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Standing Up with Power

--- Humanity Rising Day 301 - Wednesday July 28, 2021     (GoTo Bottom)
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Moving beyond following leaders who outrank, dominate, dehumanize, traumatize or criminalize for profit

Many of us have been socialized to believe that: 

  1. humans are untrustworthy and dangerous and
  2. regular citizens lack the courage and moral fortitude to stand up to moral breaches,
  3. Therefore, the contention is that we need external systems (e.g., religion, law enforcement) to provide moral guidance
  4. noble warriors (i.e., law enforcement and corrections personnel) to arrest and punish
  5. and they deserve to be well-funded, richly paid – without any conditions - to ensure we can trust them to protect us without oversight

This is a false story based on inaccurate underlying beliefs. Our systems of systemic dominance are expensive, self-destructive, self-reinforcing and damaging to the social fabric of our communities. When there is a flaw at the roots of the beliefs, or cracks form in an untended part of the foundation, there can be unintended consequences.  Consequences that people working in other sectors don’t see – and the impacts are devastating.  

Example – extreme trauma happens to people caught in the system and the size of this problem and related costs has ballooned over the past 40 years. Today in the US, there are roughly 10 million people arrested and imprisoned in local jails every year, another 2.2 million living in state or federal prisons, and 4.4 million people who are on probation or parole.  Many of the people who are incarcerated are not violent offenders – they have been criminalized for addiction and drug offenses, misdemeanors, legal mistakes, and administrative or parole violations. As people get harmed unjustly, the trauma, the hurt, the anger, the violence boils over, then multiplies in society.

These legalized systems of mass incarceration benefit the underwriters of the system – the financial privateers and the law and justice CEOs – and the problem of trauma is not discussed.  It festers as our legal system perpetuates deep heartbreak for those caught in the system and their families. The backlash from our dysfunctional system escalates as it affects local enforcers, first responders and civic leaders who see the trauma add up, and they become increasingly constricted, fearful of making a mistake, losing rank, or getting investigate and prosecuted themselves for their own actions during a crisis. Then the pain becomes a media story, and the story compounds and people lose track of where the pain started.

The task at hand today is to rapidly learn how NOT to follow leaders that are not paying attention to how their systems have gotten off course.  Elect new leaders who know how to heal the traumas. We must learn how to innovate, revise, reorganize, and build new humanistic, energetically adaptive models for how we work in the world. To stop the escalation, we must change the game from the inside out, from the upside down – and get to work healing people’s hearts. We need revisionary civic leadership models with responsible oversight, that increase trust, and focus on regenerating, revitalizing, and humanizing our systems.  

Joy Gilfilen is President of the Restorative Community Coalition in Bellingham, Washington.

By tradecraft, Joy is an ethnographic civic systems analyst and executive leadership coach with 40 years of direct field experience doing intentional change projects.  As an investigative researcher, Joy studies human behavior in the sectors of the jail business and mass incarceration industry focusing on caste, financial and rank domination for the purpose of revising systems.  As an entrepreneur, she works on collaborative community business development using functional science, energy medicine and self-mastery as healing tools.

Joy’s community development research model is doing work hands-on:  She has run for public office and launched the Local Justice Reform Now PAC to simultaneously research and publicly educate civic leaders.  Her goal was to demonstrate how to stand up against local tax initiatives designed to underwrite the building of a mega-jail in her community that was contraindicated for public safety.  As a result, the initiatives were defeated by a substantial margin.  When the local sheriff promoting the jail expansion refused to take NO for an answer, Joy ran against him as a “Peace Officer” candidate in 2019.  Even though she knew the odds (he was a 20-year incumbent at the highest ranks of authority, with significant political horsepower behind him), Joy’s goal was to expose the community to public civic debate.  She also was determined to figure out why the highest-ranking law enforcement CEOs are automatically entitled to dominate people against their freewill in a community system.

Joy has published trade reports such as:  Stop Punishing Taxpayers-Start Rebuilding Community (2015); Noble Cause Corruption Reports (2016); Blindspots: Unexpected Findings from Jail Trauma Research/Jail Trauma Chart (2018) and hosted many radio shows, forums and conferences. As a leadership coach, Joy published a chapter entitled “Quantum Leadership Using the Natural Change Model” as a co-author in “Cracking the Rich Code” an Amazon Bestseller in the national and international business category. Joy’s produced trade publications, hosted conferences and trainings nationwide and produced “how-to” educational DVD’s such as Flipping the Joy Switch-Introducing the Joy Triangle Model and ChoicePoint: Uniting Creatives with Love and Vitality for self-leadership purposes.     

Key URL’s

  2. The Restorative CommUnity
  3. Joy Gilfilen, Host of JoyTalk  - You Tube Channel
  4. Joy Gilfilen, Host of JoyTalk - Facebook

Top three most relevant media episodes online:

  1. JoyTalk:  WhatcomCounty98225 – Civic Blind Spots
  2. Jail Tax Abuse:  No To A Bigger Jail – Invest in Peoples Success, Not in their Failure!
  3. Blindspots 1.1: Report on Whatcom County Jail Trauma Study - JoyTalk

Top three most relevant Studies/Reports in PDF’s online:

  1. Blindspots: Unexpected Findings from Jail Trauma Research/Whatcom County Jail Trauma Research – Radicalized Acute Distress Under Duress (RADD) + Repetitive Acceleration Trauma (RAT) = CPTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
  2. Stop Punishing Taxpayers, Start Rebuilding Community Report
  3. Noble Cause Corruption Report


  • Jim Garrison, President, Ubiquity University


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