When you walk into a classroom, look into the eyes of the students, those who seem engaged and those who are imagining a new world. There are stories hidden behind their eyes, worlds of experiences unspoken. And how do we begin to know these stories, we listen to the pain, the beauty and the intricacies. I am writing to the dreamers, those who weren’t afraid sketch, write or imagine a world of freedom, of love or of joy. You are the source of change!
A lived experience is unique, uncertain and specific to each and everyone of us. Though we may go through similar events, the processing of these event are always going to be different. I have been learning and unlearning the multifaceted nature of understanding others experiences because, as I work with students, with organizers, with anyone, I have to come face to face with the way I have internalized and personalized oppression in myself. And this is oppression in all of its forms, mentally, emotionally and physically, why? Well because in every way, supremacy in EVERY form has indoctrinated the world and has thrown freedom off the map, or so I thought.
I thought that freedom, education and liberation was obtained through external powers that be. That the government will have to bend and break and freedom will overflow like a spring. But like Gil Scott-Heron said, “The revolution will not be televised”. What does that mean? Well, I’m glad you asked. the revolution, starts with you and its starts with me, it’s starts with us. Gil Scott-Heron’s intentionality of these words sit with me in a deep place because I begin to see the other worlds imagined. The revolution begins with our heart being released from the shackles of oppression and we began to reimagine the unconditional love of God. Where our love for one another go beyond what we say and into what we do. When we march, when we demand, when we engage in dialogue, we must come ready to learn freedom in ourselves. I often think about this when it comes to restorative practices; many systems are using restorative practices in their communities and while thats amazing, are the implementers implementing it within themselves? I know so many that are, but I also know some who use the term and have no comprehension the authenticity of RJ. It goes beyond terminology! Students don’t benefit from terminology, but the actions that follow.
The educational system was founded on being oppressors and dividers to freedom in our minds. Paulo Freire would say, “The truth is, however, that the oppressed are not “marginals,” are not people living “outside” society. They have always been “inside”—inside the structure which made them “beings for others.” The solution is not to “integrate” them into the structure of oppression, but to transform that structure so that they can become “beings for themselves.” Such transformation, of course, would undermine the oppressors purposes; hence their utilization of the banking concept of education to avoid the threat of student conscientização.” Conscientização meaning critical consciousness.
To give room to the stories untold, and to engage in the internal process of freedom, and fully understand how the revolution will not be televised, we must deconstruct the oppressor in us. This is one of the greatest things that I have found myself doing, and this isn’t to say that I got everything together. On a scale to one to freedom, I am definitely in the process of deconstructing and questioning. I say all this to say, to reimagine the world you did before you were told it was unrealistic. Reimagine the world that was untouched, unknown, and unexplored because those stories hold something powerful. Critical consciousness doesn’t happen over night but is something worth working towards.
If there’s one thing that you can take from this post, begin to point out the places where in your life you’ve been told to dim your light and explore why? Change occurs externally when it is processed internally! Much love ❤