Friday, June 25, 2021

Split This Rock Enters Fallow Season

Over a white background, bold black text with a yellow outline appears that says “Fallow Season July 1, 2021 - April 1, 2022.” Under this text is an illustration of a yellow-orange sun rising from green fields under a light blue sky. Three yellow dots surround the illustration.
After 13 years of programming and publication, and actively surviving a global pandemic, Split This Rock is entering a fallow season beginning July 1, 2021 and ending April 1, 2022. Fallow land is cultivated land left unplanted for a growing season. To make land fallow is to recognize that soil needs time to rest and regenerate after harvesting abundance. Fallow seasons are about sustainability.

During Split This Rock’s fallow season, staff and board will focus on expanding the organization’s capacity to be fertile and stable ground for working towards liberation, as well as defining more concretely what working towards liberation means at Split This Rock. This time will offer space to tap into deeper wells of creativity so the organization can offer more impactful opportunities for cultivating poetry, building community, and sharpening tools for resistance. Board and staff will have space to more deeply align the organization’s mission with its systems, protocols, and practices. This internal alignment powers our capacity to show up with the greatest integrity in our programs and commitments to community. Some of the projects we will be tending include:

  • Building strategic plans for Split This Rock’s programming, publications, communications, and other endeavors
  • Maintaining communication with stakeholders and community members to access valuable input and expertise to help shape Split This Rock’s future offerings
  • Strengthening the organization’s infrastructure, including significant upgrades to our website, email platform, and donor database
  • Engaging in consulting processes to guide us in tending to Split This Rock’s internal culture, staffing structure, and leadership model so they more deeply align with the organization’s mission and values
  • Refining protocols and practices to offer greater support to staff
  • Formalizing procedures to respond to community needs and current events
  • Hosting virtual community gatherings to remain tuned in to the needs of those we serve
  • Continuing fundraising and grant writing efforts to sustain the organization

Split This Rock was born from the brilliant effort, community care, radical imagination, and creative genius of a small group of poet activists with a big dream. That dream has grown immensely since the organization’s founding in 2008, while Split This Rock’s internal resources and staffing level have barely changed – despite efforts to address this challenge. Through facilitated discussion in February and March this year, the organization’s leaders came to clarity that a programmatic pause is needed. It’s time to tend to the field Split This Rock’s founders so tenderly seeded, making sure the soil from which we grow community engagement remains rich. We honor the legacy of our founders and the values that are core to the organization by arriving at this truth: programmatic rest is our bravest political action in this season.

We are being called to more radically embody the interconnected wisdom of the movements that guide us, such as the movements for Black liberation, disability justice, Indigenous sovereignty, and environmental justice. We are grateful for the opportunity to make this bold move – the manifestation of a quiet dream we’ve held in our hearts that allows us to build upon the current health of the organization. As we shared in our staff letter in December 2020, a few of the changes we are committed to at Split This Rock include:

  • Expanding paid opportunities for artists who teach, publish, and feature at Split This Rock, artists who are largely people of color and often alumni of the Youth Programs
  • Bringing disability justice principles more fully into the center of the organization’s culture
  • Cultivating a more supportive and attractive work environment for current and future staff
  • Adjusting the programmatic load as necessary to match the organization's staffing level
  • Developing and practicing community agreements that center consent culture and accountability

Though programs will not be hosted during the fallow season, we’re eager to continue engaging with you. You can expect to receive updates on our progress along the way; the first will arrive in August. Fill out this online form to let us know if you’d like to be part of community gatherings we will host to invite your expertise and feedback. Poem of the Week will continue until June 25, 2021, and we hope you’ll keep reading. Visit the fallow season webpage for information about Split This Rock’s programs, ways to contact staff and board during this time, and more.

We believe this is the most courageous and radical work we are called to fulfill. We’ve collected a playlist of poems that are grounding and guiding us in this time, and encourage you to read them below. We are excited about the many possibilities that might manifest and the harvest waiting for us all on the other side of Split This Rock’s fallow season.

With gratitude,

Split This Rock Staff & Board

Image Description: Over a white background, bold black text with a yellow outline appears that says “Fallow Season July 1, 2021 - April 1, 2022.” Under this text is an illustration of a yellow-orange sun rising from green fields under a light blue sky. Three yellow dots surround the illustration.

Fallow Season Poetry Playlist

"We are not reconciled to the oppressors who whet their howl on our grief" by Danielle Badra

"Equinox" by Tamiko Beyer

"Set the Garden on Fire" by Chen Chen

"we ask mama-n-em, “where is the motherworld?” by Destiny Hemphill

"Calling on All Silent Minorities" by June Jordan

"Onomástico" by Jonathan Mendoza

"We" by Deborah A. Miranda

"Tonight: Rebellious Resistance" by Naomi Ortiz

"Cactus Flower" by Amir Rabiyah

"The Republic of Tenderness" by Nathan Spoon

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