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We talk a lot on this blog about dismantling systems of oppression, and about what we want to build to replace them. I see the welcoming of the new year as a time of intention setting, so this open thread is dedicated to sharing stories of those who are building something. Tell us the cool stories of work you or others are involved in to make the world better. Let’s all get inspired for 2014!

I’ll start with three:

1. Ambidancing: In lots of partner dancing, leading and following is tied pretty strongly, historically and currently, to gender roles. The people at Ambidancetrous think that sucks, and they’re working to build dance scenes where everyone has a real option to lead or follow. They tell us why single-role scenes are sexist, why the nod to ambi isn’t enough, how to change it as an instructor or a dance partner…and give us some past and present visual inspiration:

Two men dancing, Harlem, 1920s

Two men dancing, Harlem, 1920s

DC's Red Hot Blues & BBQ event this year

DC’s Red Hot Blues & BBQ event this year

2. Safer Spaces: Also in the dance scene, I had the fortune this year to get involved with some really cool people who are organizing to make dance scenes safer and more inclusive: by drafting sexual harassment policies, improving the messages we send to our participants about consent, providing more visible means of reporting if something goes wrong, and so forth. The Safety Dance facebook page hosts a lot of interesting (and sometimes contentious) conversations about this movement.

3. Intentional Communities: I hope some of our commenters will have more to add to this, but intentional communities and cooperative living arrangements can provide a smaller environmental impact and greater interpersonal support. Bonus: a lot of the ones I know share a commitment to social justice, too! Two great ones in the DC area are Maitri House and the Ella Jo Baker Intentional Community Cooperative.

Takoma Park's Maitri House

Takoma Park’s Maitri House

The Ella Jo Baker Co-op in Columbia Heights, DC

The Ella Jo Baker Co-op in Columbia Heights, DC

Now it’s your turn: What work toward a better future has inspired you in the past year? What projects might we all like to know about and explore in 2014?