Jordan Garcia, Co-Executive Director, American Friends Service Committee

“When I was young, I used to admire intelligent people; as I grow older, I admire kind people.” ― Abraham Joshua Heschel

I have had the pleasure of taking part in the Transformative Leadership for Change Fellowship for the last year. Through the fellowship I’ve met the most amazing people, people I consider friends and thought partners. Each of the other fellows demonstrate an incredible thirst for knowledge and a commitment to the integrity of our shared experience together. It is apparent in our many collective accomplishments, both personally and professionally, that we are blessed to share space together each month. I believe many of us will stay connected for many years.

As part of the inaugural year of the TLC fellowship, I’m honored to participate in envisioning subsequent years and witness the emergent thought going forward. I have focused on my own personal growth through self-examination and relationship deepening. The facilitation of the fellowship stands out not only my memory, but is exemplary among others. And as such, I have accepted opportunity after opportunity to improve my ability to learn deeper from others. The curriculum is flexible and responsive and our group. We are gracefully facilitated through the nuances of our diverse perspectives and complex decisions.

I feel a renewed commitment to creating the type of change that serves our many communities and creates a space that I can feel both proud and inspired. Our success in the midst of such a challenging time cannot go unnoticed. The integrity of the process that led us here is the result of hard work and the ability to graciously admit set backs and creatively problem solve to achieve the end goals. We found that only together, with each of us contributing our invaluable skills, could we triumph. Together we brought many people and communities together to work toward a vision, but a vision realized.

Like the quote above, over the many years that I have led organizing efforts, I have grown to admire kindness and strength of character tremendously. This group has an extraordinary ability to listen for subtext and meaning. We share a genuine curiosity for the unknown and yet are humbly aware of our gifts.  We share a belief that we ought to use them wisely and frequently for the betterment of all. That’s a community worth working for.