We help movement organizers mobilize resources by using data to communicate the impact of building relationship.
Though our work is relevant to many types of community, we center organizers in movements for justice and liberation.Join Our Network
Failing to invest in relationships undermines public health, education, and the fabric of our democracy. Without investment in relationships the movements we desperately need to fight for racial equity, climate resilience and economic justice are doomed to fail. Wherever we effectively invest in relationships our communities will thrive and our movements will give us cause for hope.
Humans can form relationships anywhere, but it’s often a struggle. Many people are skilled at helping this process along: through food, facilitation, emotional support, and a thousand other strategies. This relational labor cannot be automated or massively centralized, it must be performed in an intimate setting by someone who understands local context. In order to invest in relational movements we must meaningfully resource this relational work.
Relationships are generative, resilience-building and unpredictable. They do not conform to key metrics or quarterly goals, instead generating resilience and new possibilities. This makes it difficult to tell a funder what the impact of relational work will be ahead of time, and makes it difficult for people to know if relational work is effective unless they benefit from it directly. Relational work is also disproportionally performed by people of color, women, queer people and people with disabilities. The result? Relational work critical to our collective long-term survival often receives little to no material support from outside of the communities it benefits.
What if those of us who work to build relationships could point to conclusive evidence that our work is impactful? What if people who wanted to invest in everything from public health to education to climate resilience could direct their funding not just to new buildings, but to provably effective strategies for building human connection? By fostering a dialogue about what relational work is, what it needs to thrive and how to tell when it is making an impact, Relationality Lab hopes to create a world where people doing relational work can survive and thrive, everyone has regular access to human connection, and thriving movements meet the challenges of our century.
David’s movement roots begin in St. Louis, Missouri, where he practiced racial justice and LGBTQ+ organizing in high school. At the age of 18 he founded Asexuality.org, the world’s first major community of people identifying on the asexual spectrum, and began a career at the intersection of relational organizing and technology. He has contributed to software projects supporting post-publication scientific peer review, relational organizing in political campaigns, online brave spaces for LGBTQ+ young people, and comment systems at major news publications. Until recently he served as the Chief Mobilization Officer at the Center for Humane Technology, using relational tactics to bring together tech workers, policymakers, and survivors of harm to bring about systemic reform in the tech industry.
For over a decade, David has explored ways to combine established approaches in complex systems science, information theory, and evolutionary theory to address novel challenges in the study of relational systems in social movements. David holds a BA in Sociology and Physics from Wesleyan University and an MBA in Sustainable Business from the Presidio Graduate School.
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