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Liberation & Anti-Oppression

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Lukayo Estrella

on 18 March 2015

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Transcript of Liberation & Anti-Oppression

Transformative Justice
Abolishing oppression systemically, culturally, and individually through empowerment, healing justice, education, building alliances, changing policies, and re-incorporating diversity is liberation, aka anti-oppression.
Disability Justice
Building Alliances & Allyship
Empowerment, Education & Culture-Building
Security & Safety
Emotional Justice

Healing Justice
"Indigenous Decolonization is a process that Indigenous people whose communities were grossly affected by colonial expansion, genocide and cultural assimilation may go through by [...] understanding the history of their colonization and rediscovering their ancestral traditions and cultural values. A contemporary concept in Indigenous health and healing studies, decolonization (Indigenous) is that of a healing journey that may involve grief, anger, rage, growth and empowerment[...] It may also incorporate a realization or consciousness that bondage still exists today. Although a nation-states' political independence from a European state may have played itself out on a limited "battlefield," so-to-speak, true independence from foreign occupation has not yet occurred[...] Indigenous Decolonization in real-time physical terms would also mean either an expulsion or exodus of the continuing forces that occupy the indigenous territory or a complete and total elimination of the bondage that exists.Thus indigenous decolonization must incorporate physical, psychological, and emotional and spiritual strategies since the body, the mind and the soul are affected directly by colonialism. True decolonization can be achieved only when all of these components have been addressed or met in some way." - Wikipedia

Institutional – Protesting /abolishing colonial mechanisms; indigenous sovereignty
Cultural – Abolishing derogatory mascots and costumes
Individual – Acknowledging whose land you’re on and its true history
1) Stopping or changing oppressive institutions and/or their mechanisms

2) Revealing an oppressive institution and/or its mechanism that had concealed itself to avoid public scrutiny and dismantling


Institutional – Prison and police abolition; immigration “reform” and border agency abolition; lobbying for policy and procedural change

Cultural – Creating collectives, art, and literature focused on resistance;creating media campaigns to promote a culture shift againstan oppressive institution and/or its mechanism

Individual – Do not support this oppressive institution and/or its mechanism; spread information about it; make your lack ofsupport known publicly; direct action
1) Protecting yourself from individual, cultural, and institutional violence

2) Protecting your collective/group from individual, cultural, and institutional violence


Institutional – Abolish/protest against police brutality

Cultural – Security culture (creating a set of rules and guidelines to minimize state harassment and violence against your group);creating skill shares that teach your group and others about their rights against police and border agents; self-defense skill shares

Individual – Creating a safety plan for yourself and with your friends if you’re ever caught in a bashing or facing violence; self-defense skills
“As organizers, we need to think of access with an understanding of disability justice, moving away from an equality-based model of sameness and “we are just like you” to a model of disability that embraces difference, confronts privilege and challenges what is considered “normal” on every front. We don’t want to simply join the ranks of the privileged; we want to dismantle those ranks and the systems that maintain them[…] This work is about shifting how we understand access, moving away from the individualized and independence-framed notions of access put forth by the disability rights movement and, instead, working to view access as collective and interdependent[…] Disability justice activists are engaged in building an understanding of disability that is more complex, whole and interconnected than what we have previously found.” – Mia Mingus

Institutional – Changing policies, language, spaces, training; protesting against the Medical Industrial Complex
Cultural – Community care plans of interdependence
Individual – Taking ableist language out of your vocabulary
Excerpt from “Healing & Health Justice Collective Organizing Principles - US Social Forum Detroit 2010”

“We enter this work through an anti-oppression framework that seeks to transform and politicize the role of healing inside of our movements and communities.We are learning and creating this political framework about a legacy of healing and liberation that is meeting a particular moment in history inside of our movements that seeks to: regenerate traditions that have been lost; to mindfully hold contradictions in our practices; and to be conscious of the conditions we are living and working inside of as healers and organizers in our communities and movements.”

Institutional – Questioning, dismantling, and protesting against the Medical Industrial Complex; making spaces and time for healing part of your organization’s policies
Cultural – Creating healing collectives; community care support groups; herbal skillshares;safe (r) spaces where people facing the same oppression can heal together
Individual – Self-care integrated into community care; reconnecting with ancestral forms of healing
"Emotional justice is the remedy for the legacy of untreated trauma impacting us as a people." - Esther Armah, inventor of the term

“Emotional justice requires that we find the feeling behind the theories. It calls on us to not just speak to why something is problematic, but to speak to the emotional texture of how it impact us; how it hurts, or how it brings us joy or nourishment[…] It is my hope that we realize that just as we must construct new systems and institutions, we must also develop new ways of relating with each other and to our emotional selves.” – Yolo Akili

Institutional – Making guided dialogues and retreats around emotional discourse as part of your organization’s policies
Cultural – Workshops to help collectives or groups learn how to respe ct emotional information as much as reason and logic; also to learn to be accountable instead of using tears/emotions to avoid accountability
Individual – Self-education on communication styles , emotional body & language; self-awareness on psychological frameworks, trauma, & defense mechanisms informing our interpretations of reality
“It is a way of practicing alternative justice which acknowledges individual experiences and identities and works to actively resist the state's criminal injustice system. Transformative Justice recognizes that oppression is at the root of all forms of harm, abuse and assault. As a practice it therefore aims to address and confront those oppressions on all levels and treats this concept as an integral part to accountability and healing." - Philly Stands Up

"The goals of Transformative Justice are:
- Safety, healing, and agency for survivors
- Accountability and transformation for people who harm
- Community action, healing, and accountability
- Transformation of the social conditions that perpetuate violence
- systems of oppression and exploitation, domination, and state violence"
- Generation Five

Institutional – Survivor-centred policies that offer alternatives beyond police intervention, such as healing circles, mediation, support for person who has done harm
Cultural – Workshops and skill shares on self-accountability, TJ, community accountability; Support groups for survivors to heal; Support groups for offenders to keep themselves accountable
Individual – Self-accountability practices
Making an alliance or building allyship with someone is like building a friendship—you can’t just declare yourself someone’s friend without them consenting and agreeing to the relationship. You have to act like a friend and be a friend before the other person decides to call you a friend. Similarly, you have to act like an ally and be an ally to the person or group of people before they decide to call you an ally. “Ally” is not an identity that you can confer upon yourself; it’s something that people consider you to be in relation to them. It’s something that has to be worked on every day and every moment, and can be taken away if you break people’s trust and act against the alliance you’ve built with them. Good friendships and good alliances are based on similar principles: communication, respect, trust, shared values, an exchange of care and/or service.
Building Alliances & Allyship Examples

- volunteer with organizations/agencies working towards the rights and empowerment of diverse genders and/or sexual orientations and/or ethnicities and/or abilities and/or bodies

- make sure that when you’re focusing on a specific oppression or multiple oppressions, you take leadership from those most impacted so that the people aren’t being misrepresented or co-opted
- cultural exchange and alliances between migrants, indigenous peoples, Black peoples, and Orientalized peoples
- take part in events that celebrate marginalized groups, their cultures and histories and people

- work on being able to take call-outs as an opportunity to learn and not an exercise in defensiveness
- work on finding ways to do effective call-outs or redirecting to others and resources if you lack the capacity
- work on asking your friends and loved ones what they want from you as an ally and not assume what they need
1) Understanding the history of different oppressions and how you gain from it

2) Understanding the beauty of your own culture outside of or despite of oppression’s affect on it

3) Building new cultural forms in resistance and/or as an alternative to oppression’s cultural impact

Systemic/Institutional Examples- creating anti-o policies and procedures; educational reform

Cultural Examples- trainings, cultural exchanges, DIY media; eco-villages; free skools- retreats to educate the power and beauty of aspects of ourselves that oppression taught us was worthless

Individual Examples- self-education and undoing micro-aggressions
A Note on Micro-Aggressions

Words or gestures done out of ignorance or good intentions that perpetuate culturally and/or institutionally oppressive norms. Usually people do not know that what they’re doing is oppressive and that what they’re doing is a product of how oppression becomes internalized. Internalization is a more insidious form than the other strategies of oppression (violence and isolation) because it is harder to identify and people feel defensive and that their inherent goodness is attacked if their micro-aggression is pointed out to them. It’s important to combat micro-aggressions through self-education, allyship training, and cultural exchanges.
Breakout Groups!
I will divide you into groups based on what out of the 9 strategies you are most interested in.

Your group will present to everyone else at the end.

Your group can do the following:

1) Have a discussion about how you'd each like to incorporate this liberation strategy in your life.

2) Make a collective drawing together on flipchart paper with markers.

3) Make a skit, tableau, song, or other kind of theatrical piece about how to incorporate this strategy in your lives.
Ottawa Trainers & Facilitators

On Transmisogyny
DJ Freedman (queer.social.worker@gmail.com)
Lyra Evans
Maëlys McArdle

On Anti-Blackness
Tarah Douillon
Dee Micho

On Settler Colonialism
Gabriel Castilloux
Kole Peplinskie

On Disability Justice & Ableism
Abla Abdelhadi

For the presenters that do not have their contact info, please contact me first and I will check if they have the capacity to do presentations before connecting you with them.
I'd like to thank my ancestors and people, the Bikol and Tagalog, as well as the people of the land in which this presentation was made, the Algonquin Anishinaabeg Kitchissipi people. Chi meegwetch. Maraming salamat po.

My apologies that this presentation is only in English at this time, and has limited accessibility to blind folks.
About Lukayo

Self-Identify: Bikol/Tagalog/Pilipinx, settler of colour, asog, tibo, tomboy, fat, makata, daitan

Western Cultural Terms (Sometimes I identify with, sometimes I just accept as the only term available): Asian / Pacific Islander / Filipino, Canadian Citizen & immigrant with immigrant parents, transgender / transmasculine / transsexual / genderqueer / pansexual, able-bodied, Bachelors in Humanities, philosopher / spirit worker / poet / writer / educator / community organizer, volunteer for PTS (Centre for the Queer Community in Ottawa), No One Is Illegal, Philippine Migrants Society of Canada, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants and worker at the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (formerly Jer's Vision)

It’s important to explain my “social location” or how I’m situated in systems of oppression and privilege so that you understand that I am not speaking for certain groups. Though I am explaining over-arching frameworks of anti-oppression, I cannot and will never be able to represent the lived experiences of folks with visible disabilities, indigenous folks from Turtle Island, Black folks, women with trans histories/bodies/identities, and cisgender women. Please support your local organizations and collectives in getting training on Decolonization, Transmisogyny, Disability Justice, and Anti-Blackness. Thanks.
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