By Chris Crass (October 15, 2015)
I talk to people all over the country who simultaneously talk about the “small things” they can do, like make donations, volunteer here and there with a local social justice effort or are “only involved at their faith community ” or “raising their kids” and over and over again there is guilt and shame about not being able to do more. I understand well the yearning many of us have to do and give more, especially when there is movement on the more, and when we can give more, that’s beautiful.
But we also need liberation movement of millions of people taking on many roles, being active in a vast array of ways, and bringing liberation values, commitments, and practice into the lives of their families, friend networks, workplaces and faith communities. We often look to people like Ella Baker and Anne Braden for guidance, without also lifting up the tens of thousands of people who did what they could, where they could, and created the infrastructure and culture that these full time organizers, like those today, operate in.
Ella Baker spoke of the need for movement culture that sees, affirms, and loves on the many ways people create a movement. Let us replace self-flagellation for not being a good enough activist, with gratitude for what we can do, gratitude for others, and create positive momentum that energizes and nourishes us, rather then spending 75% of energy in negativity. The negativity is understandable, it’s part of how supremacy systems keep us down, but we need liberation culture that affirms each step, believes in our ability to give what we can, while also encouraging long haul balance and commitment. Liberation culture that encourages us to feel connected to the larger purpose and impact of our collective efforts.
This is my practice, as I walk around with baby August on my chest in his carrier, getting River a snack while he plays Legos, and I get ready to make dinner. The movement is our lives, as we collectively work to get free. Go team liberation, I see you! And thank you for seeing me and my family.