Transform the System Dialog
The following are participants in the Transform the System Dialog: Tom Ferguson; Penn Garvin; Stephen Gerritson; Wade Lee Hudson, Coordinator; Bernhard Possert
Tom Ferguson born 1944 in Northern Michigan on the shore of Lake Superior with average 200 inch snowfall. U.S. army 3 years, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam. One year in a Milwaukee factory, 5 semesters at Layton School of Art (where my education truly began). Dropped out to paint on my own. Worked six months at the Post Office to fund an 8 month trip to Europe, North Africa, Canary Islands, ship to Mexico, thumbing Texas to Michigan, B.S. at NMU, one year painting independently, grad school MSU, MFA in painting, 6 months in a farm house near Traverse City, move to Atlanta. With art school began an awakening, political and spiritual. eventually arriving at a point of view aligned with Noam Chomsky for the former and Eckhart Tolle the latter. Ineffective at making money so pursued reducing the need for it by living simply, rejecting consumerism. As I pursued painting I also participated in anti-war demonstrations, anti-nuclear and other progressive issues, environmental, peace, justice, developed political cartooning as a form of activism, songwriting which also became more and more political/spiritual and writing. I focused some on opposing Reagan's Central American policies and found the hopeful and optimistic group Beyond War which focused on the dangers of nuclear weapons, transformed later into Foundation for Global Community. Worked with Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) on nuclear issues. Discovered Eckhart Tolle's books, finding his take on things aligned with my intuition and the other writers/thinkers who attracted me along the way - Tolle brings a clarity to the study of being and consciousness I've found in no other thinker. Modestly active today with Nuclear Watch South, blogging, graphic work for non-profits but primarily focused on music, writing and performing songs as meditation and activism. I'm thinking these days that, aside from cultivating awareness, the most important immediate work in the U.S. might be registering voters.
Penn was born, grew up and graduated from high school in 1966 before attending Oberlin College where she majored in English and Comparative Literature and graduated in 1970. She began her political involvement during the 1968 Poor People's Campaign after Dr. King was assassinated. His death was a turning point in her life because she realized that she had to be involved politically if she wanted a better society. Her focus was on dealing with white people around the issues of racism.
She lived and worked for many years from 1970-1995 in San Francisco where she raised her daughter, worked at San Francisco General Hospital and the San Francisco Women's Health Center, had her own Organizational Development and Mediation business and was involved in a variety of political issues including women's health care, homelessness, Central America, anti-nuclear, peace and social justice. She did workshops for many years in how to organize, plan demonstrations and taught workshops in nonviolent civil disobedience. She has worked in both Guatemala and Colombia doing accompaniment of human rights workers.
Steve Gerritson was born and grew up in a little town in Maine. After graduating from high school in 1964, he attended college part time while working as a department store clerk, groundskeeper, and maintenance worker. He joined the Air Force in 1968, and was sent to the Defense Language Institute, where he studied Chinese Mandarin. After his discharge in 1972, he attended the University of Massachusetts, receiving a BA in Political Science in 1974. He was awarded a fellowship to Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School, where he received an MPA in 1976. Since then, he has worked for a number of non-profit organizations, most recently the Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County. He retired in 2016, and now spends his time with volunteer work for environmental groups, and writing mystery novels.
Wade Lee Hudson
Wade was born in 1944 in Little Rock and raised in Dallas before entering the University of California at Berkeley, where he studied Political Science and Psychology. In 1963, James Baldwin and Martin Luther King, Jr. inspired him with the vision of the Beloved Community and he became immersed in the civil rights, human potential, anti-war, counter culture, and other movements of the era.
In 1968 he dedicated his life to community organizing, studied at Pacific School of Religion, and moved to San Francisco in 1970, where he worked with numerous social and political issues, including food and housing cooperatives, a cultural center, mental patients rights, public transit, national antipoverty policy, the Iraq war, the Obama campaign, and Occupy. Since 2004, he has convened a series of workshops exploring how the progressive movement might be more effective and self-published two books presenting draft conclusions. After working for non-profits for 20 years, he worked part-time as a cab driver for 30 years. Now retired, he edits TransformTheSystem.org.
Bernhard was born 1974 in Graz, Austria and raised in a village that became more and more a suburb. He early entered the field of training, taking part from the age of 16 and giving seminars from the age of 22. After marrying and becoming a father early he quit his studies, starting a career as a trainer and consultant at the age of 24. With good luck, good friends and some effort he is still working in this field, mainly in Austria, now more and more within an international community.
His special fields of interest are now Self-Organizing and Developmental Organizations on the one hand and supporting the vertical development of individuals on the other. Most influential for me have been Ken Wilber, Robert Kegan, Otto Laske, Frederic Laloux - and my wife and my four kids.