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Our Mission

We support inspired social movements and community leaders who catalyze social transformation and radical engagement to foster a healthy, interdependent, relational culture of complex connection.

Relational Uprising is a training, coaching and consulting project that supports inspired activists, and organizers engaged in frontline movement building to cultivate interdependent relational culture.

We believe it is time for a new era of social change work in which we bring an intentionally humanizing, relational culture to our lives, organizations and movements.

Our work presents a nuanced approach to issues of identity, intersectionality, and power using an embodied, relational practice of narrative and somatic movement.

Our History

The inspiration for Relational Uprising was born from our learning at the intersection of deep social justice organizing work and somatic healing and education. 

Before launching as Relational Uprising, the project was incubated with Mark Fairfield, founder of the Leadership Institute at the Relational Center, an innovative Los Angeles-based non-profit dedicated to building capacity for a shift in culture toward one that values empathy, diversity, and interdependency.

Relational Uprising now has partnered and it is fiscally sponsored by The Watershed Center in Millerton New York, a social justice retreat center for changemakers, where we hold our residential trainings.

Our Community Partners

We are deeply inspired to be in relationship with many change-making movements and organizations that are adapting relational culture tools and principles into their organizing efforts. We follow the leadership of MomentumAyni InstituteEthics and the Common Good at Hampshire CollegeMovimiento Cosecha, IfNotKnow, and Sunrise Movement.

 
 
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"Through relational practices we learn how to build really strong relationships in which we can work better within our communities"

— José Luis Santiago, Movimiento Cosecha

 

Our Team

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Cedar Landsman is a heart-centered community organizer, trainer, and consultant committed to deep community building for the purpose of radical social, economic and cultural transformation. She has worked in the field of social justice for over 15 years, from the global justice movement to the low-wage labor movement to the fight for a just and fair food system. She currently serves as Co-Director at Relational Uprising. Cedar holds a BA in globalization theory and social movement history from Hampshire College and Master’s degrees in Urban Planning and Latin American Studies from UCLA.

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Lucién Demaris, MA, has been a Somatics-based healer, educator and consultant for over fifteen years in the US and internationally, rooting his work in deep ecological values of mutual support and stewardship of the Earth. He was born and raised in Quito, Ecuador, and roots his work in the values of indigenous healers from his country. He currently serves as Co-Director at Relational Uprising, where he developed a Relational Somatics frame for change makers. Lucién is a member of the Social Transformation Project network of practitioners of the Art of Transformational Consulting, a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner of Somatic Education, a California Licensed Acupuncturist and a Nationally Certified Bodyworker.

Our Theoretical Roots

As our name implies, we teach a radical relational perspective on change work. Our approach is grounded in social constructionism and relational phenomenological theory, and integrates Gestalt philosophy, social neuroscience, somatic perspectives and indigenous epistemologies which see humans as radically prosocial animals and culture as a vital site of intervention.

Our approach is embodied (i.e., asserts that attending to the quality of our physical experience is a reliable way to access agency for change), developmental (i.e., assumes people are always striving to grow even in the midst of suffering, hardship, illness or poverty), existential (i.e., understands each human identity to be fluid, emergent and responsive to the compelling tasks confronting us in each given context). 

It is also grounded in public narrative and public dialogue (i.e., assert that human contact and relating through appreciative dialogue and values-based narratives are the most reliable methods for gaining access to others’ perspectives, experiences, and also to build and organize a collective narrative for social change and shifting culture), and in deep ecology (i.e., asserts the need to cultivate a culture that remembers and reclaim our role as living beings and stewards that rise to the challenge of embracing diversity and complexity in a living interdependent Ecosphere).