Lessons from the National Domestic Workers Alliance Strategy – Organizing – Leadership (SOL) Initiative
Today’s millions of domestic workers in the U.S. play a critical role in our society, whether caring for our children, providing home health care for our elderly, or keeping our homes clean for our families. With the demographic growth of the elderly and disabled, domestic workers will only become more essential to our society. Yet, despite the importance and intimacy of their work to those who hire them, domestic workers have been largely invisible to society, undervalued in the labor market, and excluded from basic workplace standards and protections.
We begin the report by describing the National Domestic Workers Alliance Strategy — Organizing — Leadership (SOL) Initiative program — its design and the participants — and the key questions posed for this assessment. We then define the core concepts and framework that underlie the curriculum. The second half of the report is devoted to lifting up a new set of metrics for capturing indicators of transformational leadership. Based on the findings, we discuss valuable lessons for the program and conclude with implications for movement building. This analysis is based on a review of the literature on domestic worker organizing and on intersectionality; on quantitative and qualitative data we collected through surveys, small group discussions, interviews, and observations; and on documents related to SOL provided by National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA). Using a mixed-method approach, we coded all the data and culled the results for common themes. Perhaps more important to note, the analysis in this report is the result of an iterative, co-creative process between USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE), NDWA, Social Justice Leadership (SJL), and generative somatics (gs) — the sort of process we have called for when recommending a new model of assessment. We thus offer this report as a collective effort in a learning process about a dynamic and evolving model of transformative leadership development, transformative organizing, and transformative movement building.