showing up to the riot well rested: activism, social justice and self-care
I wanted to highlight a thoughtful essay by poet and activist Keno Evol, on the mental, spiritual, and emotional responsibility and burden activists carry. In it he writes on the dream magic power of marginalized folks in ways that heavily remind me of Alexis Pauline Gumbs theories of dream power in justice work.
I've always said self-care work is community care work and I'm excited to read a piece that evokes that notion so eloquently. Keno emphasizes the requirement to take care of ourselves, those of us who do the work of social justice in whatever form, as part of dismantling the systems that would seek to see us used up and spat out.
Some of my favorite parts of the piece:
I believe the same spontaneity and interruptive nature that power dreams can be applied to social justice work and activism. Dreams are the work we do to build resistance and the dreamer is society, the collective people galvanized to take part in changing their condition. I believe dreams and imagination are knowledge projects that require our interrogation to make sense of the world. Dreams enter our bodies and stir up the subject in spite of our age, ability, class position, nationality, sexual orientation or health status. They perform their duties in delivering us information regardless of our opinions of them. Dreams do not ask for their power; they simply are powerful. We cannot forget in social justice work to be dream–like.
Permission Politics says allow yourself to travel. Too much in activism, we are asked to travel vertically, through lists, bullet points, deadlines, agendas and applications. We must also allow ourselves to travel horizontally, i.e cafes, beaches, vacations, spontaneous walks, spontaneous reading and also interdimensionally within our dreams. We need to get proper rest. Giving ourselves permission to participate in moments of stillness and reciprocity is something that we as activists often don’t indulge in because such a thing would require a check out from “the work”, but again aren’t our hearts, our bodies and our lives our sacred workplaces?
Please read and widely share the whole post: We Need You To Show Up To The Riot, Well Rested