Justice and Sustainability Associates invested significant artistic, intellectual, emotional, and financial resources into determining how we wanted to represent ourselves symbolically. It took five years for JSA’s logo to emerge from hours of talking amongst ourselves, to ourselves, praying, moving in and out of the fear zone, starting forward only to hold back.
We believe this logo communicates who we are spiritually, physically, intellectually, and emotionally. It thoroughly introduces us.
It states our business case. Human beings have been striving and often practicing what we today call justice and sustainability since the earliest human social activities. As more and more human beings have come under the hegemony of concepts like white supremacy, patriarchy, materialism, atheism, and militarism, humans’ capacity to progressively transform and evolve themselves as well as their communities of every type has also emerged.
JSA exists to help create and strengthen the capacity for justice and sustainability in every setting we encounter. As we look around the world, we see evidence on every side that this work is desperately needed. We believe that the time has come to demonstrate that it is possible to successfully be in the business of increasing justice and sustainability. Our logo is the symbolic representation of our belief and raison d’etre.
An Explanation of Our Logo Symbols
Gyn Nyame (jeh N-yah-me)
Symbol of omnipotence, omnipresence, and immortality of God.
Literally: Except God.
An Akan proverb states, “This Great Panorama of creation dates back to time immemorial, no one lives who saw its beginning and no one will live to see its end, Except God.” At JSA, we aim to exercise good judgement with our clients and avoid being judgmental of them. We have all types of clients and projects because we are willing to help anybody wanting to be more just and sustainable. Yes, our clients start from different places, some not so pretty. But should that disqualify them from the chance to do better? At JSA, we don’t judge who is a good or bad actor. If “good faith” progress is the intended product, we will help you.
Assase Ya Duru (ah-sah-see-yea doo-roo)
Symbol of the providence and the divinity of Mother Earth.
Literally: The Earth has weight.
As we work with our clients, we will strive to stay grounded. Grounded in time and place; in culture and nature. Grounded in our belief that the situation can become better.
At JSA, we don’t apologize when our heads are in the sky because we make sure we keep our feet on the ground. From humanity’s earliest societies on the African continent, we have evidence of their recognition of the divinity of the land from which their lives derives sustenance. With our clients, we model the balance that we believe is crucial to making the transition towards creating individuals and organizations that are more just and more sustainable.
Our starting point is making sure we use technology so that our efforts for clients add the shallowest ecological footprint possible. Next we make sure that we speak for the land and the things that have been done to it and on it in the past. In this way, we make reconciliation more possible. Finally we adhere to the axiom that character is what you show when no one is watching. And this is how we advise our clients regarding their relationship with the earth and nature.
Symbol of justice, fairplay, freedom, peace, forgiveness, unity, harmony, and the avoidance of conflicts or strife.
Literally: No one should bite, outrage, or provoke another.
This Adinkra symbol is one of justice and societies where all members aim to live in peace and harmony. Central to JSA’s business case is our belief that any enterprise committed to profit– be it broadly or narrowly defined– should be committed to justice. Shareholders and stakeholders are people. Globally, a new consciousness is emerging in which justice is no longer a “high-minded” intellectual principle, but a central guidepost for large and small choices made in every realm of daily life by CEO’s and children.
At JSA we help our clients be the just people they want to be and create the just organizations and systems they want to be a part of. Being just is not just good business– it is good living.
Symbol of toughness, adaptability, selfless devotion to service, and an ability to withstand hardships and difficulty.
In all relationships, there are twists and turns. Business relationships are no different. At JSA we want to be selected by a prospective client because they think they want a relationship with us. But we also select our clients because we think we want a relationship with them. In the best selling book, The Discipline of Market Leaders: Choose Your Customers, Narrow Your Focus, And Dominate Your Market, Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema state the following thesis: “successful organizations– the market leaders– excel at delivering one type of value to their chosen customers. The key is focus. Market leaders, they say, choose a single “value discipline” and then build their organization around it.
JSA’s value discipline is customer intimacy. We focus on delivering what each of our clients want. We are not pursuing one time transactions; We want to cultivate relationships that through all their twists and turns make progressive change possible.
Symbol of need for ever-readiness, steadfastness, hardiness, valor, and fearlessness.
Literally: To have foresight (sew it in readiness- be prepared).
Where does justice and sustainability come from? We believe it comes from individuals who have made a personal decision to be just and sustainable all by themselves. Just and sustainable organizations are created by leaders who want to cultivate systems, methods, and products that sustain nature and develop better human beings. This is not an accidental process.
At JSA, we believe that almost every person has a spirit that strives to do good. Our focus is the person. It is not the job title, demographic, or even the first impression. At JSA, we are “new beings,” courageous, resolved and confirmed in our commitment to stand with our clients as we create more just and sustainable nations, businesses, communities, families, and individuals.
Symbol of unity in diversity, democracy, or the oneness of the human family despite cultural differences and diversities.
Literally: A Ghanaian mythical two-headed crocodile with a common stomach.
In the Akan myth, Funtummeriku and Denkyemmeriku were two crocodiles that had only one stomach. Yet they struggled over which one should eat the food. The paradox of the myth– that whatever one of them eats is good for the other, yet they still quarrel over food– helps explain JSA’s primary business lines. We help our clients achieve excellent ends and means through designing and implementing collaborative human interactions founded on consensus based agenda setting and decision making. The myth of Funtummeriku and Denkyemmeriku tells us that, “although members of a group may be different and thus have different opinions, they can still cooperate, achieve mutual goals, and be creative and a collective.” JSA works with our clients to achieve “unity in diversity.”
Symbol of the wisdom of learning from the past to build for the future.
Literally: Go back and fetch it.
Sankofa is one of the most widely recognized Adinkra symbols. For JSA’s services and products, it speaks to our understanding that learning from our past and that of our clients is essential to our helping them and ourselves progress into the future. So much injustice and unsustainability result today from the ignorance historically imposed on billions of humans by white supremacy, atheism, patriarchy, militarism, and materialism. But Martin Luther King, Jr. reminds us that “even truth crushed to the ground will rise.” At JSA, we promote individual truth telling and truth hearing by our clients as a way of arriving at collective statements of truth that promote justice for all, now and in the future.
Symbol of reconciliation, peace-making and pacification.
Literally: A knot of reconciliation.
As the end of the 20th Century loomed closer, globally, nations and organizations began to embrace the value that could be derived for their members by acknowledging past historical actions of significant human rights abuses and attempting to make amends by paying financial reparations. The process to make financial and social amends for the most well documented wrongs of the past 500 years has only begun and may or may not proceed with any long term integrity. While we recognize the value of acknowledgement and reparations, we choose to emphasize the necessity of reconciliation before sustainable progress can be made.
At JSA, we believe that progress is being re-defined and that this presents a daunting challenge to organizations and leaders that are conscious of costs exacted to achieve a previous and increasingly discarded standard of success. We also believe that guilt and anger, while understandable, are not useful because physics tells us that the past cannot be altered. Therefore, we focus on reconciliation as a foundation upon which humans can construct something today that can be sustained into the future. At JSA, we oppose injustice and we do so by showing the unjust another way forward.
Mate Masie (mah-tee mah-see-uh)
Symbol of wisdom, knowledge, and prudence.
Literally: What I hear, I keep (I understand)
One of JSA’s objectives is to build the capacity of our clients to work for justice and sustainability after we have done our work with them. To achieve that objective, we give away our data, information, and wisdom. Information theory tells us that giving away information does not decrease it, the availability of it in the universe, or its value to each end user. Rather, it makes the creation of new human communities based on more humane values and behaviors possible. We are committed to putting the human and intellectual capital that we have accumulated at JSA at the disposal of our clients without fear of loss. We do that because we believe that what God has for us, is for us. Hence, we do not need to fear the lack of abundance.