Transformative justice requires a mindset of centering what is right and decent for all-humans, animals, insects and the earth. It is a journey requiring self-reflection, actions that follow values-not a place we can arrive alone, or in our lifetimes; it is time to consider the way we treat each other and the why being those actions. There is so much hurt in the world, and we know “hurt people, hurt people.” When we hurt others, we hurt ourselves. Where do we start?
The Racial Healing Handbook has a perfect guide to help me understand where I am and where I can go to impact positive change. It is important to note that whiteness impacts everyone. That is how colorism exists. We do this Till We Free Us is an enlightening read to help one examine Mariame Kaba’s view on transformative justice and changing the prison industrial complex. Restorative Practices is an entire framework that begins with mindset to impact how we communicate in intentional ways to bring out the best in others. I found the book The Artists Way to be helpful to harness my power as a woman creative. I am currently seeking resources to understand environmental justice- how to share both the resources and the burdens of caring for the earth in an equitable, sustainable manner. It is important we seek therapy or mentors to help talk us through our personal progress.
As a woman, I have faced many obstacles to find my voice and power. As a white woman, I have learned to listen, work to understand, but I will never fully understand how people of color are affected by racism. Being the mother of a biracial child, racism, and prejudices, hit way harder and younger than I ever imagined it would. It is intentional that my poetry does not start this section. The goal for me is to be aware of equity, how when centering myself is not appropriate. There is much to learn about systematic racial oppression’s hurt verses individual pain. I do need to make sure I am healthy emotionally, but not at the expense of other’s energy, time or emotions. I do a lot of mediation, therapy, and healing art to maintain joy and energy to fight for the struggle, so when I am with other humans, I can show up with joy, positivity and be in a space to work with others. I am learning we are hurting people and communities without stopping to realizing it-without acknowledging it causing more pain. It is time to listen and research and learn a better way. I am open to feedback and critique, and I have learned to say, “Thank you for telling me how you feel, I will reflect on that.” And I move onto the work and come back to that moment when I have space and time to learn the lesson.
Try to remember, sometimes it gets more difficult before it gets better, but don’t give up, the reward is waiting.
Ø Who are you? How does your race, gender, age, abilities, and other identities impact your life? Whether a I am list poem, bio, timeline of life events, it said to know where we are going, we must know where we are from
Ø What stereotypes are you fighting against?
Ø What microaggression have you heard? Spoken? Experienced? What oppression do you face, or have you been a part of?
Ø What are you willing to do differently to fight for equity?
Ø How does equity differ from equality? How does economics impact segregation?
Ø Who or what has help you through difficult times?
Ø Who is your community? What do you fight for?
Ø When are you your best self? What spaces have aloud you to feel belonging and safely? When do you feel judged? Do you find yourself judging others?
Ø How do you work to create a nonjudgmental space for all voices?
Ø How do you communicate you needs and boundaries?
Ø How do you open your mind to other viewpoints? Where does your information come from and how do you know what truth is? How can you expand that view?
Ø What are your values? How are you sure you take action to live in your values?
Ø What about history and current events is hardest? What news is hopeful to you?
Ø What is the difference between consequence and punishment?
Ø If its normal to make mistakes, why does our culture often shame others? How do we separate the human from the action?
Ø Why do we use punitive measure if they do not eradicate violence?
Ø What are small things you can do to positively impact the earth?
The Dreams We Are Told by Niles Janzen
Once someone told me
That I was TOO dark to be a Power Ranger
That hurt inside like a gunshot to my heart,
At first, I began to HATE the Power Rangers,
But I soon realized, some people said
Barak Obama was too dark to be President,
Some people treat others like they are not equal citizens,
So I said, Boy,
I will be the Blackest power Ranger you ever saw!
Stand tall like the pyramids through it all
Like James Brown sang “I am Black and I am proud!”
Black like thermostat, elevator, ice cream scooper,
The ironing board and comb, and the supercomputer,
Blood Bank saving lives, computations to get man to the moon
Black like the gas mask, light bulb filaments,
Mathematics to understand gamma rays, and Chess
Baseball helmet, Home Security, street sweepers,
Paints and stains, Lock, fire extinguisher,
Traffic signal, cell phones, Curtain rod, lawn sprinkler,
Automatic gear shift, eggbeater and the roller coaster,
Horse saddle, door nob, door stop, and remote controllers,
All that AND a Black man invented chips.
It would take DAYS to explain
ALL the greatness that Blackness brings,
Some may not like the heat
But they could never stop the son
Not the math, the inventions, the races we have won
The books we have written,
They can never take our faith or our fun
The truth can sometimes be hidden but never undone
Bass Reeves, the OG, the real Lone Ranger,
Harriet Tubman leading people away from danger,
The explorers, heroes, way before, during and after slavery,
Enslavement is a small part of the story,
We have got to celebrate the riches of African history
And how Black history is America’s story!
And I am learning How to research and seek the truth
Even if they can’t see or try to throw shade over your light
Keep shinin bright! Just know that you are heaven sent
Whether you want to be a Power Ranger or the President!!
But after all, is it about the color of our skin
Or the dreams we are told to believe in?