No More Names – Action Summit to Prevent Gun Violence

Dear Gun Violence Prevention Supporters,

                The Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention and Treatment and the Florida Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition is proud to announce our partnership in sponsoring

                                “NO MORE NAMES” ACTION SUMMIT

                                      TO PREVENT GUN VIOLENCE

               Committed to passing federal gun violence prevention legislation

                        and supporting ongoing community action to save lives

                                July 19, 2013
                                10:00 AM – 1:30 PM
                                Christ the King Lutheran Church
                                11295 SW 57th Avenue, Miami FL  33156
                                Complimentary networking lunch provided
                                RSVP Required

                The purpose of the summit is to unite our considerable forces to demonstrate to Congress Florida’s overwhelming support for common sense measure to keep guns out of dangerous hands.  We cordially invite and encourage you to participate in this important event to help assure passage of the lifesaving gun violence prevention legislation likely to be heard in Congress in late July or September.

                This is not a general public discussion of gun issues, but rather a call to action for supporters who are stepping up, speaking up and joining up to save lives. This event is by invitation to a broad range of organizations and individuals.  We encourage you to suggest others who should be invited by sending name, organization and contact information to Linda Vaughn, Florida Coordinator, Mayors Against Illegal Guns ( / 850-728-3520).  We especially want to reach out to:
Republicans, gun owners and law enforcement officers (current and former) who support the federal legislation, especially background checks.  And, as always, include survivors and family members of victims of gun violence who support our efforts.

                This brief outline for the Summit will be expanded into a full agenda which you will receive prior to the event.  Your suggestions for the agenda are welcome.

10:00 AM – Introductions and Briefing: Introduction of attendees; update on federal legislation and identifying

                  action needed and goals
11:00 AM –11:20 AM: Networking break / refreshments
11:20 – 12:15:  Planning & commitment session: Identifying common goals; coordinating actions among groups; 
                        assessing and securing resources needed for supporting the legislation
12:30 – 1:30: Networking lunch buffet (Complimentary – Reservation Required)


                                                                          PLEASE RSVP TO
                                                Rachel Hernandez –

Please remember to indicate whether your RSVP includes the networking luncheon.  The quantity of food provided will be based on the RSVPs.  We will make a special effort to accommodate food allergies, sensitivities and preferences.

Please join this dynamic network passionately committed to saving lives! Now is our best opportunity to make meaningful changes in our nation’s gun polices. Let’s seize it!  Come be the change we want to see in the world!

Melissa Institute Mission Statement: “The mission of The Melissa Institute is to ensure that the latest research findings are applied to reduce violence and to assist victims and their families. The Institute fulfills this mission through education, community service, research support and

Mayors Against Illegal Guns: Created in April 2006 Mayors Against Illegal Guns is the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country.  MAIG’s nearly 1,000 mayors and 1.5 million grassroots supporters are Republicans, Democrats, Independents and gun owners. 
MAIG has united the nation and its mayors around these common goals:
*       Require background checks for all gun purchases
*       Keep lethal, military style weapons and high capacity magazines off
our streets.
*       Pass federal legislation against gun trafficking

                Please sign the Demand Action petition at
                More information about MAIG:

Linda Vaughn

Regional Director

Mayors Against Illegal Guns

“We must be the change we wish to see in the world.”  
Mahatma Gandhi 

Miami-Dade CBC Alliance 2.0

This is the story about a 25 member board called the Miami-Dade CBC Alliance that is charged with engaging the community in advocating for a family‐centered, culturally competent and outcomes-driven system of care that enhances the safety, permanency and well-being of children and families. We are trying to activate ourselves to become a change agent, especially to foster an engagement culture change and move towards a learning culture. Easy huh? This board has been established by Florida Statute thirteen years ago. Only time will tell if we were able to turn our thoughts into action, regardless, I am very interested in documenting the steps we are taking. I am convinced now that the process of achieving our goals is as important as the product itself. Not only tactics, strategies and blueprints produce change and impact; a lot has to do with the network of relationships that share a vision and set of beliefs.       

So how did this start? After the last Annual Regional Child Welfare Conference I felt very uncomfortable with its results. The Regional Conference is a collaborative effort that has been happening for the past 7 years and has grown into its own huge 500 person event with 24 workshops and 2 plenary speakers. It has been quite successful. Something was not right though. But it should not be that hard to fix- . Google 101: how to organize a better conference.

Turns out my doubts were not in relation to the organization of the event but in reference to the links between what we wanted to accomplish and the conference attendees. I had to actually stop and take a hard long look at this. 

A few weeks later I had a conversation with a Board member who let me know she felt she could provide so much more support to the CBC Alliance but she felt that too many things were decided at the Executive Committee level and did not trickle down to the full board. So we had a meeting with our Board Chair, who was very open, and brainstormed on how to better engage board members. The answer could not rely on creating sub-committee because that had been tried before my time and they fizzled out and it had been tried during my time as an Executive Director and out of approximately 8, only 2 survived. We discussed working around prevention issues since it was a common denominator around the table, most board members were already doing it in one way or another. This idea was presented at the next board meeting and positively voted on. Then we organized a Board Retreat, which was not really a retreat but a 3 hour meeting.

I was not comfortable with the result of the retreat either. The idea was to divide it into 2 parts, one having to do with internal board issues (engagement, capacity building and board development) and another to set the priorities that we wanted to concentrate on in relation to prevention. There were debates, discussions, opinions but no real agreement. The board was divided into remaining as an oversight board and working on specific projects.

We are now at the phase where we are continuing the work that has started at the retreat. Several members are involved in this process and will continue to meet during the summer. Our work will be presented at the September board meeting. We have also experimented with new ideas at the Regional Conference Sub-committee level. 

I read a concept by Steve Boyd regarding positive deviant-based innovation. I hope we can become “social deviants.” The premise behind positive deviant-based innovation is that you can find insiders approximating the behaviors needed for a cultural change, and the community can work within itself to spread those behaviors, and find new ones, and make the change collectively. It doesn’t require outsiders, except to bring and spread the idea of positive deviancy.

He believes you can’t predict where the cultural change will start, but you can predict how it will spread: through strong ties. Let’s try it out!


Organize for complexity

The following post has been reblogged from Curtis Odgen at the Interaction Institute for Social Change. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Thanks to Harold Jarche for turning me on to this beta codex networkpresentation about seeing and designing organizations as networks.  It captures much of the learning that has been coming out of our work at IISC with different kinds and scales of networks for social change.  Below is a list of ten key points from the presentation:

  1. A smarter and more useful way to look at organizations is to see them as a network. This is not only more aligned with science than the mechanistic “pyramid” dogma, but it is also by far closer to reality.
  2. Organizational robustness comes from the quality and quantity of the interconnections between humans and teams – not from rules, bosses, or standards.
  3. In dynamic systems, the way out of the control dilemma is through decentralization, or devolution, of decision-making, which becomes far more effective. This way, decisions are taken where interaction with and learning from the market occurs.
  4. A network gains stability and resilience not through hierarchical power relationships, but through the “pull” that comes from the external market [larger system], and from the complex human relationships it nourishes internally.
  5. In a decentralized network structure, “positions” cease to exist. “Roles” rule. Individuals usually are not confined to one network cell alone, but will act in different cells, filling in different roles in different parts of the network.
  6. A network can create and should create conditions for self-development, and it can also take care that leaders get out of the way by not trying to control or contain self-development.
  7. Cultivate principles, not rules.
  8. Leadership has to be work focused on improving the system, on making the larger system palpable inside the organization through transparency and dialogue, and on allowing for self-organization and social pressure to function.
  9. Work on the system, not the people.
  10. Let purpose drive behavior, not numbers or manipulative and controlling processes.

Networks: Redefining Who and What Matters

The following post has been reblogged from Curtis Odgen at the Interaction Institute for Social Change. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Part of what excites me about taking a network approach to social and system change is the notion that we lead with contribution before credential.  This means being open to the idea, for example, that a 15-year-old high schooler or home schooler might have as much to offer a given conversation as someone with a PhD, that lived experience can be as valuable if not more so than formal education, that those on the so-called margins often have a clearer view of what’s going on than those who sit at the center.

We have all been trained to see others, and ourselves, in limited ways, to see what constitutes “value” in specific and limited ways. Our vision is constrained, in part, by the fractured systems that we have inherited and that get reinforced on a daily basis, including existing patterns of connection and flows of resources.  These “formal” systems (educational, economic, health care, political, etc.) make their own statements about what and who is of value.

The challenge, the opportunity and the invitation then is to engage in the work of redefining and reconnecting, to rewire these systems so that new kinds of value flow in new ways for the benefit of all.  This makes network building much more than simply building interpersonal relationships and trust, as much as that matters. It’s about changing the way see ourselves, one another, and really the world so that we can bring it closer to our shared vision.

In this sense, generosity can be a revolutionary act.  It starts with reaching inside ourselves and understanding all that we have the offer.  It continues with reaching out, learning about and appreciating the gifts others possess.  Then we weave myriad threads of these discoveries into systems of greater abundance that reflect and call on our better selves.

Welcome to our new Website and Blog!

Dear Colleagues and Partners,

We are  excited to introduce a new platform to aid us in achieving our mission and goals.  The CBC Alliance is driven by its mission to engage the community in advocating for a family-centered, culturally competent and outcomes-driven system of care that enhances the safety, permanency and well-being of children and families.

Through this blog we will share our work,  our Annual Child Welfare Regional Conference,  community events  and relevant updates on the child welfare system. We would also like to share with you bits and pieces of research and news which will serve us as food for thought.

Please use this opportunity to express yourself and provide us feedback and ideas on how to improve our child welfare system. We plan on gathering stories, observations and reflections from our foster parents and foster youth as well.

Special thanks to Norman Baker who has provided the Miami CBC Alliance with free website services for many years.

Thank you for reading!

Miami CBC Alliance  – The Community’s Voice in Child Welfare