Liberatory consciousness is a force that enables an individual to live his or her life in oppressive systems and institutions with awareness and intentionality.
We understand that inequity, racial and otherwise, is the result of cumulative disadvantage built into social institutions, via law, policy, and everyday practice.
We work from an intersectional perspective, which believes that organizations and communities thrive when they build cultures that are inclusive of wide-ranging ethnic, racial, gender, sexual, religious, and national identities and abilities.
We understand that the targets of oppression are required to be at the center of efforts to transform oppression
We know the system sucks and we are doing our work every day to help dismantle oppressive systems, but we still have to show up at work tomorrow for that 9 am meeting with the most racist dude ever!!
Ughhhhh, How do we do it?
Liberatory Consciousness is how we do it.
There are four elements involved in developing a liberatory consciousness: Awareness, Analysis, Action, Accountable/Ally-ship.
The first step of liberatory consciousness, awareness, is based on acknowledging that something is not quite right. One does not need to be a member of an oppressed group to recognize the inequality taking place.
I do not have to be trans to know and believe that Trans Lives Matter. Understanding and examining oppression is the first step to dismantling it
Step two is analysis.The process of analysis is the most crucial in achieving social change. If one fails to educate him/herself about the injustice theyʼve become aware of, the likelihood that this awareness leads to any meaningful action is zip.
This is where we develop our anti-racist visions and strategies. We can not challenge the systems and create an action plan without a strong analysis. We discuss not only what is happening but what needs to be done to fix it.
Step three action which should always be informed by a deep analysis as well as the lived experience of the members of the oppressed groups. Awareness and analysis are not enough.
We need boots on the ground and participation. This can be organizing, donating, supporting. It’s not about taking action sometime, or occasionally but about being in the arena all the time fighting for freedom.
It is clear to me that it will be marginalized folks that fix the world’s problems. Black, Latinx, Asian, Native, Muslim, Immigrant, Women, Workers are the folks that will make us create a new vision.
This framework helps us reject the ways we have been socialized and centers not the dominant culture but the voices from the edges. We love each other through these steps and hold each other accountable. We act based on our values, awareness, and analysis not just upon “business as usual”.
Liberatory Consciousness lets us navigate the world from a place of balance, love, hope and optimism.
When we build our work on this framework, we become assured that we will win.
Let’s go get free together.
This post is based on “Developing a Liberatory Consciousness” by Barbara Love