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Here’s the text version of the 1st newsletter I sent out in July 2017:
“What if what’s needed isn’t sexy, intimidating or violent?
What if what is needed is forgiveness?”
— adrienne marie brown
Thanks so much for signing up for my newsletter. You probably found yourself here by way of my July 10 essay on Catalyst Wedding Co: “Excommunicate Me From the Church of Social Justice”.
I feel so humbled to be able to contribute to the broader conversation on activist culture, knowing that many folks are also thinking through these questions. My hope is that we can each continue wrestling with these internal issues in our local communities, while keeping a strong unified front working to change unjust systems.
For the inaugural newsletter, I want to share with you some of the readings and ideas that informed my piece, and also new resources I’ve been introduced to by readers:
○ adrienne marie brown‘s new book: Emergent Strategy. Building on Octavia Butler‘s Earthseed principles and patterns in nature, brown lays out strategies for transforming harmful dynamics in organizing spaces into ones that are ever-evolving and sustainable.
○ An older article also by brown, “By Any Means Necessary”. Although she is speaking of seeing the humanity in your political enemies, I found this exhortation to be applicable within our own communities. The forgiveness quote at the top of this newsletter is taken from this piece.
○ Alicia Garza‘s essay in response to the leftist backlash on the womens march: “Our cynicism will not build a movement. Our collaboration will”.
○ Bernice Johnson Reagon‘s chapter from Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology (1983): “Coalition Politics: Turning the Century”. Much of what I begin to explore in the second half of the “Excommunicate” essay is the idea of coalition work as an effective political strategy. Reagon takes a bold stance, saying that it is only through building with others who are against you that you will be able to survive in this world.
○ The Advocacy episode from The Liturgists podcast. This was gently recommended to me by my editor at Catalyst. It is openly religious, featuring the wise words of public theologian Christena Cleveland.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
I was recently interviewed on two radio shows. Listen to the recordings below:
Stay tuned for updates on new writing and performances later this summer.
Thanks for reading!