A New Year marks a time to reflect on what you want to accomplish and the new heights you want to reach. Its a time to reflect on how you want to stretch, grow and be that better version of yourself. With that comes the chance to focus on ways to strengthen your commitment to social justice within your sphere of influence. As someone who sees herself on a journey—here are some reflections and resources that I’m taking with me into 2018.
- Connect with other folks who have a similar mindset and/or doing similar work. Following the presidential election results, I traveled to Facing Race’s bi-annual conference. Like many, I was shocked and scared at what the election results symbolized. It was a type of fear that gripped my heart and made me concerned about my physical safety. It was at this conference I was able to cry cathartic tears and share my fears with others around me. The conference also filled me with resolve and determination because of those in attendance who were equally committed to the liberation of marginalized peoples. Also, of course while there, I met a dynamic group of Black women who became my tribe and my source of strength. Here are the workshops and conferences I’m attending in 2018 as I strengthen my spirit, grow deeper in my knowledge, and build relationships with others equally committed to justice.
- Process. Process. Process. Last year I understood in a deeper way the need to really process my experience on an ongoing basis and I plan to take that reflection with me into this year. I find it vital to take time to process my experiences and the ways privilege shows up in my own life. Because when I do take the time to process, I’m amazed and humbled at the ways I see the blindspots to my own privilege as a cis, hetero, Christian, able-bodied, light skinned, US-born, upwardly mobile woman. While I’m always aware of the ways I experience oppression as a Black Woman, I also recognize and need to continually be aware of the ways privilege and opportunity marks my life. Often time in ways that I’m not always fully cognizant of. This intentional focus helps me to examine my privilege and how that privilege contributes to the marginalization and exploitation of others.
- Be kind to myself and others. Social justice crusaders won’t win the fight for to justice if we’re constantly beating up on other people for not being far enough on their journey. My husband teaches me this every day. We need to be kind to others (and OURSELVES) because this is a journey. Last year I heard this phrase during a talk at the Schomberg in Harlem. One of the panelist said, this is not about calling people out, but rather calling people in and building a bigger tent to bring more people into the fold. Now I force myself to reflect on how am I building a bigger tent. How am I calling people into the work I’m doing? Because at point, someone loved me enough to help me grow so how am I doing the same for others?
I hope my rumination helps you consider the ways you can increase your capacity and compassion for others in 2018.