Ramblings On Being Intentional: or setting my intentions and core values in movement spaces

CC BY-SA 3.0 Nick Youngson

Lately I have realized that I haven’t been direct enough — intentional enough — for people to understand my core values. I am new as can be to organizing anything outside of my immediate family and friends, so please extend me grace to learn as I go. I am a mom and like parenting, organizing can be a tricky endeavor with no clear path and no one right way to do things. When you wake up and decide you are sick and tired of being sick and tired of accepting the things you can’t change, no one hands you a manual on how to proceed into the realm of doing what you can to change what you can not accept. So watch me as I try and stumble and fall and try again. But also hold me accountable for following through on the big ideas I have that sometimes fall flat and other times just don’t make any damn sense. And hold me accountable if I cause harm to groups that are also fighting for their space and liberation from oppression that I do not endure. And I’ll try to do the same for you.

I never claimed to know it all. I never even claimed to be an activist or advocate for that matter.

Some days it seems like I got on a runaway train and people are looking at me to steer it; despite me looking around going “wait, what about her? Or him? Or can’t they do it?” I’m just a mom trying to do a “thing” to help some folx. That’s all. I would, however, like to organize and create community with like minded people and try to “do a thing” together.

So here I am, being intentional with my core values and beliefs that bring me to want to be in community with you if our values align. If they don’t but we need to work together to get a thing done, I’m a grown up. I can do it, but my preference is to be in collaboration with people who can share my vision and help me grow in my knowledge and understanding of the world.

But I go back to the beginning and start with a clean slate and make it known I believe that recognizing intersectionality first and foremost is what will get us all free.

If you don’t know what that is and what that means, you probably haven’t been with me on this journey of Killing Georgina. It’s not too late to scroll all the way back and catch up. Killing Georgina is only 7 months old. Using intersectional feminism as a guide, we believe in centering the people most affected first when looking to organize to effect change. I recognize and remind myself often about the levels of privilege that I have that allows me to be able to even attempt this work. I try to stay humble and remember none of this is about me. I’m driven to do the work because illogical occurrences cause me physical pain in my soul, but I am doing the work from my soul and for hope. Keeping ego from being involved is key to me. I have no political aspirations and no hidden agendas. I do my best to live by the motto of “above all else do no harm to others”. If I can make a living doing something to help others so be it, because I have bills and needs too. But I am not involved in any of this for financial gains.

I am one who has always been known to share information with others, because I really honestly believe when you know better you do better. And isn’t that the goal? It’s always mine. Growth and doing better. Simple as that. I don’t compare myself to other people (or at least I try to check myself when the occasion arises) because I find that to be a fruitless exercise that is counterproductive. I compare current me to me in the past and look for development and enrichment in my knowledge, understanding and humanity.

When I started being interested in social justice and anti-racism work, I kept reading, “find the people already doing the work and support them.” When I couldn’t find the people doing the work in RI, I de facto became one of the people. Then I was introduced to others who were activists and advocates of communities I wanted to support. I told my team, now our job is to support the people already doing the work and center the most vulnerable amongst them. I’ll say it again, I never claimed to be an activist and I don’t need my name to be boosted for me to show up and do the thing. I’m just trying to be active in the community and my state and issues that I see and believe need addressing especially now that our federal government is attacking marginalized communities from every direction. It’s important for us to step up and do what we can locally to protect each other as best we can. So I’m trying to be a voice for people who need it, trying to lend some back up to situations that could use amplification. That’s what I’m here for. That’s what it’s about for me.

I am not a competitive person and have no desire to fight for dominance over domain. I am already stepping out of my comfort zone to be in community with strangers. I would much rather be in my house than driving around going to State House hearings and School Committee meetings. For me, competition sucks the energy out of a room faster than anything and takes the fight out of me real quick. I’d much rather collaborate with people, with one caveat. I reserve the right to change my mind on tactical matters and best practices and approaches as I expand my knowledge.

Currently, intersectional feminism is the basis of all the work I wish to do and the changes I seek to fight for in the world but who knows what could evolve tomorrow from our understanding and search to be better than we were yesterday.

Today, and until I give you future notice, this is where I wish to create and collaborate:

  1. People who believe and understand the full platform of objectives and goals of Black lives matter! #blacklivesmatter! #black #lives #matter! #BLM
  • I don’t just say that because it’s a catchphrase or it’s trendy right now but because I am a woman who is black and I have often felt like the world does not value me because of that and I need the world to value me, my children, my parents, my aunts, uncles and cousins and all black and brown people in this country. I believe in the vision of a world without the oppressive systems that Black Lives Matter seek to dismantle.
  • Anti-blackness is a genocide that is claiming black and brown lives at an alarming rate through the school to prison pipeline, gentrification, the war on drugs, mass incarceration, police brutality, poverty and crime, mental illness and lack of resources and education.
  • Before you form an opinion about Black Lives Matter and The Movement for Black Livesyou better have the facts and not the talking points from Fox News.

2. I am not anti-white people. I am anti-racism. I am anti-white supremacy. Binary thinking is limiting and creates the divisions we are working to dismantle.

  • I am unlearning and working hard to strip myself of the indoctrination we all go through that forces us to internalize anti-blackness and heteronormative white supremacy. If you don’t understand how white supremacy works to create layers of oppression in society from colonization to slavery to reconstruction to today, then you have a lot to learn before we can work together. I will happily point you in the direction of the knowledge but I will not argue the existence of institutional racism. I will not participate in any argument in which I am asked to argue the existence of systemic oppression of anyone’s innate humanity. That is not my job.
  • There is empirical proof of redlining, gerrymandering, voter suppression, all the forms of anti-blackness I mentioned above and countless other forms of systemic and institutionalized racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia derived from white supremacy. I can share links to articles, names of books and documentaries that may help you on your quest for knowledge if you are truly open and willing.
  • More and more studies are coming out every day since BLM and the Movement for Black Lives has moved the conversation forward and forced academics in all disciplines to look closer at the power systems and structures in place with a critical eye. Over time there will be more proof and more people working towards equity and black liberation. It may not come in my lifetime, but we won’t stop pushing the tough conversations forward.

3. I am working on becoming worthy of being called an ally to LGBTQIA individuals. The issues that affect their community at large can be both unique and universal at the same time. I flat out reject homophobia or transphobic speech or behavior and I will not tolerate it in my presence. There is no room for sexism, misogyny, misogynoir, transphobia or homophobia in the community and collaborative work I seek to engage in.

  • I am a work in progress, still learning more and working to deepen my understanding and level of empathy. I ask for grace, mercy and accountability if/when I mess up and I will do the best to extend the same to you.
  • It is imperative to allow people to show up as they are and be present and open to each individual’s self-expression whether it be gender or sexuality. We need to move beyond the binary thinking of the European settlers that colonized the land, enslaved our bodies and colonized and enslaved our minds. Until we are able to do that none of us will ever truly be free.
  • If you are open and willing to understanding and seeing through the matrices of oppression created to divide us, I am open to growing with you. If you want to argue about the importance of masculinity and point fingers at black and brown women and femmes, I’m not here for that. Keep it moving.

4. The beginning, the end, the alpha, the omega, everything in layered succession…Intersectionality! I hope I have made it clear that intersectionality speaks to me and what is a driving force in my desire to be a part of movement spaces and fight for change together.

P.S. Now read “What are you here for?”…



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