The Icarus Project: Postmortem
Role: National Organizer (first person in this role)
Duration: December 2014 - May 2015
Categories: Nonprofit, Mental Health
- Organizational Strategy (development and implementation)
- Project Management (locally and nationally)
- Training & Mentorship (locally and nationally)
I was hired by The Icarus Project collective members in December of 2014 to support the support network by advising on and participating in the next wave of The Icarus Project’s developing national organizing strategy and organizational development. There was a lot of work to be done and the collective members recognized that they needed help articulating a vision with actionable steps.
The Icarus Project describes itself as "a support network and media project by and for people who experience the world in ways that are often diagnosed as mental illness. We advance social justice by fostering mutual aid practices that reconnect healing and collective liberation. We transform ourselves through transforming the world around us."
Between December 2014 - May 2015, I accomplished the following:
- Developed and shared a "Decolonize The Icarus Project" strategy brief that was to inform national organizing strategy and organizational development. Advocated for and wrote a public announcement about these efforts.
- Led outreach to identify and engage with the (then) 15 TIP local chapters and affinity groups, updated the local contacts page on the TIP website and circulated contact information with partner groups and in online communities.
- Coordinated with TIP local chapter organizers on a weekly basis to meet needs ranging from training, mentorship, peer group meeting planning and more. Fielded questions and requests via email daily and advocated on behalf of TIP member needs and concerns in Icarus National leadership meetings.
- Advocated for and produced a multi-city TIP Local Chapter Organizer Training tour. Led trainings on The Icarus Project resources such as Mad Maps, answered & compiled TIP organizer questions and requests and generated written reporting and audio recordings (with consent from all parties) that was shared with Icarus National. Created and shared workshop evaluation forms and received high marks from local chapter participants.
- Helped to edit the first in a series of Mad Maps publications and coordinated the acquisition of original drawings and other art from local chapter members to be included in the publication.
- Functioned as lead admin in The Icarus Project (private) Facebook group that had thousands of active members. Wrote the first community guidelines and accountability processes for the group that centered Black & POC members.
- Managed The Icarus Project social media channels and kept the community updated with timely reports on Icarus National activity, TIP events, related news and more. Consistently shared content and resources that demonstrated TIP's commitment to (then) centering Black folks and POC.
- Coordinated and documented (with consent) the first Black and POC-centered The Icarus Project organizer meeting in New Orleans. Until this intervention and advocacy, the local chapter was by and for white members in a city that is predominantly Black.
- Received positive feedback across the board during the performance review period in February of 2015 and was extended the offer to officially join The Icarus Project as a collective member.
- Started, documented and shared important conversations with all local chapter organizers. This information was used by Icarus National to fundraise, including using me as the "face" of the organization for a video-submission grant opportunity in April of 2015.
Here is a testimonial from Amanda Gelender, Social Impact Project Manager at GitHub and former The Icarus Project chapter organizer: