Two PURPOSE team members with open mouthed smiles stand in the background, in front of a white wall with black African art and pink post its. One wears a rust colored dress with black-gray swooping short hair. The second stands a foot taller in all black with lowcut black hair and a black beard. In the foreground are three more hands and everyone holds a clear plastic cup of amber bubbling champagne. This toast closed our PURPOSE training in 2019.

Nine years ago today, I sent an email naming and claiming PURPOSE Productions. Even then, I knew PURPOSE wasn’t mine. I never had any desire to be entrepreneur or CEO or boss, and I had come understand the necessity of my work in the world. My community of NYC artists taught me that I was trained different. I understood the power of creativity in community; I wanted to cultivate both. My experiences gave me particular tools and practices to support creative and communal thriving.

FAST FORWARD . . . We’ve collaborated with 45 PURPOSE team members. These brilliant beings have transformed their relationship to work – exploring anti-capitalism in daily practice and cultivating their self-determined liberated lifestyle – while offering necessary support to the creative visions of over 50 Sojourners. Each of those generous visionaries have taken a journey with us and for that we are endlessly grateful. These journeys have come with celebrations and lessons, failures and transformations. We have done our best to apologize for our fuck ups while inviting folx to be with us in our humanity. And through that BEing, we have co-mothered many creations.

Eleven PURPOSE team members with wide-toothed grins stand along stairs in front of a white wall with a light wooden door in the center. On the left, a portion of the wooden banister is visible with two white support beams. In the top right is Nia's smiling face turned sideways. This was our second PURPOSE retreat in summer 2018.

Normally at this time of year, our community would get a few emails from us. The announcement of our annual hiring season, the reminder, the extended deadline, the final countdown. As 2021 waves and wiggles into 2022, we have just one message to share: we invite you to witness our transformation. For the first time since we began our annual team training, we will not invite folx to join PURPOSE. In indigenous traditions around the world, nine represents winds of change, thunderous transformation, and the threshold of life and death. Don’t fret, PURPOSE ain’t goin nowhere; our team made sure of that. And yet, we will soon be somewhere wholely different than where we began.

After nine years of ancestrally guided vision and five years of developing our collective and collaborative praxis (our first team training was August 2016), PURPOSE is stepping into a worker-owned cooperative structure. “Worker cooperatives are values-driven businesses that put worker and community benefit at the core of their purpose.” Sound familiar? As PURPOSE continues dreaming liberation together, this shift in “business” structure is a deepening of what we been doing, an invitation to continue integrating our values with our practices towards the people and projects we care for.

Four PURPOSE team members stand in the background in front of the siding of a reddish-brown building wearing tops that range from white to vibrant summer colors. In front of them sit four team members at a wooden table in a range of pinks, grays, and blues. Everyone smiles and the seated folx on the right and left lean on their arms toward the center. This was our first PURPOSE retreat in 2017 just after we had visited The Sable Project.

A beloved friend of mine described PURPOSE work as being “movement doulas.” This has felt like the truest articulation of who we are to date. As creative birth workers, we listen for how visionaries want to be held in their making, we advocate for those desires and resist any force that seeks to silence them, we sit in the process through the most messy and most joyful moments, we work towards keeping folx nourished before during and after the vision comes alive, and we cherish the vision as if it were one of our own. This is a PURPOSE journey. In 2022, we take this journey with ourselves.

Will you witness our (re)birth?

The first ever PURPOSE team member (Nia) stands in front of a black background with eyes squinting, mouth open in laughter. Yeye wears a black hoodie that reads "ASSATA TAUGHT ME" in thin white print. Their arms curl as if holding a baby with a phone in one hand and a paper program in the other. Photo by Charles R. Berenguer, Jr. - Ibaye