A Journey of Organizational Change
As a publication that has long covered the global MenEngage Alliance and its regional members, we thought Voice Male would be interested in the new directions the North American MenEngage Network (NAMEN) is taking. Over the past several years, we have been deliberately engaging in a process of “decolonization”—transforming NAMEN from a network of predominantly older white male gender activists to an organization where marginalized voices are centered and new generations of leadership are developed. We understood that this process would require deep changes individually, interpersonally, institutionally and culturally. Our partnership as cochairs—a younger black Caribbean man and an older white Jewish man—has been a critical part of this process. Supporting and challenging each other, we are building trust and learning skills in shared leadership. We are engaging in difficult conversations challenging patterns of white male dominance, and deepening our understandings of intersectionality, privilege and accountability.
We have committed to ensuring that intersectional lenses are applied in all our engagements to tackle the systems of oppressions, dominance and discrimination. We believe that multiple ideas, opinions and suggestions matter if we are to truly value and appreciate the whole. This has been a welcomed phenomenon by many; it’s been challenging for others.
NAMEN is creating public spaces for addressing the intersections of racism and sexism in our membership meet-ups, community of practice webinars, and policy advocacy committee. As members of the global MenEngage Alliance (menengage.org), we are joining with regions around the world to dismantle patriarchy and white supremacy. We challenge others to recognize that this is, a “must do” if we are to find a way through the crises we face. We are heartened to witness the rising tide in a global societal transformation. “Oba yansafo yenkanasem yebunbe: A word to the wise is enough.”
Shane Joseph, MSW, RSW, Dr. Steven Botkin
North American MenEngage
Rejecting Pakistani Patriarchy
I truly believe in what your magazine stands for. I am a cis male from Pakistan who identifies as nonbinary and sexually fluid. Our country has a highly patriarchal society and the pity is that many people are internally against that idea but are too dominated by our norms that they choose to live a lie and suppress their emotions. I would like to be a part of a “voice male” society.
A bequest from the estate of Gavin Harrison, the late South African antiapartheid activist, Buddhist teacher and profeminist men’s work supporter, was recently awarded to Voice Male and the North American MenEngage Network (NAMEN.) Voice Male directed Gavin’s bequest to help underwrite its “Voices Against the Hard Rain of Racism,” the special section in this issue. NAMEN (namen.wildapricot.org) is using the bequest to support its efforts to engage its membership throughout the U.S. and Canada in sharing best practices in promoting healthy masculinities. Both Voice Male and NAMEN are deeply appreciative for our late friend’s abiding faith in our work to redefine manhood and to transform masculinity. (To read some of Gavin’s extraordinary poetry in the Winter 2014 issue, go to voicemalemagazine.org/petals-and-blood/.)