Grantees France

Le Next Level

Le Next Level is a France-based non profit whose purpose is to support those fighting for inclusive societies in their collective power building process, and those in positions of power in their inclusive leadership development. In this community, everyone trains everyone: from the employees to the special guests from abroad, including the professional partners, the members of the groups and other partners, everyone shares their knowledge, their experience, their skills and their resources for the service of the group.

Since 2013, they have offered conferences, workshops and trainings to NGOs, corporations, foundations, grassroots non-profits and the public sector, in France and across the world. They rely both on experiential learning and data to encourage empathy and courage based leadership development for all.

Le Next Level is not a classic membership / volunteer organization. Although they always worked as a consortium of freelancers or pro bonos because they had no structural funds – and antiracist work is not easy to fund in France – Porticus support helped them get staff for the first time, while also hosting other projects.

Le Next Level collab mostly with 5 organizations:
Lallab (a feminist antiracist organization led by Muslim women)
– Repairs (an organization led by mostly young adults who have gone through the foster care system and seek to change it)
Ecole Pour Tous (an organization led by young adults who had trouble accessing school because of the intersection of poverty, citizenship status, race and cultural background)
Destins Liés (a new organization founded by a trans-class collective Different Leaders, and members of Repairs as well as Ecole Pour Tous)
Cergy Demain (a local grassroots organization dedicated to holding political leaders accountable)

However, for the past 10 years, they have been weaving a larger cross-sector community of approx 120 like-minded leaders and/or activists who are willing to learn and grow together as well as from each other. They are at a stage where they are ready to invest in the community to win more victories together, and their focus this year is to support that process and infrastructure.

All the organizations Le Next Level work with are lead by those with lived experience of the topic of their work, which they experienced due to marginalization, discrimination and/or violence based on class, race, religion and/or gender. This is also why they have an interest in each other:

they understand their work is interdependent, and it is not so much about “representation” than about transformation of systems so that they serve goals of justice, respect for people’s dignity, and equity.

The Art of Staging a Cool Political Event

They invited artist and organizer Lumumba Bandele to give talks and workshops on effective organizing, cop-watching, supporting the movement as artists and entrepreneurs, protecting women in the movement, and fighting for prison reform, for 7 days in the outskirts of Paris and Lyon.

Anti oppression work has been severely cracked down on for the past few years in France, which has accelerated the disaggregation of many grassroots and/or antiracist movements. Resources are scarce and attacks are led both by the far right and by the government, particularly when it comes to matters of race or Islam, and intra-movement violence has weakened people’s trust in movements themselves.

The project’s purpose is to spark cross-sector and intergenerational conversations around the interdependence of educational work, organizing, business and the arts to advance social and racial justice in France. Le Next Level believe the post (multiple-)election period provides a unique opportunity to reflect on the learnings of past initiatives, and from experienced movement members, artists and organizers from other cultural, historical, and political contexts.

Lumumba Bandele is an organizer, activist, artist, and educator who has worked at the local, national and international levels, at the grassroots level, with businesses, celebrities, and in academia. Through a series of panels, intimate conversations, and public events around Lumumba Bandele’s unique experience, lessons learned along the way, and what he believes are major challenges to prepare for to those who are trying to advance racial and social justice in France today. The aim of this microfestival is to:

– give hope, and start to rebuild relationships that have withered between those who in fact share similar values and ethos.

– spark and/or reinforce the commitment of artists, producers and entrepreneurs towards anti oppression work.

– spark and/or reinforce the relationship between our movement people, entrepreneurs and artists as well as cultural institutions.

– help the community of movement people redesign foundations that are consistent with their values for their movements.

– spark more collaboration between people who come from service and movement work, public narrative & the arts, business and politics.

– encourage the community to structure and organize people and money to have a stronger impact together (our vibe also! 🙂

These events all came with live translation which they provided themselves via the Zoom interpreter functionality.

The results were stunning. A crash course in staging a good, vibey political event can be found if you dip into their report. The way momentum is built around a well-known speaker and approaching the issue from numerous intersecting perspectives. Playing with formats, ensures engagement, and a wider vision of developing deeper solidarity via greater intimacy and entanglement across movements is what creates necessary relational foundations that make movements resilient and wise. The intergenerational focus further bolsters this, as does the emphasis on learning together and from each other, offering a significant reminder that when power (in the form of knowledge here) is shared, everyone involved wins. Distilling essential know-how and takeaway testimonials into a fun, easy-access report (aforementioned) further demonstrates the benefit of good documentation and post-processing to deliver just the right amount of content, share info with the non-attendees and give a digestible overview of what went down, and opens stellar topics that each of us can pick up and organise locally in our hoods with our own flavours of culture and lived experience.

Grant size  1-10k Year  2023 Approach  Building the new/Just solutions ; Capacity building (trainings, events, research) ; New politics (pol. innovation, dir. democracy, municipalism)

Issue Areas  Anti-oppression issues ; Racial Justice

Visit website