Heroic leadership models that emphasize individual brilliance or charisma often mask the vibrancy and truth of the ways social justice movements actually succeed. In the Black freedom movement, for example, Martin Luther King Jr. was far from a solitary leader, and his work was greatly improved and amplified by the harnessing the talents and commitments of organizers like Ella Baker, Bayard Rustin, and John Lewis.
Communities battling systemic injustices mount challenges by championing interdependence and the integrity of relationship, harnessing the power of collective leadership. It is the power of community in motion that creates lasting change. Leaders who work in partnership and who nurture and develop other leaders are often our most undervalued, unsung innovators.