Becoming more of us

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

By Moira Bowman

I have never been party to naming a child. I’ve given my opinion many times but (usually) only when asked.  So when Eveline told me we were going to rename ACRJ I feel like I had the tiniest bit of understanding of how daunting the task of naming can be.  But we weren’t naming a child.  Maybe what we have done is closer to the experience of many of my friends who have renamed themselves over the years.  We were renaming an organization with a personality, a history, and expansive web relationships crossing many communities and places.  We were the same organization but we wanted to be more “us.”

Yep, it was daunting.  First I felt excited and then overwhelmed by all the questions in my head:  How do you even pick a name?  Are there any names left? Can you capture the essence of an organization in a name?  Will people think my ideas are corny?  Can someone else just decide?

While I was not responsible for the final outcome, I was responsible for managing the process.  So we did what anyone who doesn’t know what they are doing would do.  We brought in professionals – Lightbox Collaborative and Mission Minded – two firms that steadily guided us through the morass of questions and anxieties.  And then we brought in friends.  My favorite moment in the naming process was sitting in a room with over 20 loving supporters of ACRJ brainstorming over 200 possible options for a new name.  It was a glorious explosion of ideas generated from a circle of friends that truly wanted to help us become more us.  Each one of them deserves a toast for their work to help us see who we are. 

In the end, I’m so excited about Forward Together: So All Families Can Thrive.  It says two things that help me feel at home in this organization.  Forward Together speaks to me of the potential of collaboration and creation in community.  I like exploring all the possibilities for change but I don’t want to do it alone.  So All Families Can Thrive steers all this forward motion in a direction I want to go – a place where the courageous and innovative ways we create family for ourselves is met with dignity, support and justice.  The goal was to feel and be more of what we already are –  I’m satisfied.