Navigating Grief and Cultivating Hope at the End of 2022

A part of the Collection

Motion Memos

“How can we observe deep and reciprocal relationships as resistance to our tradition of transactionalism and extraction?” asks Tanuja Jagernauth. On this year-end episode of “Motion Memos,” Jagernauth and host Kelly Hayes focus on the cultivation of hope, how activists can observe reciprocal care, the significance of celebrating large and small victories, and find out how to course of painful emotions with out being consumed by them.

Music by Son Monarcas, Charles Hubbert and Amaranth Cove


Observe: This a rush transcript and has been calmly edited for readability. Copy will not be in its ultimate kind.

Kelly Hayes: Welcome to “Motion Memos,” a Truthout podcast about organizing, solidarity and the work of creating change. That is our ultimate episode of 2022, and I can’t consider a greater solution to finish the 12 months than by concluding my ongoing dialog with my buddy Tanuja Jagernauth concerning the observe of hope. That is the third and ultimate installment in that collection, during which Tanuja has shared insights she has collected by conversations with activists and organizers who’re out within the trenches, cultivating hope, experiencing heartbreak, grieving collectively, and discovering methods ahead. Our buddy Mariame Kaba usually says that “hope is a self-discipline.” This three episode, non-sequential collection that Tanuja and I’ve put collectively started with a DM dialog about what hope as a self-discipline seems to be like for teams and organizers in observe. Whereas numerous us love the phrase “hope is a self-discipline,” we each thought that folks might use a bit extra sensible elaboration on that time. Earlier than making what we thought could be a single episode, Tanuja needed to assemble insights from different activists and teams, in order that we might inform a much bigger story. By the point she was completed, Tanuja advised me that it could truly take three episodes to cowl what she had realized. I assumed that was superb information. Whereas the idea of hope is an extremely maligned one, in these occasions, it’s additionally fairly sacred to me. I’ve seen what its absence can do to individuals, together with me, and I’ve additionally seen decided individuals, whose hopes have been grounded in motion and reciprocal care, accomplish issues that I had beforehand believed have been not possible. So, talking for myself, it’s a subject I can’t get sufficient of.

However earlier than we get into our deep dive on hope, I wish to take a second to honor a few of the different issues we could also be feeling, as a result of all of it connects. I do know that numerous us are hurting proper now. The vacations are a painful time for a few of us, and as one other 12 months involves a detailed, we’re counting our losses, but once more. We’re hurting for the earth, we’re hurting for one another, and for ourselves. We’re grieving for the individuals we have now misplaced, and are nonetheless shedding, to COVID-19. We’re hurting as a result of this factor referred to as “normalcy” retains attempting to drag us ahead in ways in which render increasingly more of us disposable. Issues have been tough earlier than the pandemic, however the brand new regular that’s being thrust upon us is much more harmful for disabled individuals, migrants, imprisoned individuals, unhoused individuals, trans individuals, and so many others. And as every marginalized group will get thrown underneath the bus, almost everyone seems to be being pulled nearer to the curb, whether or not they understand it or not, as a result of that’s how the normalization of mass loss of life, debilitation and human disposal works.

So in case you’re considering, “I don’t know if I’m prepared to speak about hope, proper now, Kelly, I really feel like shit,” I get it, and I wish to begin by thanking you. I wish to thanks for not shutting out the issues that damage. As a result of everyone knows it may be completed. We’ve watched it occur, en masse. We’ve watched individuals normalize what they can not bear or comprehend — incalculable losses that really feel inevitable, or that they merely can not reconcile. Folks normalize the methods they rely upon, and we have now seen what it seems to be like when exhausted individuals, who’re eager for normalcy, cease seeing the issues they don’t wish to see and feeling the issues they don’t wish to really feel. Once you haven’t stopped feeling these issues, seeing that disconnect occurring throughout feels nightmarish. There have been occasions when I’ve felt like I’m dwelling in a horror film, and a few nice evil is entrancing the world, making individuals detached to the loss of life and destruction being visited upon us. And to be trustworthy, there have been moments after I’ve felt jealous of people that gave the impression to be experiencing that trance, as a result of I, too, desperately needed to cease feeling the issues I used to be feeling.

Refusing to embrace the established order comes at a price. So I wish to thanks for not giving up on us. For not forgetting different individuals. For not devaluing our fellow human beings, the earth, or the land, water, communities and creatures that we can not all the time shield. Numerous moments would possibly really feel extra bearable, in a direct sense, if we forgot how a lot these issues matter, or deemed our losses inevitable, or if we stopped asking ourselves what we owe to one another, and to the earth. However in the long run, that sort of forgetting is damaging and lethal to others and to ourselves. If we permit the established order to dictate what warrants grief, empathy or outrage, we is not going to save one another, or construct radical, reciprocal actions for collective survival. So thanks for persevering with to care deeply, not solely about injustice that impacts you personally, however about what’s occurring to individuals on the opposite aspect of your metropolis, and on the opposite aspect of the nation, and the opposite aspect of the world. As a result of that’s the place our work begins, and that’s the place hope begins — with giving a rattling. That’s why we hassle to dream about what’s attainable. That’s why we take dangers and put ourselves on the road for different individuals. That’s why we construct unions, mutual assist tasks, political campaigns, abolitionist information organizations, and a lot extra. We give a rattling, so we put one foot in entrance of the opposite, and attempt to think about what comes subsequent.

We can not observe reciprocal care if we don’t give a rattling, and giving a rattling hurts, so thanks. Really. I really feel the burden of all of it, too. However the place we select to place that ache, whether or not it finds some communal expression, or objective, or simply lingers within the pit of our stomachs – I imagine that these items have the facility to have an effect on the course of historical past. So thanks for that starting, and that risk.

It is a robust time of 12 months, and I personally have to recollect find out how to honor my emotions with out being consumed by them, or slipping into an emotional abyss. So for me, this can be a nice time for a deep dive on the observe of hope. I’m guessing I’m not alone in that. So I’m inviting all of you to take a bit journey with us for the following hour or so. Unclench your jaw, chill out your shoulders, and wherever you’re, in time and house, let’s maintain this second collectively, and see what prospects that may yield.

Tanuja Jagernauth is an activist, a healer, a playwright, and an educator. She can be the Simply Tradition and Operations Director on the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization. I’m all the time grateful for her insights and I’m pleased for all of us that she’s again at the moment.

Tanuja Jagernauth: Hey, Kelly. It’s nice to be again and I actually can’t wait to share the ultimate items of knowledge that the organizers I spoke with shared with me. And I actually wish to thanks, Kelly, for giving me an opportunity to essentially dig in with people on what their observe of hope seems to be like. I’ve really realized a lot by the method, and I’m actually grateful to have a information on what training hope can appear to be. And I hope that others as they’re listening to this are recognizing issues that they and their individuals already do. And for many who don’t, I hope you’re taking away some issues that you may begin to put into observe everytime you’re prepared.

I wish to begin off with actually welcoming people who’re listening and welcoming all people who’s listening to essentially meet themselves the place they’re at. We’re all in a second the place we’re witnessing continued, and massively scaled and arranged abandonment, to make use of the language of Ruth Wilson Gilmore and different abolitionists. And so, each time we make the selection to show our take care of ourselves and one another, we’re demonstrating resistance. Any act of care, from my perspective, is a big act of resistance, particularly in the USA the place we have now a protracted legacy of extraction and transactional relationships.

And so, we’re going to speak a bit bit about this at the moment by way of what does reciprocal care appear to be, however the sort of care I’m speaking about is care that’s rooted in relationship, care that’s rooted in consent, care that’s rooted in consciousness of energy dynamics, and that’s conscious about sustaining one another’s self-determination and bodily autonomy. And one of many issues that I wish to acknowledge, Kelly, is that the time period “hope” itself, very very similar to therapeutic or self-care or group, it may well actually convey up for folk numerous sophisticated emotions as a result of the methods during which phrases like hope, therapeutic, group have been co-opted, misused and abused, they create numerous confusion, I believe, for all of us.

And that is the results of capitalism, for my part, and the methods during which the therapeutic and well being care industries have capitalized upon our personal language, twisted it, and offered it again to us. And so, in these moments, I actually recognize the chance to dig again in and bear in mind typically our responses to those phrases are literally a response to the commodification and the misuse of the phrases.

And I additionally wish to say for anyone who’s listening to the time period hope, the observe of hope, and so forth and so forth, if that’s elevating in you emotions of being mandated to really feel a sure sort of means, I wish to remind us once more that the sort of hope that we’re speaking about is de facto rooted in motion. It’s actually rooted in imaginative and prescient and focus. And so, you may actually return to the primary and the second episodes on this collection, however simply briefly, we’re not speaking a few poisonous positivity type of hope. What we’re speaking about is the hope that’s rooted in our lives as survivors in oppressive methods.

The ache that folk are feeling proper now, it’s completely legitimate and proper, and nobody, myself particularly, is right here to say, “Erase your ache, ignore your ache.” That’s completely not what I’d ever need anybody to do. I’m a former acupuncturist, and the best way that we view ache in conventional East Asian drugs is there’s a saying, and the saying is, “The place there may be movement, there isn’t a ache. The place there may be ache, there isn’t a movement.” Typically ache, in different phrases, can point out an obstruction. We reside in a society that offers us nothing however obstacles. And so, what I need us to do is, as all the time, acknowledge our ache, honor it, and actually lean in and ask, “What’s the message coming to us from this ache?”

Our ache usually is an indicator that we have now a necessity, {that a} boundary is being crossed, that we is likely to be overextending in sure methods. And it will also be an indicator that, sure, we’re being violated, our belief is being betrayed, we’re experiencing what is called ethical damage each day. We’re wanting round, and we’re seeing the state completely abandon and hurt and actually simply violate our sense of the widespread good each day. So, your ache is correct, your ache is legitimate.

And on the identical time, we wish to have the ability to take a pause and separate the ache we really feel from our analyses. And one thing that I lately learn from Rebecca Solnit is a reminder to not let our despair turn into our evaluation. And I discover that actually useful for myself. Once I take into consideration that and I take into consideration despair and I take into consideration these very actual emotions of, Holy fucking shit, what are we going to do, I take into consideration the Princess Bride truly, and I take into consideration the quicksand. I don’t know if people have seen this film, however it’s a extremely cute film. Don’t at [@] me!

However anyway, there’s a part in the Princess Bride the place the princess is strolling alongside and immediately falls into quicksand. The hero has to then seize a vine and dive in after the princess to save lots of her. And I actually take into consideration this quicksand after I take into consideration despair. It’s like our acceptance of actuality and our acceptance of the scenario goes a bit further and turns into like quicksand. We are able to simply fall into it if we’re not cautious. And so, what offers us that stable floor that we are able to actually depend on?

That’s our evaluation, that’s our group, for my part. That’s our skill to mirror, to essentially honor the place we’re at and be deliberate within the issues that we do and say in these moments whereas we’re feeling all of the issues that we’re feeling.

KH: I completely love the comparability between despair and the Lightning Sand in The Princess Bride, and as a baby of the 80’s, I’m going to nerd out a bit about why I adore it. So the Lightning Sand, which is quicksand, is among the Three Terrors of the Hearth Swamp, which Princess Buttercup and her real love Westley should navigate as a part of their nice escape. I like the quicksand as a metaphor for despair as a result of everyone knows that typically we simply need to really feel our emotions, as a result of they’re actual. So typically, we’re within the Hearth Swamp. That’s simply the place we’re, and what’s occurring, and we aren’t going to really feel nice about that. After which BAM, we step in quicksand, and as an alternative of simply being in a foul place, we’re being consumed by that unhealthy place. That’s despair. I additionally just like the comparability as a result of the dialogue between Buttercup and Westley within the Hearth Swamp is a push/pull between hope and despair. After surviving her fall into the quicksand, Buttercup tells Westley, “We’ll by no means succeed — we could as nicely die right here.” And I believe many people can relate to that feeling, even with out a near-drowning in quicksand incident. Westley responds by telling Buttercup “we have now already succeeded,” as a result of they know now find out how to keep away from the quicksand and the random hearth spurts of the swamp. He’s then instantly attacked by an enormous, fire-breathing rat. Generally, that’s what attempting to domesticate hope appears like, from one second to the following. You’re taking one step ahead, two steps again, and now an enormous rat is attempting to eat your fucking arm. However we preserve combating, similar to Westley fought that unusually massive rodent, as a result of the issues we wish are price combating for, irrespective of how bleak or not possible issues could seem.

However navigating catastrophe isn’t all the time a alternative between hope and despair. As we have now seen throughout the pandemic, denial and avoidance are extraordinarily widespread reactions to disaster and injustice. In a 2016 interview in The Chicago Reader, author and human rights activist Jamie Kalven voiced considerations that the awful political panorama of the Trump period could lead on individuals to steer extra insular, apolitical lives. He stated:

There was a time period utilized in central Europe to explain those that opted to retreat into non-public life underneath totalitarianism. They have been referred to as “inner emigres.” That’s actually tempting at a time like this: to reside one’s life within the wholly non-public realm, having fun with the corporate of associates, good foods and drinks, the pleasures of literature and music, and so forth. Privileged sectors of our society are already closely skewed that means. It’s an actual hazard at a time like this. If we withdraw from public engagement now, we assist and abet that which we deplore.

Sound acquainted? I believe there are totally different strains of this phenomenon, and one is certainly the system-justifying conduct of people who find themselves persevering with to reenact normalcy, irrespective of what number of lives are being misplaced within the margins. As Kalven says, issues have been already skewed that means amongst some individuals. The capitalist trance and cooperative loss of life march that stop us from waging collective responses which are commensurate with the injustices of the local weather disaster, policing and extra, are important to the system’s survival. The ruling class wants us to isolate ourselves, and to be consumed by our personal tales, quite than seeing ourselves as half of a bigger story. I wasn’t kidding on the prime of the present after I thanked you all for persevering with to really feel the issues that damage. We don’t wish to damage 24/7, and we don’t wish to be consumed by our damage, however we all know we are able to’t shut these items out.

TJ: I utterly relate to the impulse to go inward and to self-protect as a result of there’s a lot to course of on a regular basis. And that’s legitimate and proper. And on the identical time, going again to Conventional East Asian Drugs, there’s a yin and a yang to every part that we do. Going inward may be extreme at a sure level.

And so, what I’ve been discovering useful proper now could be giving myself that point that I do must go inward, do what I must do, self-regulate, handle my triggers, get the remaining that I would like. And I’m so grateful that I’m truly able proper now financially the place I can relaxation. Kelly, there was a time in my life the place I used to be working four-plus jobs simply to make ends meet. Shout out to 2019, by no means going again there once more. However now, what I do discover myself doing is taking that point to essentially relaxation, mirror, get my head proper, discuss to the folks that assist me to course of.

I exploit varied instruments. I’ve an excellent useful anti-anxiety pocket book. Shout out to my therapist — former therapist — who pointed me in that course. I exploit my instruments. After which, I actually pay attention. And after I really feel like I’m again in a spot the place I can get again on the market and attain out to people, examine in with people, preserve the mutual assist challenge transferring. Then I bounce again in. Generally, sure, we don’t have the luxurious of spending an excessive amount of time in our cozy little nerd cave, however I’d suggest while you actually do really feel your self being overwhelmed, and while you discover your ideas and your phrases and your actions contributing extra hurt in areas, that’s the second to take a step again.

And truly, one of many issues that the organizers shared with me after I talked to them was the need actually to take that step out. Kristina Tendilla shared with me her reflection that when individuals don’t take the time to take a step again, they actually can convey hurt into our areas and our organizations. Nikki McKinney additionally talked about that we actually have to be good at giving people the chance to faucet out when they should. Elsa Hiltner affirms that as nicely. One of many issues that helps Elsa and her group is there’s a superb group of them, in order that they have sufficient individuals. If one individual must faucet out, that doesn’t imply that your entire operation shuts down.

And so, this raises the notion of resourcing your self with sufficient people while you’re engaged on one thing so that folk actually can take a break. It additionally raises the notion of actually delegating duties, having the ability to do this, and cross-training all people on the issues that you just achieve this that… possibly you’ve received assets written, you’ve received protocols written down, otherwise you’ve simply hung out doing issues with different individuals in order that they know find out how to preserve issues working if and when somebody has to take that pause.

And in my very own life, in my very own expertise, that has been the factor that I didn’t do, and that was one of many items that was a downfall for a former challenge that I used to be engaged on. So, don’t do what I did, y’all. Ensure you’ve received sufficient individuals working with you. Be certain that people know find out how to preserve issues working in order that we actually may give one another the grace and the chance to faucet out when it is advisable after which faucet again in.

KH: All of that resonates a lot. As somebody who has been organizing for a very long time now, it’s fairly simple for me to discern, looking back, that the majority of my shittier moments, after I actually wasn’t dwelling my values, or failed to contemplate another person’s emotions, or simply plain missed the purpose, have occurred after I was exhausted, overworked and overwhelmed. To be clear, these aren’t excuses to be shitty with different individuals, however for me, they’re warning indicators that I’m at a better threat of being shitty to different individuals, and I’ve to be accountable to that consciousness. These emotions, on a protracted foundation, imply that I’m not okay, and whereas all of us push by fatigue and discomfort typically, the extra I permit myself to fray, the extra probably I’m to have moments when I’m not my finest self. I’m guessing a few of you may relate to that, as a result of I’ve heard time after time from activists over time, within the wake of some misstep, that they have been simply too mentally and bodily exhausted to indicate up proper within the second when every part went incorrect. We’re so accustomed to forcing a efficiency out of ourselves as a result of that’s what capitalism calls for, or as a result of it’s an emergency, that we typically neglect what it’s that we’re constructing.

We don’t work for actions, we represent actions. Which means, if I’m neglected or overworked, in a means that’s changing into injurious to me, on a protracted sufficient timeline, the ensuing harm goes to increase past me. Indirectly or one other, that hurt will occur. To be clear, I’m not advocating for what some individuals would name “self-care,” as a result of I hate that framing, however quite, the understanding that my well-being just isn’t some optionally available concern that may exist outdoors of the issues I construct or the relationships that I keep. I’m not separate. The system isolates individuals, works them to loss of life, and disposes of them, deeming some individuals much less worthy of meals, house and survival than others. We’ve to interrupt that cycle, not reenact it within the title of a trigger. Our wants as human beings matter.

One want that I believe has gone unmet for lots of us in these occasions is the necessity to grieve in collectivity. Our grief has typically introduced us collectively, in protest or at memorials, however the ratio of loss to memorialization over the previous couple of years is staggering. The ruling class doesn’t need us to pause to course of the severity of our losses, who’s being sacrificed, or why. They don’t need us to dwell on the enormity of our losses, as a result of if we did, much more individuals could be fed up and laying down calls for.

TJ: I do suppose numerous us are grieving. We’re grieving not simply private losses, however we’re grieving the sense of a collective settlement which will have been there consciously or unconsciously. As we see the proof repeatedly of this organized abandonment, we’re grieving this sense of what we’d’ve hoped was there, and that grief is correct and that grief is actual. And I additionally need us to maintain in our minds the phrases that Cindy Milstein, who wrote in Rebellious Mourning, “Our grief, our emotions, as phrases or actions, photos or practices, can open up cracks within the wall of the system. It will possibly additionally pry open areas of contestation and reconstruction, intervulnerability and power, empathy and solidarity. It will possibly discomfort the tales advised from above that might have us imagine we aren’t human or deserving of life-affirming lives, or for that matter, life-affirming deaths.”

A part of our resistance proper now could be to provide one another these life-affirming lives and after we can, the life-affirming deaths, and to the extent that it’s accessible to you, I’d invite us all to contemplate to succeed in out to one another and share these moments of grief. We actually have great instruments accessible to us now for find out how to maintain these areas.

I’ve talked concerning the Clearing Circle from Shira Hassan and Mariame Kaba of their e book, Fumbling In the direction of Restore. The Clearing Circle is such a beautiful instrument, and it’s simply one in every of many instruments that folk can use. Crew up with someone who’s a talented facilitator to co-facilitate an area. And I’d actually suggest and invite us to carry house for this grief. It actually does require us to take an opportunity on being possibly a bit extra susceptible than we could also be used to. And likewise, we don’t wish to miss the chance to faucet our collective grief.

KH: So we all know that we don’t need transactional relationships, or to empty individuals like batteries, however we additionally know that the work we’re speaking about may be draining. So how do organizers discover a steadiness? How can we keep {our relationships} and our observe of hope?

TJ: One of many issues that the organizers I spoke to talked about was sustaining our wrestle, sustaining our observe of hope. And I actually needed to share a few of their key takeaways, however they actually have made me take into consideration how can we convey our observe of therapeutic and abolition dwelling. How can we observe deep and reciprocal relationships as resistance to our tradition of transactionalism and extraction? So, one of many issues that I’m taking away from these conversations with people is we have to take the lengthy view first.

Elsa Hiltner reminds us that in case you’re doing cultural work, we have to do not forget that it’s going to take time. Elsa says, “There’s nothing simple about this, and you realize there’s a motive why it hasn’t been completed already.” Elsa works within the theater trade and is organizing for equitable pay for artists. And this work actually requires Elsa to have laser give attention to the narratives which are being perpetuated by the trade and folk that work within the trade.

And so, Elsa actually hones in on what persons are saying and makes certain that she’s distinguishing between when persons are chatting with a shortage mannequin or in the event that they’re talking from a spot of expertise and hope and transformation. However she does acknowledge, it’s actually exhausting to show this off. So, Elsa takes the lengthy view as she does her work.

The organizers jogged my memory that we do must additionally bear in mind seasonality in our work. We’ve seasons of exercise that vary from fall, winter, spring and summer time. And it’s okay to be in a season which will really feel out of sync with what the expectations are. In organizing usually and in activism, I really feel like we anticipate one another or we anticipate ourselves to always be in summer time season and even early fall after we’re expansive, after we’re extremely energetic, after we are producing numerous stuff, however we additionally inherently have winter as nicely. Our our bodies need that relaxation. Our minds need and want that relaxation.

We’re collectively going into winter. And so, that is truly a extremely nice time to essentially embrace winter, embrace winter as a season, however embrace winter as a observe as nicely. So, we are able to take this time to go inward a bit bit, and we are able to take this time to mirror, look again and actually monitor what we’ve completed so far. And imaginative and prescient, proper? What can we wish to do transferring ahead? That is additionally a extremely good time to do the groundwork.

The Hope Praxis Collective identified in my interview with them, the groundwork is such a key element of the work that all of us do. They famous that in the summertime of 2020 after we noticed huge collective uprisings, these appeared tremendous spontaneous, however they have been truly constructed on years of organizing and years of doing what they name “unglamorous trucking alongside.” And so, they famous the groundwork is a extremely big a part of making actions occur. And what they do is they really construct this into their every day observe.

They consider, “Okay, what’s the groundwork that actually must be occurring at the moment and repeatedly?” And so they acknowledge the groundwork stuff. It’s not flashy, however it actually is the work that’s wanted to maintain our teams going and our work going. And so, winter is a fantastic time to essentially lean into that work, doing that gradual, quiet, much less seen work. And it may well appear to be numerous various things. However some issues that come to thoughts and that I’ve heard about and practiced myself is one-on-ones. Winter, throughout a gradual time is a good time to do one-on-one conversations the place you’re actually simply checking in with people.

You possibly can name them relational interviews however it’s only a time to get human with one another, do one thing that every of you take pleasure in doing and get to know individuals on a human stage past the work that you just do. I do know numerous people who’re actually good at this, and I recognize them as a result of it jogs my memory why we do that work within the first place.

Throughout a time of winter and a time of slowdown, we are able to observe standard schooling. We are able to skillshare with each other. We are able to ask one another, “Hey, what did you be taught this 12 months that’s actually sticking with you? Do you wish to share something about that with us? How can we use this factor that you just’ve realized this 12 months in our work subsequent 12 months?”

It is a time for planting seeds with our family members, having these conversations, spending that point. There’s a lot great literature popping out proper now that speaks to simply the fundamentals of abolition and what the visions for abolition are. And so, we are able to share these stunning choices with our associates and family members and simply make these connections, plant these seeds on a barely much less thrilling word however equally essential.

We are able to additionally attain again out to people who could have fallen away this 12 months. We’ve been speaking about people actually doing their finest to navigate feelings and ache, and persons are actually processing loads. And folks could have fallen away from their mutual assist work and different work as a result of they actually simply are overwhelmed. And so, this might be an important second to succeed in out to people you haven’t heard from shortly and simply drop that pleasant meme and the way are you? And let me know if you wish to do a Zoom chat or take a stroll or no matter it is likely to be.

I’m a giant fan of simply reflecting, wanting again and checking again in with my values. I realized this observe and actually began training it in 2020 when it was virtually obligatory to take that pause. All the jobs that I used to be engaged on truly stopped, and I’m fortunate sufficient that I received a unique full-time job. However that pause of having the ability to sit with every part was so essential. And in that pause, I used to be in a position to simply actually assess and say, “Okay, trip. What are the values that I wish to uphold transferring ahead? After which, what are the practices that I actually need to let go?” What are the methods during which I’ve been taking part in transactional relationships? What are the methods during which I’ve been truly taking part in exploitation of myself and doubtlessly others?” Letting that go.

However I couldn’t have completed that with out that chance to simply pause and actually mirror. And so, we are able to take that point within the winter. We may give one another that point within the winter to do this values check-in and realignment.

One of many items of working in organizations and mutual assist formations is that our teams may be home windows and they are often mirrors. They are often locations the place we acquire perception into others and the world. They will also be locations the place we see ourselves mirrored again at us and we have now a alternative in how we reply to what we see. I’d actually invite us to — something that we see mirrored again at us, whether or not it’s uncomfortable, unflattering, et cetera — we actually take it and obtain it and spend a while with it and interrogate it. And I believe the winter, throughout a slowdown is a good time to do this.

And also you don’t have to do that in isolation. You could find a buddy or a few buddies that you’ve got, you constructed belief and constructed a relationship with. And that is the time to work on our stuff. And once more, going again to the Clearing Circle from Shira Hassan and Fumbling Towards Repair, just like the Clearing Circle is a fantastic mannequin for doing that reflection.

KH: The idea of seasonality has been so essential to my very own work. Once I interviewed Carlos Saavedra, who’s the founding father of Ayni Institute, for Let This Radicalize You — which is a e book I co-authored with Mariame Kaba that shall be out in Could of 2023 — he emphasised the significance of caring for your individuals in winter. That actually resonated with me. I believe numerous people who expertise burnout solely really feel seen when their labor is being requested. I’ve described this phenomenon as feeling like a 911 operator. Every little thing’s an emergency. Generally, what we’re engaged on is an emergency, and we don’t get to construct with individuals as lovingly or deliberately as we would like. However in these durations when I’m not in emergency mode, when there’s time to plan, to heal, to be taught new expertise, to revamp outdated security plans, we have now to proceed to take a position deeply in each other and the tasks we hope will blossom within the spring. As we’ve emphasised in current episodes, these are nice occasions for research teams. We must always ask ourselves, what points are we grappling with? What data might assist us? What books can we learn and focus on collectively to begin formulating our subsequent strikes? It is a nice time to be taught collectively, and if we’re considering deeply about concepts like “collective care,” phrases that got to us by incapacity justice organizers, then we must be studying books like Care Work and The Future Is Disabled and discussing them collectively.

I additionally suppose this can be a nice time for popular culture dialogue teams. I’d like to get in a bunch with individuals to speak about Andor or Severance, and possibly do some shared studying concerning the concepts invoked in these tv exhibits, that are radical as hell and will ship us down every kind of great rabbit holes.

I additionally love Tanuja’s recommendation about reaching out to individuals who could have fallen away from the work. Sustaining that human connection, outdoors of any expectations about productiveness, is essential. As a result of in the end, it’s not simply what we do collectively that issues, but additionally how we do it.

TJ: Within the conversations that I used to be in a position to have with organizers, they actually converse to a quote that I learn in As We Have At all times Finished by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. Leanne writes,

“It grew to become clear to me that how we reside, how we arrange, how we have interaction on the planet, the method not solely frames the result, it’s the transformation. How molds after which offers start to the current. The how adjustments us. How is the theoretical intervention. Participating in deep and reciprocal indigeneity is a transformative act as a result of it essentially adjustments the modes of manufacturing of our lives.

It adjustments the relationships that home our our bodies and our considering. It adjustments how we conceptualize nationhood. Indigenous intelligence methods arrange, keep, and regenerate the neuropathways for indigenous dwelling each inside our our bodies and the net of connections that construction our nationhood outdoors our our bodies. Engagement adjustments us as a result of it constructs a unique world inside which we reside.

We reside fused to land in an important means. If we wish to create a unique future, we have to reside a unique current, in order that current can totally marinate, affect, and create totally different futurities.

And what I take away from this quote and from the conversations with the organizers I spoke to, is we’re inviting one another into a unique way of life. And thru that totally different way of life, we are going to and are creating the following world.

KH: There may be one other small excerpt from As We Have At all times Finished that I believe is price contemplating as we finish the 12 months. The passage comes from the e book’s introduction. It reads:

It is a manifesto to create networks of reciprocal resurgent actions with different people and nonhumans radically imagining their methods out of domination, who usually are not afraid to let these imaginings destroy the pillars of settler colonialism.

That is my starting. That is my radical resurgent current.

I needed to share these phrases as a result of they offer me hope, and since I believe they describe so lots of the ways in which we’re working to maintain one another alive and get free. In our final episode, I talked with Shira Hassan about Liberatory Hurt Discount, and I believe this can be a time to take classes from communities, together with Indigenous communities, disabled individuals, Black individuals and criminalized communities, together with intercourse staff and individuals who use criminalized substances, about how individuals have been imagining their means out of hazard, in defiance of their domination, for generations. The traditions and classes of Liberatory Hurt Discount will assist us construct ahead on this second, simply because the Black Southern traditions of therapeutic justice and the reciprocal practices of so many Indigenous communities may help us construct ahead — if we’re keen to be taught.

To face what’s forward, we have to forged off all notions of respectability and take into consideration what it means to be rebellious thinkers who refuse to depart one another behind in catastrophic occasions. I do know lots of people who’re involved about reproductive justice are impressed by The Janes, for instance, however they’re only one essential instance in a a lot bigger lineage of shared data, reciprocal care and solidarity, which is why everybody ought to get a duplicate of Saving Our Personal Lives by Shira Hassan.

TJ: One of many issues that I actually wish to raise up from the conversations I had was simply the need of hurt discount, liberatory hurt discount, and assembly one another the place we’re at. And I’m not going to go an excessive amount of into the definition of liberatory hurt discount as Shira Hassan was simply on Motion Memos. So, I actually suggest that folk examine that episode out. However I wish to raise up two key components of liberatory hurt discount.

One, liberatory hurt discount is assist for one another and our communities with out judgment, stigma, or coercion. We don’t power others to alter. Secondly, liberatory hurt discount is true self-determination and whole physique autonomy. I really feel like we’re in a second the place we’re invited and welcome to pivot in direction of this observe with one another and with ourselves. And one of many issues that Kristina Tendilla shared with me was her perception that everybody brings a superpower. And this can be a totally different type of liberatory hurt discount for my part.

For Kristina, discovering that superpower permits us to honor and affirm totally different sorts of management. Kristina actually spoke to the aunties, the aunties in our communities and in our formations. And the aunties don’t need to be organic aunties. These are people that do numerous the care work behind the scenes. They feed individuals, they assist individuals’s emotional care. Oftentimes, they’re offering youngster care or they’re offering rides. That could be a type of management. That could be a type of reciprocal care. We wish to honor the oldsters who’re doing that labor and meet one another in that power. It’s a extremely stunning factor when we have now people like that in our midst.

For Juli Kempner, assembly people the place they’re at takes a good quantity of instinct, and Juli does her finest to softly discover out what individuals want. And so, typically she says to individuals, “I don’t know what would enable you to proper now. Are you able to inform me if you realize? And if I can, I’ll try to present it.” And one of many issues that Juli does is she sits quietly with individuals and she or he’ll provide people choices. So, do they want a stroll? Do they want some assist to have a tough dialog with somebody that they should have?

Juli famous that there are simply so some ways to assist somebody by a disaster. However crucial factor, even when people usually are not going by a disaster, it’s to validate people’ emotions, it doesn’t matter what they’re feeling. Juli does her finest to not query why people really feel the best way they really feel. Juli makes an effort to not make others evaluate their ache to anybody else’s by saying stuff like, “Nicely, so and so has it worse.”

What Juli does do is she reminds people very gently that the sentiments they’ve can change. These emotions in all probability will change over time they usually could return once more. That’s the character of therapeutic. Therapeutic, as we all know, it’s not linear. And so when these emotions come again once more, that’s okay, and we are going to handle them. One other factor that Juli actually depends on is a educating that comes from Buddhism. And that’s that our emotions, whereas legitimate, usually are not details. And so, Juli encourages people to take a step again, breathe, grieve, permit, watch the sentiments go by, and they’ll.

That’s actually exhausting to imagine while you’re within the second. However I also can attest to the truth that this actually is true. And Juli says, “I’ve had to do this minute by minute, hour by hour, daily. And it’s modified me by way of how I strategy therapeutic.” And this observe of permitting, not treating emotions as factual, Juli says it’s made her extra affected person with people who’re additionally in deep despair and in deep disaster. So, this can be a observe that we are able to consider using for ourselves and with one another.

KH: One other factor I need individuals to consider, as we shut the 12 months, or everytime you occur to listen to this episode, is what you will have gotten proper. I discussed on the prime of the present that we are likely to depend our losses on the 12 months’s finish. That’s pure and that commemoration is essential, however I additionally need us to consider how reminiscence works, and that the scary and painful stuff imprints itself way more simply than the great. The moments while you held onto your values, despite the fact that it was exhausting, the moments while you helped somebody who might need been afraid, in hassle, and even determined, the moments while you felt pleasure and shared that pleasure with others, the moments while you gained — in a merciless twist of neurochemistry, these moments are tougher to carry onto. Generally, when I’m experiencing one thing I do know goes to assist maintain me later, I strive so exhausting to memorize it, as a result of I do know these issues are tougher to maintain. So I’m large on commemorating the great occasions, in addition to the unhealthy.

TJ: Throughout the winter, throughout a slowdown can be a time, people, to rejoice our wins. The organizers that I spoke to, lots of them talked about celebrating our wins as a key observe and sustaining hope and sustaining our wrestle.

And truly, Hope Praxis Collective, they’re rooted in Milwaukee, however they credit score Chicago with educating them the significance for celebrating wins and victories. And so, they famous in our dialog, “Our struggles are so intimately related.” And so, when one group in a single city is doing celebration and demonstrating that, simply discover others are watching and hopefully taking that invitation to do the identical.

In case you’re considering, “Nicely, it’s been a shit 12 months, I’ve no wins,” I’d pause and say, you even have extra wins than you suppose. A win doesn’t need to look the best way that we would historically consider it. A win just isn’t all the time shutting X, Y, Z down or doing the blockade. These are great wins. However a win may be one thing so simple as getting people to speak.

That is coming from Elsa Hiltner, for Elsa, who’s working within the theater trade, getting people to hopefully come to a consensus across the situation of pay fairness for artists. Getting people to even title that pay fairness is an issue, that’s an enormous win. So, within the theater trade, there’s numerous silence across the exploitation of artists. And so, simply breaking that silence is a big win.

And I’ve a robust feeling that, for anybody who’s listening proper now, like all tough dialog that you just’ve had this 12 months, irrespective of the way it turned out, think about {that a} win. Getting people to speak to one another is a big win. Juli Kempner shared an instance from her life. She has a cousin that she’s in a tricky relationship with, and this can be a cousin that she actually might have walked away from many, many occasions, however she stayed dedicated to their relationship.

And thru their dialog and sustained connection, someday, Juli’s cousin shared along with her that their conversations enabled her cousin to really have a dialog with one in every of their mother and father. And that was actually therapeutic for them. And the cousin shared that their relationship helps to open their thoughts and reevaluate how they needed to be on the planet. And that is a part of our therapeutic work. That is a part of our group constructing and our abolition work. That is a part of bringing our therapeutic and abolition dwelling.

So, I need us to essentially think about these moments wins, and we have to make the time to rejoice them. So, as soon as once more, you may rejoice them with your self, you may rejoice them with others. However the lesson that I took away from my conversations with the organizers I spoke to was, we should rejoice our wins of any dimension.

After which lastly, we’re dwelling by a time proper now the place we’re listening to numerous dialog concerning the finish of the world. I’m listening to and seeing the time period Armageddon loads. And for all of us, it may well actually conjure very particular issues, some issues which are rooted in particular religions and so forth and so forth. However in studying Rehearsals for Living, I’m so grateful to Robyn Maynard and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson who say, “Maintain up, wait a minute, after we are speaking concerning the finish of the world, which world are we speaking about ending? Whose world are we speaking about?”

And so they actually received me to consider the truth that if what we’re speaking about is the loss of life and decay of capitalism, that’s truly an important alternative, and that’s the start of the following world. And so, after I began to consider that, I can see indicators of that subsequent world sprouting and coming to fruition already. And so, in my conversations with the organizers and in studying Rehearsals for Dwelling, one of many largest takeaways is like, we’re right here as a result of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people, our ancestors, they’ve gone by world-ending experiences time and time once more, they usually have continued to construct and rebuild their world.

So many people, as Mariame Kaba and Andrea Ritchie level out of their e book, No More Police, we’re survivors, and our actions are populated by individuals who have identified violence and oppression intimately without end. And we’re right here as a result of they created methods to remain secure. We talked concerning the observe of liberatory hurt discount. Liberatory hurt discount was created by Black and Brown and Indigenous intercourse staff and drug customers. And we have now this observe due to their ingenuity. And so, we’re truly resourced with the instruments and the abilities and the individuals and the data to outlive.

A key takeaway for me from the conversations I had with the organizers and from so many stunning issues that I’ve been in a position to learn in preparation for this podcast interview was simply the query, how can we observe a politics of refusal as we’re bringing our therapeutic and our abolition dwelling? Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs, who’s a poet and a scholar, asks, “What does it appear to be to be illiberal of colonialism? What life would spring up? What restoration is feasible if the colonial power truly shuts down?”

I believe this can be a nice time to ask “what if.” What if is among the key questions that artists ask themselves after they sit down in entrance of a clean web page. What if we have been dwelling in a time past police, past prisons? What would that appear to be? What would that scent like?

In a earlier episode, I referenced Kristiana Rae Colón’s world-building train. We’re in a second the place we are able to completely, say, throughout a winter pause in our work, actually get collectively and do that what-if visioning. Let’s take ourselves by the senses by way of the following world that we’re constructing. As a result of the factor that I’m so reminded of is that we’re not completed changing into, even throughout this time of disaster. Sure, there may be worry, sure, there may be despair, and in addition we are able to displace it, proper, with one another, with our practices, and we are able to tackle a studying and curious stance.

Maxine Hong Kingston says, “In a time of destruction, create one thing.” In that phrase, I completely hear refusal. We are able to say, “Sure, all of that is occurring.” And likewise, in training a politics of refusal, I’m going to create one thing stunning that stands in stark distinction to every part that I’m seeing. And a extremely stunning instance, Kelly, is an occasion that you just’re organizing the place we’re going to be sharing carols outdoors of a juvenile detention middle. For me, it’s occasions like that that actually, one, prefigure the world during which we wish to reside however then additionally observe this politics of abject refusal for the cruelty and the ache created by conserving kids in cages.

So usually in occasions of disaster, we are typically handed a script. We’re assigned a job, and it’s not a job that we auditioned for. It’s not a job that we selected. And so, in training a politics of refusal on this second, we are able to ask ourselves, how am I going at hand again this script? Or how am I going to rewrite this script? Or how am I going to simply get the fuck off the stage and create my very own piece of untamed resistance artwork?

Robyn Maynard wrote, “I realized from Ojore Lutalo who spent 28 years in a New Jersey State Jail that we’re our personal liberators. We’ve to outline our personal actuality.” She and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson requested, “How can we demand an alternate timeline?” And of their e book, Rehearsals for Dwelling, they paraphrase Dionne Model who asks, “How do we modify the air?”

How do we modify the very air that we breathe? How can we refuse the crumbs of change, the illusions of progress, the bullshit DEI [Diversity, Equity and Inclusion] assertion that doesn’t imply something in precise observe, and really demand a change to the best way issues function in our every day lives? How do we modify the air?

And so, I take numerous inspiration from all of this, and for me, that is a part of the observe of hope, is taking questions like this and taking a second to, sure, acknowledge the ache, sure, acknowledge the sentiments of confusion, and on the identical time let or not it’s as we pivot towards what we wish to create with ourselves and one another.

So, in closing, I simply actually wish to thank all people for becoming a member of on this exploration of what the observe of hope seems to be like. And I wish to go away us simply with these questions of, what future are all of us going to be rehearsing each single day by our every day actions and the way are we going to proceed bringing our therapeutic and our abolition work dwelling?

And I’d like to supply this excerpt from Assata Shakur’s poem, “Affirmation”:

i imagine in dwelling

i imagine in start.

i imagine within the sweat of affection

and within the hearth of reality.

And that i imagine {that a} misplaced ship,

steered by drained, seasick sailors,

can nonetheless be guided dwelling to port.


KH: That poem all the time chokes me up. As a result of I imagine in these issues, too. I additionally imagine within the energy of phrases, and studying has been as essential to my observe of hope as something I’ve completed over the previous couple of years. So I’d additionally like to shut with some phrases of poetry — phrases that I believe match the second, as we enter a brand new 12 months. In her poem “Name,” Krista Franklin wrote:

Artists, Writers, Intellectuals, Inventors: Tina Turner already advised you, “We don’t want one other hero. We don’t must know how dwelling.” Make a brand new dwelling. A twenty-first century imaginative and prescient. A future picture. Rise up from the Banquet Desk of The Feast of American Insanity. Wipe your mouth and switch your entire desk over. Seize the hand of the individual subsequent to you and make a break for it. French kiss the concept of Humanity. If You discover Your creativeness can not cease itself from churning out the scripts of the Dying Machines, pull its plug. Dismantle it. Reprogram it. Dream Daylight. Manufacture Daylight. We’re the Magicians.

Make Magic.

I wish to thank Tanuja Jagernauth for becoming a member of me on this journey and this exploration of the observe of hope. I additionally wish to thank everybody who Tanuja spoke with for this challenge. It’s a tremendous assortment of oldsters, and you may be taught extra about them and the place to seek out their work within the present notes of this episode on our web site at

I additionally wish to thank our listeners for becoming a member of us at the moment, and bear in mind, our greatest protection towards cynicism is to do good, and to recollect, that the great we do issues. Till subsequent time, I’ll see you within the streets.

Present Notes

  • To be taught extra from Tanuja, try her website.
  • You could find the earlier episodes of this non-sequential collection on the observe of hope right here and right here.
  • Now you can comply with Kelly on Mastadon at You too can discover her on Instagram and Facebook, along with Twitter. Please remember to comply with Motion Memos wherever you get your podcasts. We’ll be again on January 12, 2023. See you subsequent 12 months!




  • EJ Principles and Jemez Principles for Democratic Organizing
  • On Our Team builds pay and labor fairness within the theatre trade, and is devoted to making a united entrance in requiring equitable pay and assist for theatrical designers.
  • Hope Praxis Collective is a Milwaukee-based capability constructing collective.
  • Survived and Punished NY is the New York affiliate of a coalition of protection campaigns and grassroots teams dedicated to eradicating the criminalization of survivors of home and sexual violence and the tradition of violence that contributes to it.
  • Midwest Academy is a nationwide coaching institute dedicated to advancing the wrestle for social, financial and racial justice.

We lengthen our warmest due to the organizers who shared their time and expertise with us for this collection, together with:

  • Kristina Tendilla, organizer with the Midwest Academy
  • Elsa Hiltner, On Our Crew works for pay and labor fairness within the theatre trade
  • Hope Praxis Collective
  • Juli Kempner, organizer with Survived and Punished in New York
  • Bettina Johnson, an organizer with Liberation Library
  • Nikki McKinney, a youth organizer
  • chiara galimberti, an acupuncturist, organizer, author and graphic artist
  • James Daley, investigative journalist and labor union organizer

Good friend, we’d like your assist.

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