A Wish for 2023
By Chris Melody Fields Figueredo
A new year often offers an opportunity to reset, a fresh start, and hope for what lies ahead. Many of us take the opportunity at the beginning of the year to reflect, create resolutions, or set intentions to pave the way forward.
I have struggled starting 2023. I’ve done all the things I normally do – reflect, set intentions, anticipate the year ahead. I’ve gone through all the motions but I’m stuck. I haven’t been able to take the step forward and settle into the new year.
Perhaps it’s how it already feels so much like the years before – more erosion of democracy, more climate disasters, more unrest. The violence of the last week alone in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay targeting Asian communities coupled with the release of the footage of the cruel and unnecessary murder of Tyre Nichols makes it hard to move forward. We have a gun violence and police brutality crisis in America and are constantly met with inaction and lack of accountability. Families should be safe celebrating Lunar New Year, farmers should be safe at work, and Tyre should be alive, skateboarding, and raising his son. It’s hard to not be enraged, despondent, and numb.
But I am again reminded that hope is a discipline and the offering that a new year brings to bend the arc closer toward justice.
It is the year of the rabbit in the Chinese zodiac calendar, which brings a year of prosperity, abundance, and hope. If you add the numbers in 2023, it equals seven, which in numerology signifies inward reflection. To me that means 2023 provides an opening for us to look within and more deeply understand our roles in bringing forth the outcomes we seek by tapping into the generosity in our circles and giving space to dream. We don’t have to do it alone. We can look within our communities, movements, and organizations.
2023 marks BISC’s 25th anniversary year. A year where we are doing our own inward reflection of the last five years of impact, growth, and forward momentum towards building an equitable and just world. As we enter this year and navigate these continually turbulent times, it is important as an organization to reground ourselves in who we are, what we stand for, and our strategic framework – each guide us and clarify our purpose. When I am wavering, lost, and unable to understand the path forward, I often turn to these documents to set me back on course.
So what does 2023 hold for BISC? A LOT! We are coming off incredible victories in 2022, which means the road ahead is a year of implementation, incubation, and capacity building while also defending the People’s tool. Throughout the year, BISC will support our partners in implementing their 2022 victories and delivering for their communities. Without letting the dust settle on 2022, we instantly moved into defending direct democracy in states like Ohio and Missouri, where state legislators are trying to change the rules to limit the ability of citizens to bring forth and pass ballot measures.
We are also working closely with our partners to understand the ballot measure landscape and supporting the incubation of efforts to build off the success of the last four election cycles on economic justice, democracy, healthcare, reproductive freedom issues, and more.
As we move through the incubation period of the 360 ballot measure lifecycle, we are helping partners with exploratory research and strengthening and building coalitions through BISC’s Declaration of Equity and Accountability. The tools, resources, and support we supply to partners will help folx move towards the decision-making phase of whether to move forward with a campaign. Additionally, we will be working with partners to address some of the challenges they encountered during the qualification phase, specifically with signature gathering.
Finally, throughout the year, we will continue to support our peer learning communities to share best practices and get real-time support as they move through the 360 ballot measure lifecycle. All of this supports our capacity-building efforts which will culminate in the return of our signature in-person training to support equitable and winning campaigns.
I’ve just scratched the surface of how BISC is working in 2023 to strengthen our democracy and support efforts to build a world where people live with dignity and thrive. Every step along the way, we will continue to ensure the people and communities specifically Black, Latinx, Asian & Pacific Islander, Indigenous, and young people are centered and included in our ballot measure dreams. In fact, since this is our 25th anniversary year, we hope to include you in our dream-making for the next 25 years as we convene our communities at events like our annual Road Ahead conference.
There is so much possibility ahead which is helping refill my well and move forward. Over the end-of-year break, I listened to the audiobook of The House in the Cerulean Sea with my daughter on a road trip which filled me with hope for the world we can build if we accept, protect, and love each other. One of the characters had this to say about wishes: “Sometimes all it took to make them come true was a first step.” So although I have felt stuck and slow to start 2023, I am taking the first step by speaking into existence my wish for 2023.
I wish that 2023 be a prosperous, joyful year for all of us, filled with radical dreaming of our future.