Dear generative somatics (gs) community, 

As we near the end of 2021, the gs staff is feeling grateful for your connection with gs. We are also reflecting on the significant pressures and changes that so many of us have been in, in our lives and organizations, over the last two years.
Two years ago we did not know about quarantining and sheltering-in-place. As we were confronted with those huge challenges, many of us also saw things more clearly and took action toward community care and interdependence. As an organization, gs has also confronted unprecedented challenges that ultimately are moving us toward more alignment with our commitments to racial justice and collective power. 

Today we are writing to share some updates about gs these past years (see below). We are sharing in this way, because we believe that operating in radical transparency is important for relationship building within our community. Most of these updates have already been shared with our teachers, practitioners, partner organizations, alumni, donors, and funders. After reading, if you have questions, feedback, or concerns, please reach out to us ( and
Please note that gs staff will be on break December 18th - January 2nd. This conversation will be ongoing and we look forward to connecting with you. 

With appreciation, 
Saima and Usa Lee, gs Interim co-Directors

Looking back

Some background

For more than a decade, gs has made a powerful contribution to social and climate justice movements. The programs and methodology of gs support leaders to heal and transform, to embody their deepest longings and boldest visions. This continues to have a profound impact, in tangible and intangible ways. 

Over the last two years, like you, gs navigated uniquely challenging external conditions. Internally at gs, our historical gs leadership transitioned out of their roles, and most of our current staff leadership joined in 2020. During the height of the pandemic, gs practitioners and teachers self-organized and moved independently to support organizers and others on the ground. However, gs as an organization ran very little programming. This was difficult given that we knew our communities needed support. 

This pause in programming happened for several reasons, but a primary reason was that many of our lead teachers were declining to teach or lead in other ways. These declines reflected deeper issues that we needed to understand better. To that end, we invested several months in engaging teachers and practitioners (prioritizing BIPOC) to share their experiences and insights.

What we learned

gs teachers and practitioners have and continue to share about the powerful relationships formed through gs and the impacts that have been made. As a collective, they also share about significant contradictions and challenges in how the programmatic and organizational work of gs got done. Working inside the conditions of white supremacy and capitalism, many competing priorities and needs emerged and were being balanced by visionary and committed leaders who built gs. Ultimately, the balance got too far out of alignment with our core values.
The leadership of Black, Indigenous, People of Color contributed immensely to the creation and evolution of gs and our methodology. At the same time, there have been repeated calls over many years for gs to deal with organizational issues. In particular: centralized power and decision-making, white supremacy culture, and anti-Black racism. For the first ten years of gs, many people contributed leadership, however, centralized power played out in that a very small number of core leaders held most of the institutional power and decision-making in the organization, programs, and methodology. Some examples of white supremacy culture were: belief in one right way, overly fast pace, urgency, and perfectionism. Anti-Black racism showed up in that overall, as an organization, gs embodied a lack of prioritization and commitment to Black people and Black liberation. One specific way that showed up was in how the Black roots of our methodology’s lineage were not honored or visibilized. While gs took steps over the years to address these issues, those attempts were not able to bring about a new organizational shape and culture. 

What we did and are still learning from

In the context of those organizational issues, we held several processes to make space for our community of teachers and practitioners to name hurts that were invisibilized for many years. We have heard from teachers and practitioners that holding group conversations to reveal people’s experiences has been powerful and disrupted systems that were not allowing these stories to be held collectively. These processes aimed to make space for BIPOC leadership to freely lead gs into its next phase. 

Since then, as a staff, we have given advanced teachers the space they need and have asked for. We have also been in the work of accountability, healing, and changing the way our organization functions. It is our hope that our work will in time build trust and invite teachers back in in a new way. All of this takes time and space. All of this asks gs to be very different from the organization we have been, and different from most non-profits in the conditions of racialized capitalism.

Programs and change

Throughout this time we heard from many teachers and practitioners that they want to continue to bring politicized somatics to movements. 
In spring 2021, gs staff connected with gs practitioners and teachers (prioritizing BIPOC) to hear what they wanted to offer through gs, and what they needed (support, resources, training). Building from those conversations and grounding in gs’ Strategic Priorities, a program plan was developed. New ideas grew from the broad outreach done in this process, as well as from the conditions of being a year into a global pandemic. While BIPOC leaders have always been at the forefront of gs program planning, this year new possibilities for BIPOC leadership opened up to bring new ideas and innovative ways of doing things. 
While some of the most advanced gs teachers have left or are taking space from the organization, a new generation of teachers and practitioners are coming forward in a new way. These teachers and practitioners come with a strong foundation from many years in their own somatic practice, movement work, gs courses, client work and supervision, and teacher training. To build on that, they are cultivating authenticity, inviting innovation, and trusting their leadership and offer. Providing the space, support, and resources for leaders to emerge in their most authentic expression with gs’ methodology is creating change. Change is happening in how we build teaching teams, how curriculum is created, how teachers and practitioners prepare to teach and hold space, and how they engage with participants. The way teachers and practitioners are doing work is starting to look and feel different as we extend them trust and invite them to express gs’ methodology in a more expansive manner (read more about BIPOC Embodied Leadership here).
We are centering the wisdom that comes through BIPOC bodies leading gs’ methodology by empowering teachers and practitioners to collaboratively design curriculum and deliver programming. We are practicing a new way of holding rigor and accountability within a pace that supports all of our well-being. 

Organizational change

As we relaunch programming, we are being intentional in how we shape culture and rebuild systems to embody our commitment to racial justice and collective power. We understand that culture change is not just about changing individual behaviors. It is important for our approach to be both relational and systematic.
We are distributing leadership and sharing power across staff, board, and with practitioners and teachers. We are working to practice transparency and engage community members through kindness, deep listening, centering all of our humanity, and taking actions to be accountable to past and current harms. The organizational culture we are creating allows us to hold space for one another, work at a pace that is sustainable, honor that staff are human with complicated lives outside of work, address conflicts, and provide space for practice. This all allows us to similarly hold space for our teachers and practitioners with all the contradictions they are often in and bring to us. We are practicing communicating transparently and collectively for the sake of open dialogue and shared accountability. And finally, in alignment with our values of economic justice, we are fully compensating everyone’s contributions and labor, which includes substantially increasing teacher pay rates. 

What's next

The work that the gs staff, board, teachers, and practitioners are doing to heal and change is just beginning. We are learning at every step and moving toward the future of gs in a collaborative, decisive, new, and emergent way. 

This is all a work in progress as we rebuild systems, honor the wisdom of our teachers and practitioners, and move forward collectively towards our visions. In the coming year, we will continue working to transform centralized power and white supremacy culture, we will prioritize addressing anti-Black racism in gs, and we will work to become an organization that more deeply and consistently embodies racial justice. We are building on the work of advanced teachers to decolonize gs’ lineage to properly honor the Black, Indigenous, and Asian roots our lineage is built on and give credit to the many leaders, healers, and organizers who contributed to this work. We will also cull and share lessons gs has learned over the years and what we continue to learn in real-time for the sake of transparency and collective knowledge sharing. Lastly, we will put in place systems and processes to proactively address future harms. To do this work, we will seek leadership, guidance, and support from our community of practitioners and teachers, as well as from external consultants with relevant expertise. 

For our programs, we are moving at a sustainable pace. Over the next months, we will reconnect with past Movement Partners, offer additional courses, a practice space for alumni and those familiar with politicized somatics, trainings for practitioners and teachers, and support for BIPOC practitioners wishing to develop as supervisors. 

We will share more about all this in 2022. 

Be in touch

If you have questions, feedback, or concerns about gs as an organization, including or beyond this update, please reach out to gs staff at and Please note that gs staff will be on break December 18th - January 2nd. This conversation will be ongoing and we look forward to connecting with you.

generative somatics |