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Autumn was recently invited to take part in a really fun, mind-bending panel called Organizers in Space. The event was co-hosted by Annie Weinberg, electoral organizer, coach, and strategist for progressive campaigns along with The Movement School and the Forge.

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What Movement Organizing & Space Exploration Can Learn From One Another

Building a more just, reflective democracy and landing a spacecraft on another planet are both epic, deeply collective human endeavors – and practitioners of both crafts faced huge tests in 2020 and 2021. In the midst of a global pandemic, a reckoning around white supremacist violence, racialized capitalism, and what it means to have a truly reflective democracy – what can movement organizing and space exploration teach each other right now?

With the recent successful Mars Perseverance Mission Landing as a jumping-off point, and pulling from some of the ideas of Octavia Butler, the visionary writer and now the namesake of the official landing site on Mars, we discuss what these crafts have in common.” We talk about predictable emergencies, radical imagination, and contingency planning; about creating structures that unearth collective genius, to do things that may have not been done before; about scalability, effective metric-setting, and competing priorities; about holding on to a sense of awe, in the face of challenges and unknowabilities, and about what it means to, as JPL’s slogan says, “Dare Mighty Things”.“ Anoa Changa moderates this amazing conversation featuring Cj Giovingo and Autumn Brown. CJ is an organizer-turned-rocket-scientist and Jet Propulsion Lab systems engineer, who served as NASA/JPL’s Entry, Descent and Landing Activity Lead for Perseverance.

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