I Still Have Hope

Hi Friends,

I hope you’re all having a good summer so far. I’m sorry I’ve been quieter than usual since I wrote last. Some really impactful things have been happening for me lately.

I have been engaging with some really wonderful growth and healing work since December and that has included some restorative justice training in the last month or so (shout out to the DC Peace Team, and thanks to Leah for sharing their info with the group!).

I have continued exploring my ancestral roots and the strong connection of that work to anti-oppression work, wrestling with harm caused and harm experienced, and gaining a greater understanding of my own identity and opportunities to shift the trajectory of my lineage.

I was a witness to a family experiencing a life-changing, life-ending time in their lives, watching people who could help refuse to do so. I am still processing my role in seeking justice for this family, finding my way along the path of next right things.

I have accumulated so many amazing resources to share with all of you that I’m feeling a bit buried and I don’t want to dig out by blasting all of you with an overwhelming amount of information (we get enough of that from the daily news cycle). I’m also feeling sensitive to the constant bombardment of the challenges our world faces — climate change, oppressive and dehumanizing systems, significant power in the hands of the few, threats to democracy, intense polarization and so much anger.

While the truths about what we are facing feel insurmountable sometimes, I still feel hope. I want my updates to you to reinforce the sense of community that you are part of as a changemaker in this world. I want you to feel connected and resourced and encouraged. I want you to know that you are enough, that you do not have to do this work to make you a “good” person, or to deserve humanity.

We do anti-oppression work because we know that our own well-being is tied up in the well-being of everyone, not because we feel guilty or ashamed. We have chosen to incorporate justice and solidarity work into our lifestyles because that is who we are. We understand that this is lifelong work and that our own individual growth and healing contributes to our abilities to effect change in our communities.

We believe that how we take care of each other in this world is one of the most important things.

Nicole Cardoza of Anti-Racism Daily said recently, “I can’t wait for motivation to make a difference. And quite frankly, our world can’t wait for that either. I’ve made this work part of my daily practice, just like brushing my teeth and walking my dog. I’ve set routines and habits that ensure it’ll get done, regardless of how motivated I feel. … Part of that practice is the reminder that nothing will change unless we try. Mariame Kaba famously said that “hope is a discipline,” and that resonates with me. If we only believe in change when we see progress, we’ll lose our way.”

Michele Chang and Lisa Cohen from Kitchen Table Conversations about Race & Belonging shared this in one of their recent newsletters: “Something that I found particularly helpful is the idea that the “window of opportunity” for advances in equity and inclusion is not closed; it is merely not as wide open as it was in the summer of 2020. This perspective allows us to realize that our efforts are still needed, that we can still get through the window to minimize the harm of the “fire” inside the house (representing racism and other oppressions). Michele pointed out that as we consider how to show up now, we may want to lean into the ways in which we can be more agile and creative. We may need to “limbo” our way through the window or look for alternative ways into the house around the side or back. Also, we don’t only need firefighters for this effort; we also need architects, engineers, water carriers, and those who can help us to rest and recharge, among others.” (They gave me permission to share this and their contact info, asking me to invite you to join the Table!)

Raising our children (or interacting with children in general since I know not everyone here is currently in this stage of life) can be an essential form of changemaking. Here’s encouragement from Anti-Racism Daily about talking to kids about race.

Community Safety Agenda was created recently by a whole bunch of human rights/justice organizations that provides a clear model of what our communities need and how to get there. Let this guide you in your work.

Did you know that July is Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month? Learn more here.

At the risk of seeming too optimistic, the National Governors Association announced a new project called Disagree Better: Healthy Conflict for Better Policy. Tell your governor that this is the kind of politics and discourse that you want to see.

Listen. Amplify. Follow. In Solidarity.