I spent time this weekend studying The Cycle of Liberation by Bobbie Harro. It’s a beautifully written framework that basically says:
“I know this social change work is overwhelming, all these really big complex issues, but here is a blueprint to fight them.”
This cycle shows how we all can play a role in the breaking of oppressive systems. My greatest, take away from the reading was this:
You want to get free? You need the following at the core of your work and your life:
These are the qualities that hold our movements together. No matter what happens in the courts or in the streets these fundamental values must never change or our movements will fail.
Harro views liberation as transformation. Nothing can be transformed without these 7 qualities.
It is an internal and external game.
I can not want liberation for you until I want it for myself.
We all have multiple social group identities- ways in which we navigate the world.
We have a society structured to remind people on a daily basis on conscious and unconscious levels:
- Who is privileged and who is not.
- Who is deemed beautiful and who is not.
- Who is worthy and deserving and who is not
Liberation changes our worldview. It changes old narratives and allows new stories, language, and leaders to be born.
This work must be centered on love.We can not win without it.
The skills, strengths, and roots that I have invested in myself are also the same skills, strengths, and roots I need to fight oppressive systems.
I need courage, to fight oppressive practices
I need community to fight oppressive systems
I need to consistently question myself and others to fight oppressive systems
I learned that you protect what you love, and I love me.
I love me.
Race is a social construct but I am not. I am real and I live and navigate oppressive systems that have financial, social, emotional and psychological consequences.
The struggle is real for million of people every day across this globe.
This struggle while hard also heals.
The struggle for liberation can be medicine- it can restore our health, strength, and well-being.The struggle can fill us up. It can be affirming and enriching.
We do not need to feel hopeless as we do this work. We do not need to feel tired as we do this week. We do not need to feel discouraged as we do this week. If we ground our work in joy, support, community, and security we will win.This is about sustaining for the long haul- for organizations as well as for individuals.
I am ready to love me as an act of rebellion. I am ready to love, protect and defend you as an act of rebellion as well. These core values guide our interactions as we do this hard work as we build community.
So I ask you:
- How would it be to participate in movements with these fundamental values at the core especially in the current state of our society?
- What would it look like to lead organizations rooted in these principles?
We have a long way to go and many fights ahead of us.
I ain’t no ways tired.
Let’s get to work