May is Mental Health Awareness Month
The time for honest conversation about the innermost parts of ourselves has long since passed. May is Mental Health Awareness Month. There are countless think pieces, blog posts, articles and memes framing and reframing what it means and could mean to be Black in America. Innumerable excerpts are snatched from essays. Book chapters and research study conclusions are fragmented and cited to substantiate the creator’s theories and opinions.
To be Black in America is all too often to be silent about the things we should be loud about – even as we use our voices to selectively express dissatisfaction. The discomfort that is a derivative of our material conditions deserves a place at the table. Disturbances that often plague folks and don’t easily dissipate shouldn’t be kept from the light of processing and possible solution.
The Abolinitionist Framework
I had heard about the Highlander Center, but I never knew just how integral it has been to the liberation movement. It is a place that energetically grounds itself in personal transformation as well as the transformation of our society as a whole. Leaning on history we see the sister I’d call the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement, Septima Clarke, and how she used the highlander space to teach former slaves how to pass literacy test so that they could vote under Jim Crow. Organizing Black folks who could pass the literacy test had transformational effects on our society including the creation of the CIO, the first inclusive union, which was facilitated at the Highlander Center. The highlander is where people who are concerned with our condition in this country go to transform their lives, their values, their circumstances, their communities; it’s a place that transforms the overall human experience in Amerikkka. Since its creation people have gone there to plot the revolution and dismantle the dominant white narrative.
In February and March, Dream Defenders engaged our base through a cultural art education project that focused on revolutionary organizations from around the world and highlighted their elements of REBELLION. It’s been an enlightening process for the organization and for the squaDDs to uncover how each of these revolutionary organizations have garnered power in the past to create transformational change. It wasn't enough for us to create the artwork, we want to share this knowledge far and wide.Continue reading…
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