Freedom through Self-Reflection
For a lot of us, summer is synonymous with freedom. Sunshine, BBQ’s, dancing, vacation, community, and laughter. We daydream of summer days when winter months feel oppressive. Freedom is not only how we live our day-to-day but it is also a journey into ourselves.
In bell hooks All About Love, hook speaks about learning to love as a skill. Not all of us were taught the skill of love so we don’t know how to live in love. The same goes for liberation. It takes understanding of the idea and practice of the action.
Liberation for Black folks and people of color is a process that is created by us, specifically tailored to meet our needs and perspective. This transformative journey involves engaging in self-reflection, which in turn fosters self-compassion and a profound love for ourselves. This self-love extends outward, encompassing our entire community.
Liberation is a noun and a verb.
For white folks, and white presenting folks, there is work of unpacking the role as a beneficiary of white supremacy and understanding the role in being an ally. The internal work results in effective external work.
This newsletter is a guide to your new perspective.
From the Founder: Alexis Braly James
As a bi-racial Black woman it wasn’t until my college years that I felt my deepest connection to Blackness & the African diaspora. From that moment I no longer felt embarrassed by my curly hair, my darker skin, or my fuller body.
This was my first experience with liberation. To me, Black liberation is not merely a distant dream or an abstract concept; it is a lived reality and a potent force that courses through the veins of our communities. It is the freedom to exist unapologetically, to celebrate our rich cultural heritage, and to challenge the structures that perpetuate our marginalization.
- How do I understand and embrace my identity and experiences as a Black person?
- How can I balance self-care and healing while advocating for social justice?
- How can I reflect on and challenge any internalized racism or biases I may have about myself and my community?
- How can I connect with and collaborate with other Black activists and organizations?
Liberation for the Global Majority
The United States’ dominant culture is white. But the global majority is rich in diversity. In an attempt to move away from classifying things from a white perspective, we will call it what it is: the global majority.
Being part of the US, we all internalize systems and ideas as truth. Unpacking this takes self awareness, support, and care. We want to support you through that. Contact Construct the Present for our training on Deconstructing Privilege.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself in your self reflection journey:
- How do I understand and embrace my identity and experiences as a person of color?
- What historical and systemic factors have shaped my community and me?
- How have biases or stereotypes affected how I see myself and interact with others?
Taking Action for Black Liberation and the Global Majority
A note from Liana:
As a lighter-skinned, white-presenting Mexican, I can acknowledge the privilege I hold. While I was raised with a strong connection to Mexican culture, I also recognize that I navigate white spaces with ease due to my appearance.
At times, I have experienced confusion, guilt, and shame surrounding this aspect of my identity. In predominantly white spaces, I have felt like I don’t fully belong. In spaces of color, I’ve internalized the thought that the space is not meant for me despite craving belonging in affinity spaces. Through continuous self-reflection, I unpack these feelings, discerning what to carry with me and what to let go.
Through this introspection, I have also realized the value of sharing my experiences with others. Many white presenting folks wonder how they can unpack these feelings without causing harm. By confronting internalized white supremacy, engaging with Black feminist literature, embracing Indigenous wisdom, and understanding the history of colonialism, I have gained guidance. Confronting my privilege and examining my identity helps in my mission to support communities of color, Black femmes, and those who lack the same access I have.
Here are some questions from our Reflection Journals that have helped me understand my own identity and my place within the global majority:
- How has privilege helped me and how can I use it for positive change?
- What actions can I take to challenge and dismantle racism in my life through creating a new perspective?
- How do I respond to discomfort or resistance from other white people about race?
- How do I handle mistakes in my allyship journey and learn from them?