Liberation is the opportunity for every human…to have unobstructed access to their highest self, for every human to live in radical self-love.
-Sonya Renee Taylor, shared by Pidge in Pacifica, CA who appreciated this passage from The Body is Not an Apology — The Power of Radical Self-Love
Without love, our efforts to liberate ourselves and our world community from oppression and exploitation are doomed. As long as we refuse to address fully the place of love in struggles for liberation, we will not be able to create a culture of conversion where there is a mass turning away from an ethic of domination.
―Tricia Hersey, The Nap Ministry, shared by Rev. Emma in Mindoro, WI
For most of the 24 years we’ve been sending out these weekly splashes, we’ve celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day each 3rd Monday in January by featuring quotes from Dr. King’s many speeches, writings, and interviews. This year I wanted to try something a little different, so I reached out to several ripplers seeking their help in centering fresh Black voices to honor Dr. King’s legacy.
Quotes submitted by Pidge and Emma both referenced the term “liberation,” reminding me that I’ve lately seen the phrase “collective liberation” pop up in a few places…each time grabbing my attention and lighting up my curiosity to dig further. And so I did.
I read about one organization who describes collective liberation as “working in solidarity to undo oppression…in order to achieve a world that is truly free,” while another group focuses on recognizing how “all of our struggles are intimately connected, and that we must work together to create the kind of world we know is possible.”
I think most of us instinctively recognize that any time some people in our society are held back from bringing forth their full and best selves, we all suffer. The bad news is that there are unfortunately still lots (and lots) of people who are being held back and held down. The good news is that there are fortunately lots (and lots) of people who recognize that “every time one of us gets a little more free, we all get a little more free.”**
We each have a role to play in righting some of these wrongs. For some of us, that may mean reaching in to focus on the radical self-care and self-love advocated by Sonya Renee Taylor and Tricia Hersey (whose quotes are featured above). For others, this may call for reaching out to listen, to learn, to grow, and to engage more actively in the never ending work of collective liberation.
As always, I invite you ponder…and then…act.
P.S. I dedicate this issue of Ripples to the fierce and fabulous Juliette Moore a leader and a legend in the world of campus recreation. I’m sending extra gentle ripply love to all of my NIRSA peeps who are mourning her passing. May we all celebrate her life in the coming days and weeks, and may we always remember her wise words: CELEBRATE LIFE EVERYDAY!
**In a follow up conversation about this week’s Boulder, Rev. Emma Grinde succinctly paraphrased what she’s learned about collective liberation over the past few years in this line.