Announcing ROOTS’ Chrysalis Month: Breathing into Care, Growth, and Strategy

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October 26, 2022


We are excited and deeply grateful to announce that Alternate ROOTS will be taking a Chrysalis month in January 2023. After three years of working in the midst of pandemic while also experiencing rapid organizational growth, we are pausing to center care, tend to our growth, and make space for long term strategy and vision. 

From December 17, 2022-February 5, 2023 the ROOTS office will be closed, and staff will pause task-oriented work including external communication with members, partners, and collaborators. We will return to regular day-to-day operations on Monday, February 6, 2023. Everything currently slated for 2023 – including ROOTS Week, ROOTS Weekends, Artistic Assistance, Intercultural Leadership Institute, and more – will continue as planned.

The idea of ROOTS taking a Chrysalis was first named by a member in a committee meeting in 2020.  This concept, modeled after a Chrysalis year that a ROOTS’ adjacent organization had engaged with back in 2019, has been re-imagined by ROOTS staff as a meaningful and thoughtful way to address some of the most pressing challenges that the organization has been experiencing: specifically, around how the recent growth in staff size and scope of their work, has outpaced internal capacities.

From the moment Chrysalis was first named as a possibility until now, the big questions have been: what would we focus on during Chrysalis, how much time would we need, and how much time could we feasibly devote to it?

Given our commitments to our mission, members, and funders, a month is what is possible for the ROOTS calendar. This will allow us to focus on a few crucial areas that will help us work better together in our current formation.. During this time the staff will engage in facilitated training and strategic planning focused on:

  • Solidifying a decision making process that aligns with our values
  • Exploring values-aligned management practices
  • Building up the internal infrastructure needed to support our workflow
  • Deepening the strategy for completing our current strategic plan
  • Developing a plan for the BUILD Committee recommendations that fall to the staff
  • Dreaming about our 50th Anniversary in 2026

At the close of the Chrysalis month, we’ll engage in a staff-wide evaluation of the process and share our reflections with the ROOTS membership as well as the field.

All this good, deep work will be bookended by time for rest. Staff will enter into the January Chrysalis fresh from our annual December Staff Reflection. And we’ll conclude the Chrysalis with a week of rest before re-opening the office on February 6.

Reflecting on the decision to take a Chrysalis month, our Executive Director, Michelle Ramos and Executive Committee Chair Stephen Clapp, had this to say:

Through our collective leadership, our team has asked that we pause, reflect, and dream for the future. As we anticipate our 50th anniversary in 2026, I am excited for what this opportunity will bring for our staff, our membership, and how we can model for the field the intentional balancing of care and organizational planning.”
————————————————–       —————————————————————-– Michelle Ramos

“As a ROOTS member for 22 years, I am deeply proud to be part of an organization that centers care for its staff, and is making space to address organizational challenges and build a collective course of action aimed at helping the staff do its work better, more efficiently, more effectively and with deeper and wider impact.

———————————————————————————————————————- – Stephen Clapp

We know that closing the ROOTS office for a month is no small feat, especially for a membership organization. In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing more details about how we are preparing to make this as seamless as possible as well as how members can participate in this Chrysalis reflection and strategy time.

We are grateful for this opportunity to focus internally and hopeful it will bring renewed clarity and energy to all the work ahead. 

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.