“…See the impact of colonialism has been huge…we Aboriginal people are spiritual people and we are still recovering because of colonialism… There’s not a lot of understanding about that on the part of white Australia because they have this misguided belief that colonialism doesn’t affect them. Of course it does! It’s made them into the people they are today, which means they cannot hear what Aboriginal people are telling them… Many are trying to run away from their own history… As they get older and more mature [chuckles], hopefully they’ll have a better understanding… You see, that mouth of the snake… our people are in pathological grieving. Our people have retreated into the belly of the snake… it’s our consolidation of our Aboriginality, a renewing of our identity. Only recently have we begun emerging from the mouth of the snake with renewal and consolidation of who we are…” Lilla Watson Birri Gubba, Gungulu Elder Brisbane Qld.
“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time; but if you are here because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” Lilla Watson
A Renewed direction – Cultural revival and survival
Self-care, as it is framed now, leaves us in danger of being isolated in our struggle and our healing. Isolation of yet another person, another injustice, is a notch in the belt of Oppression. A liberatory care practice is one in which we move beyond self-care into caring for each other.
You shouldn’t have to do this alone.
Why are we seeking Care?
There is a growing rumble of yearning for healing in our movement work. Oppression and trauma do influence our well-being. On-going generational trauma and violence affect our communities, our bodies, our hearts, minds and spirits. Racism, sexism, classism, eats at our very beings. This leads us to seek care. We know this. Our bodies know this. Our friends can read it in our faces even if we have learned to ignore it.
We put our bodies on the line everyday- because we care so deeply about our work- hunger strikes, long marches, long days at the computer or long days organizing on a street corner or a public bus or a congregation. Skip a meal, keep working. Don’t sleep, keep working. Our communities are still suffering, so I must keep going. We risk and test our bodies to go further and we stretch our hearts or close our hearts to keep going- whatever it takes- and ultimately what it takes is a toll on us. This leads us to seek care.
We want to deny it- but abelism still shapes our movement work- “go hard or go home”. In the the Needs Assessment by Kindred Southern Healing Justice Collective, they state, “Changemakers are dying as a result of spiritual and physical deprivation from trauma, stress and unrest in our movements.”
We are burning out faster and at higher rates- unable to do the work we love. How can we win when our bodies individually and collectively can’t keep up? We are risking not just burn-out, but organizer loss and movement fragmentation. We cannot afford this.
How do we move from Self-care to Community-Care?
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