The Gathering Strength Initiative

(Re)Connecting to Cause

In this time of extreme hardship and heated confrontation, the Gathering Strength Initiative creates vital space for healing, reflection, and calm. The physical, psychic and emotional tolls of fighting for change threaten to burn out a whole generation of activists and change-makers. The path to healing unfolds through both inner and community-wide work, reconnecting us to human interdependence and partnership for purpose.

The Action Lab imagines a world where bold action includes bold restoration—a world that supports practices to step back, restore, and reflect, and action aligned with interconnection and community. Through retreats, fellowships, and shared practices in person and virtually, the Gathering Strength Initiative supports this generation of leaders to take wise action to heal, connect, deeply listen, and build a new level of personal, organizational, and community resilience and interdependence.

The Initiative collaborates with a diverse set of leaders—from healers, to innovators in leadership, to those building anti-racist, equitable organizations, to leaders from varying global traditions—to deepen our shared understanding of how the practices, systems, and structures we are building in our movements now can and must plant the seeds of resilience, justice, and health that we imagine for our shared future. This work informs on-site retreats and work in fellowship, and, as importantly, feeds a networked national community of leaders infusing and reshaping organizing and institution-building habits on the front lines of our shared fight.

Program Highlights: In 2021 we launched the Gathering Strength Initiative with our signature Take a Breath Residency program. Twenty eight movement organizers, leaders, and artists from throughout the United States participated in four cohorts of a week-long residency hosted at our retreat center in Ossining, New York. Designed for rest and reflection, the Take a Breath Residency introduces the concepts of self and collective care as staples of movement resilience and sustainability, and urges movement leaders to consider the well-being of people as one criteria for success.

Take A Breath Residencies 2022 Kick Off 

Building a people-centered and -led movement demands care for the well-being of those whose love, imagination, and labor are so deeply invested in our collective future. Rooted in the traditions of healing justice, which have nourished and sustained resistance and social change work in this country since its founding, The Action Lab’s Take a Breath Residencies offer up space for individual movement organizers, artists, and leaders to rest, reflect, and cultivate practices that will strengthen their efforts to imagine and create a more just and equitable future. 

We’re thrilled to welcome our four 2022 cohorts of Take A Breath fellows to The Action Lab’s campus in Upstate New York. Click through to read their bios!