Building Your Abolitionist Toolbox

Everyday Resources for a Punishment-Free World

Graphic notes by Radical Roadmaps

When We Fall Apart

with Dragonfly Partners

In this session Interrupting Criminalization & Dragonfly Partners unveiled, "When We Fall Apart: A Movement Primer."

Many of us join or create movement groups because we feel compelled by our circumstances or called by our moral compass. Some of us are in search of a community that will accept us for who we are, understand how we see the world, and support our efforts to make change. Others of us stumble into movement groups and find ourselves changed by the people and ideas they expose us to.

At times, the context of the movement, or your group, or your life changes. Perhaps you need to make a change—to say goodbye, to walk away, to leave, to take time to care for your body or spirit, or to move on to the next phase in your life journey.

In other instances, we may find that our groups are falling into sync with the systems of oppression that we seek to dismantle. Instead of finding joy, connection, and growth in the work, we find ourselves feeling stuck, disconnected, or in pain.

What happens when those who we once had respect, admiration, hope, camaraderie—and even love—for cause us to suffer? What happens when these experiences cause us to act in ways that are counter to our own core beliefs? Must we stick it out? Or are we compelled to lash out? What if we cannot be “in it together” anymore? Maybe what we need is to, quite simply, leave. But the simplest act is often the hardest to do.

This workbook was created to help individuals and groups collectively navigate a breakup from another individual or group. It offers up a collection of thoughts, insights, and lessons gathered from people in the social justice movement who have experienced an intragroup breakup and survived to tell the tale, learn lessons from it, and keep moving forward.

We hope that people in the movement ecosystem can turn to this workbook as a salve in times of transition, as they stumble through uncertainty, loss, and the excitement and fear that signals possibility.

Dragonfly Partners helps changemakers—both inside and outside the political system—get “unstuck” and work through strategic, organizational or interpersonal challenges.

Based in Philadelphia and with team members around the country, Dragonfly Partners is a multiracial consulting team serving organizations that are part of the social justice movement ecosystem in our hometown, nationally, and globally. Our clients are community organizers, advocacy groups, foundations, universities, faith-based organizations, government agencies, labor unions, coalitions, media makers, arts and culture organizations, and others engaged in work for social and political change.

We are named for the dragonfly, who migrates across borders and whose eyes can see in many directions at once. As a team, we bring a multitude of perspectives to our work with our clients.


When We Fall Apart Resource