Relationships are the core of community organizing and power building, but how can these organizations create and maintain their values within systems that prefer hierarchies? Rinku Sen offered that if organizations embodied a framework of friendship instead of alliance, more organic and withstanding forms of relationality and solidarity can be formed.
As Eveline Shen of Forward Together reminds us, art is a powerful tool in organizing that allows us to connect to our shared humanity and reimagine the world. In this post, we have included some of the most inspiring and evocative pieces on the Forward Together platform that beautifully illustrate a reimagined world.
Both (re)mapping and rememory enact a method of refusal toward the disciplinary imperatives of searching for transparent truths (as in the illusion of transparent space) and transparent experience, in the demand for verisimilitude (as required, contradictorily so, of the slave narrative, as Avery Gordon aptly demonstrates).
We are all closely related to the nonhuman world and to the rest of humanity. Interdependence is a long-held principle of Native organizing, the idea that tribal sovereignty will not be achieved “tribe by tribe,” but instead through the creation of a fundamentally democratic and radically new political system that returns land to Indigenous peoples.
The work of racial capitalism is to promote a logic of anti-relationality, in which our responsibilities and connections to one another and our land, both close and far, are deemphasized (Melamed 2015). It is within those intellectual, cultural and physical gaps that colonial violence accumulates. Indigenous organization and reproductive justice movements offer alternatives to this line of thinking, and demonstrate how foundational a politics and vocabulary of collectivity is to liberation.
“Is this an African Dance course?”
My classmates and I were with our professor outside our classroom, waiting as the class prior to us filtered out when a well-intentioned woman, the instructor from that previous course, approached my professor eagerly, earnestly, repeating herself to ask, “Is this an African Dance course?”
I, like many others, came to Yale with a fundamental understanding that my education here was not for my own aggrandizement but for the benefit of the communities I belong to and the people that made my presence here possible. However, I did not have an exceptionally clear vision of what that meant in practice.