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Blog: Disruptive Corner

How My First Campaign Drives Ewulomi Work’s Org Identity

Former Lead GAPA organizer, now Alderman Desmon Yancy (5th Ward); Marsheda Patrice, Esq.; Frank Chapman, CAAPR President - on a panel discussing the passage on ECPS with law students.

When I graduated from Northwestern Law in 2018, I never imagined that my very first major campaign as a baby lawyer was going to be the history-making boot camp that would prepare me for and, in some ways, drive me to start Ewulomi Works. I was one of three policy attorneys for the Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability (GAPA), a coalition of community-based organizations reimagining public safety. At the time we were pushing for an ordinance that would establish a citywide and grassroots police district-level entity that would create true civilian oversight over the Chicago Police Department (CPD). The goal was to ensure that the community had a meaningful say and role in asserting how police interact with Chicagoland residents, especially Black and Brown ones.

By joining forces with another grassroots coalition dedicated to the same work, Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (CAARPR), in July of 2021 we succeeded and passed the Empowering Communities for Public Safety (ECPS) ordinance. (I still remember facilitating the meeting to choose the name, finding the designer to craft the logo, and staying up with him to tweak it to perfection.) If you are familiar with CPD and Chicago’s 50-person city council then you know how radical it was to dream something like police accountability in Chicago, let alone succeed. There are so many things I could share and may choose to do so later. However, today I want to focus on the one lesson that drives Ewulomi Works: dreams worth accomplishing require qualified partners.

Although I had the title of attorney at the GAPA and joint ECPS table. I held many roles. The most prominent one and probably my favorite was partner. I was often one of the first calls made when someone had a concern or question. These questions could range from wanting to know the legality of what they hoped to incorporate into the ordinance to deciding how to approach an injustice that happened to a loved one. They were turning to me, a trusted source, for guidance on potential next steps. Big or small, I addressed issues and connected people with resources. I was working with the best of the best, GAPA/ECPS was my first campaign, but for most of those leaders, it was not theirs. So, for them to trust my counsel was humbling. It also illuminated the fact that leaders, the ones that many turn to in distress, need a place to turn. They need someone to not only hear their issues, but also affirm that their concerns are valid and suggest some options for moving forward. Basically, those who make sense of mess, need a partner to help them make sense of theirs.

Social entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders are no different than the community organizers I worked with; they are all fighting enormous odds to address a problem plaguing their community. They are the individuals that others turn to. Still, they need a place to turn as well. That is where Ewulomi Works comes in.

We partner with people to help them organize the mess that comes with attempting live a dream out loud. I don’t know about you, but I rarely get inspiration for a project in a linear process. I get piece 50 and piece 35 without knowing piece 1 at the same time. By creating frameworks, that lay the foundation for a dream birthed or in ideation, we help leaders grow the confidence to weather the storm. The services that we provide all center partnering and doing life with individuals and their organizations as they work toward their dream while also having the qualifications to help guide them.

We offer:

One of the most challenging things to discern as a new business owner is what gifts to lead with and lean into. Understanding your organization’s heartbeat, it’s identity, provides clarity on your org’s best course of action.

That is why we are offering “Business 101: Org Identity: Aligning Purpose and Profit” today Weds. June 28th at 6pm ET/ 5pm CT/ 3pm MT/ 3pm PT.

I'm proud of the work that I have been able to do and excited for the journey forward as EWorks grows and our disruptive fam does as well.

Speaking of growing, have you signed up to join our system-breaking, disruptive Eworks fam? If not, get it together and subscribe here. We still love you!

Until next time, (2 weeks from now), we will continue to disrupt norms that marginalize our people and create new practices that increase the quality of life for the human village.

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