In 2016, Nexus President and CEO Repa Mekha took a 3-month sabbatical to rest, restore, and rejuvenate. After decades of working toward racial and economic justice, Repa started experiencing intensifying fatigue and exhaustion—classic signs of burnout. If he wanted to continue to do the work he was so deeply committed to, he had to take a break. After 3 months of slowing down, reflecting, and practicing art, Repa came back with new energy and perspectives. His time off not only helped him find balance, but also strengthened Nexus and the community around him.
Nexus is excited to announce that we are developing a sabbatical program to help Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) leaders embrace rest—a fundamental piece of all work toward justice. We know that rest is necessary for us to take care of our bodies and ourselves. And that when we are able to better care for ourselves, we can better care for our communities, our families, our organizations, and our calling in the world. With support from the Bush Foundation, we endeavor to build more than a program, but a movement to reclaim our humanity.
“At Nexus, we build engaged and powerful communities so that each and every person can flourish in a joyful and abundant life, filled with the rest that our bodies need. Wellness, rest, and rejuvenation are central to our vision and the way we work towards it,” Repa Mekha said.
Disrupting the rigged rules of white supremacy and building nourishing structures in their place takes generations of organizing, struggle, and investment—it takes its toll on our bodies, spirits, and communities. Too many see investing in individual well-being as a luxury rather than an essential need of our existence. Yet, burnout is real. We have lost too many leaders to career changes or health impacts because they can no longer sacrifice their mental, physical, and spiritual health.
We want to change the narrative and help people see and feel that taking time to renew, reflect and rejuvenate is part of our birthright as human beings. The Nexus Sabbatical program supports BIPOC leaders specifically to claim this right for their lives.
Over the next year, Nexus will work to develop a sabbatical program with community engagement at the center. Nexus will learn from similar programs across the nation, and conduct listening sessions with BIPOC leaders to gain insight for the program’s development. Community members will design the program, including creating the application process and selection criteria, selecting a final name for the program, and more. We are excited to announce that Isadora Collins, project management consultant, will be joining us to facilitate and guide this developing program.
The pilot program will launch in early 2023 after this extensive engagement process. We will be sharing regular updates on our website, email list, and social media.