leadership later this summer. Our staff’s been dreaming about what a robust staff will be able to pull off in our work to fertilize the landscape for youth people to take action for climate justice. A return to our in-person Power Shift Convergences is just the beginning: we’re building robust training, mentorship, and coaching capacities, launching action teams and other platforms for cross network collaborations, and continue to center accessibility for folks to get the most urgent political education needed.
To be able to do all of this work well, in the way that we need in order to build healthy livable futures for everybody, and lay a strong foundation for our future leadership, the truth is, it’s going to cost money. To make sure we have all the support we need to bring in new leadership and support staff through this transition, we’ve set a goal of raising $50,000 by the end of our fiscal year (June 30).
Will you help us kick this campaign off strong by making a one time donation of $50-$250 to honor my leadership at PSN and make sure we’re abundantly resourced to hand the keys of the organization over to a new generation of leaders?
Dany Sigwalt, Executive Director at PSN
PS - Save the date for May 31st, when we'll be hosting a trivia night to bring folks together in celebration of all we've accomplished over these past years. I'd love to see you there over zoom!