Planting People, Growing Justice™

“If your vision is for a year, plant wheat. If your vision is for ten years, plant trees. If your vision is for a lifetime, plant people.”

Chinese Proverb


pic2Planting People, Growing Justice™ is the guiding principle of Dr. Tyner’s leadership development and community engagement work.  This model developed by Dr. Tyner focuses on the future of social change and community-building. This process begins with community members working together collaboratively to create a shared vision of justice, valuing each individual as an asset, and partnering to facilitate the process of social change.

Planting People

Planting people is an organic process, which yields a great harvest over time. It starts from the ground up as a seed is planted until it takes root. This seed represents resistance against marginalization and oppression in order to further the cause of social justice. The seed also signifies a partnership between lawyers and community stakeholders. Together, they are able to build a shared vision of a just society and engage in community-building. As the seed begins to germinate, community members start to view themselves as leaders with the capacity to address their own challenges and realize their power to resist oppression.  This is an ongoing process of collective engagement, perseverance, teamwork, and diligence. The ultimate result is creating social change which equates to reaping a harvest of justice, fairness, and equity.

Growing Justice

Growing Justice is the materialization of planting people. Collectively, community members across the world are applying these principles to promote justice and the common good. This process of social change can be envisioned through the continual growth of the Banyan tree.  The Banyan tree as a metaphor illuminates the image of the partnership between lawyers and community partners working together in solidarity to eradicate marginalization. Unique to this tree is its ability to grow upwards since new roots are formed from the branches.  Each community member represents a branch as their leadership voice begins to emerge. These branches grow upward together and are intertwined as they exercise their united power and utilize their voices to advocate for social change. Collectively, the stakeholders are able to build a shared vision of community-building and establish the key steps for making this vision a reality. The branches are connecting, growing together and supporting one another.  They in turn create new roots that establish a firm foundation for the tree and extend to new growth. The process of social change, like the growth of the Banyan tree, symbolizes power and unity.