Beyond the Book: Can we have both?
Thank you. I appreciate how you use words to untangle complicated, interconnected concepts and actions.
As someone relatively new to liberation work but very experienced in harm reduction I value this so much. Thank you.
I'm going to use that language of harm reduction vs. liberation in my own discussions now. My oldest is 11, and becoming more politically aware. I'm having to learn a lot of this on-the-go, and am eternally grateful for women like you who take the time to put the education out there. Thank you ♥️
My therapist just recommended "Pedagogy of the Oppressed". Your post seems to (I'm only on chapter 1 and this is an off the cuff response to what I just read, so I apologize in advance if I'm way off base) illustrate the book's premise that the fight for freedom is what humanizes us, and eventually, our oppressors. So while we are beaten down, discouraged, exhausted, we must keep in mind that even in despair, we are already transformed...supposedly. Something for my continued pondering.
Thanks for explaining this so well.
In describing your own family dynamics, you provided me insight into the tensions in my relationships with myself, my wife, my mother and brother, and, most importantly, my 14-year-old. "[R]ight now there are people who are trying to reduce harm, and there are people who are trying to get us free. And while sometimes that will be the same people, it will almost never be the same actions." In my experience, this is also true for the same person (me, my partner, friends) over time. The opportunities I have to participate in actions that create durable, liberatory change are fewer than those where I feel I can be part of harm reduction. And, importantly, my capacity for doing either is also variable. This series of observations and stories you have shared with us has been very useful (and often funny, though not this one so much). Thank you!
Thank you for your insights Ijeoma. I have a 16-year old that is questioning the world right now and through your writing, I now have a framework to guide him. And a framework for how I can move through the world as well.
Yes! Harm reduction isn't great when we're applying it as an approach to 'fixing' systems of oppression. Harm reduction is awesome when it's us taking care of ourselves and our communities directly.
This, literally, made me cry.