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The Roots of Leadership and Social Justice

A tree has to have strong roots in order to grow, prosper, and be successful in its purpose. This metaphor explains that those who want to pursue leadership and social justice needs to have purpose. One must set a strong foundation of support, knowledge, motivational forces, and love, so that they can grow, prosper, and be successful in their field of leadership and/or social justice. This idea can be applied to almost every aspect of our lives, but when it comes to leadership and social justice, this idea is very relevant and important to remember in order to complete a leadership task..

A leader is an individual who can use their power or platform to persuade and draw followers in. Leaders know how to make their followers feel equal and rather than submissive and unimportant. Leaders know that their followers are a part of their foundation, and they often treat them as such.These leadership qualities relate back to a tree and its roots. A tree without strong roots will not be able to grow or even stand strong and tall. It first grows its roots and then grows larger and taller until it sprouts up into the sky. Therefore, if the leader were the tree, they need to first set their roots and foundation before they can spread and become a strong tree, only then will they reach their and societies expectations.

A social justice leader or activist must act as a tree when it comes to being successful in their purpose and making the change they are advocating for. For example, if a leader is advocating for the end of racism, they must first educate people on what racism is they may be able to provide steps and/or a plan on how to remove racism in their group, the educated individuals may then be able to eradicate and end racism in their societies. Leaders must find people who want the same things as them and they must gain a following of people who are willing to advocate for the cause. Leaders also need to have supportive individuals that can back them in everything they are doing. This is how setting a foundation and growing a strong foundation looks.

From a personal experience, I believe that setting a foundation is extremely important and that leaders must have the same mindset in order to be successful and accomplish a goal. My godmother, Tesha Boyd is Mentor of the Year in the city of Charlotte, North Carolina (2017), because she knew how to set a strong foundation of supporters, endorsers and advertisers. Tesha made connections and gained everything she needed to create the huge success of a youth program she has now. This program teaches underprivileged kids how to be successful in school life lessons, how to treat others and just how to do everything in excellence. She has gathered volunteers, such as myself and some other peers of mine, and she asked us to advocate for the program that she has created. She made sure to get her name out there and she eventually gained the children, parents, money, donations in order to start. She still gets resources to keep the program running. This example shows that a leader needs to realize that they cannot do anything by themselves. There is no such thing as a self-made man, because every leader has had people backing them up and supporting them.

A concept that sweeps all of these things together would be Community-Conferred Leadership. A leader must treat their peers, subordinates, and higher ups as family as if they are a community (which they are) and build up from that. A community is made up of many different types of people and supporters. Therefore, a leader and their community or group must be diverse and inclusive. A leader cannot limit their community to only people that look, act, speak and think like them, or not much will get done and they will probably not reach their goals. This comes right back around to having a strong foundation, because not only must a foundation be strong, it needs to be diverse and inclusive, because if there are many different types of people with different experiences, perspectives, ideas, values and attitudes then the community will accomplish many things.

A strong and diverse community-oriented foundation is what a leader needs in order to prosper, be successful and fulfill their purpose in social justice or anything else.

Source: Brittney Windham