Alternate ROOTS 2020-23 Strategic Plan

Alternate ROOTS 2020-23 Strategic Plan publication was designed by Talamieka Brice of Brice Media, LLC.


Welcome to your 2020-23 ROOTS Strategic Plan! This plan is a culmination of a full year of work, led, informed, and driven by our members, every step of the way.

The plan you are about to review is possibly not like any nonprofit strategic plan you have seen before. ROOTS prides itself on being a progressive, innovative, and forward thinking organization, grounded in our commitment to the elimination of all forms of oppression, everywhere. We don’t just invoke this promise with our programs, projects, and at ROOTS Week; but you will see these principles in our practices and the way we work. Therefore, our Strategic Planning Committee decided that our plan needed to reflect this not just in the visioning but in the writing of the plan itself.

If you are looking for “Strategic Priorities” you won’t find them, but you will find “Stories.” If you are looking for “Action Items” you will find “Vision Items.” If you are looking for a top down plan you won’t find it. You will, however, see the aspirations of the plan reflected in our members’ voices embedded in the plan, sharing stories from our 44+ year history.

ROOTS Week 2019. Photo: Melisa Cardona.


Additionally, you will see a plan focused on the next four years in preparation for the following 5-10 years leading to our 50th anniversary in 2026 and beyond. It is a strong  plan, and we are for the first time in the organization’s history, prepared with staffing, finances, and resources to take it on. Maya Angelou says “‎The desire to reach the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise and most possible.

In addition to the groundbreaking narrative rooted in our history of storytelling, our staff-led team structure also reflects the non-linear/decentralized way we have always worked. Here, it is articulated not in a staff flow chart but a beautiful, artistic, non-hierarchical way of working together. As a 100% remote staff, we are leading the way for how teams can work in a more humanized, healthy, and sustainable ways.

Our values and guiding principles have not changed, nor has our commitment to the South, but what we do know, is that ROOTS is a nationally respected organization, because it has always been committed to this work, since its founding in 1976. We are excited to share our road map for the next iteration of Alternate ROOTS! Come join us as we work a day at a time, hand in hand, using art to shape justice and move the needle closer to a world we may not see in our lifetimes, but know at our core, can only manifest if we boldly reclaim the power art has to change the world, one artist, one community, one day at a time.

Michelle Ramos

Executive Director, Alternate ROOTS

Alternate ROOTS supports the creation and presentation of original art that is rooted in communities of place, tradition or spirit. We are a group of artists and cultural organizers based in the South creating a better world together. As Alternate ROOTS, we call for social and economic justice and are working to dismantle all forms of oppression—everywhere.