The theme of our seventh session was, for want of a better title, Examining Our Intentions.
“If you have come here to help me, then you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” –Aboriginal activists group, Queensland, 1970s
This one is very important to me, but also the hardest to articulate or find resources for. I’m hoping it will land more intensely for those of us who are white, cisgender, middle-class and educated, but I think everyone can benefit from thinking about these things. The question is, what is our motivation when it comes to community engagement? Do we think of ourselves as more fortunate than others, and wish to use our fortune to provide assistance to communities that aren’t ours? Or do we see all people as being in community together, and want to create a world where none of us has to give or receive hand-outs because we are all cared for? Do we otherize, exoticize or distance ourselves from people who have different struggles than we do, or do we consider ourselves as part of a collective human family?
We watched this video of a talk by Chris Crass (start at the 27 minute mark), and then I asked everyone in the room to please also read the linked essay by Rachel Bean:
As with all of our topics, these glimpses in no way capture the breadth and diversity of thought on this. Here are a few other lenses by which to think about it: