“Before you were artist/activist/feminist/socialist/revolutionary/she/he/they/queer/polyamorous/heterosexual/agnostic/atheist/believing/firefighter/activator/organiser/reader/…/…/… you were once a child. A child that was curious, not nasty. A child who questioned, but was not judgemental. Let this be our common ground.”
Community is the only way through. We manifested this in our residency K I N O T I T A in spring. Holding on to this knowledge, here are 3 toolkits to help you imagine pathways towards liberation this summer. It’s simple: Pick a toolkit, gather your friends and create a space in which you un-learn collectively and creatively. We have to start somewhere. Let’s start with abandoning our fears.
The first toolkit is AWID’s Feminist Cartographer’s Toolkit for Fearless Futures: a journal for dreaming yourselves into existence and imagine together the space you would like to inhabit.
A group of extremely talented BIWOC artists have drawn up a map for us to combat fear (which, “in its essence, is a total misuse of the imagination”). In this toolkit, we suspend our disbeliefs to create the feminist villages we never had. It takes a village to love, to govern, to thrive, to wonder.
“& what is a country but the drawing of a line! i draw thick black lines around my eyes & they are a country! & thick red lines around my lips & they are a country! & the knife that chops the onions draws a smooth line through my finger! & that is a country & the tightening denim presses a soft purple line into my belly! & when i smile like my mother a line flashes between my two front teeth! & for every country that i lose i make another & i make another” – Safia Elhillo, self-portrait as map
Our second recommendation is the Study Group Guide by Abolition: A Journal of Insurgent Politics. The Atlas for Fearless Futures is other-worldly; this Study Guide is a political and historical crash course on the fraud realities of this very earth. They both dare to imagine futures that might not seem possible yet.
“Abolitionist politics is not about what is possible, but about making the impossible a reality. Ending slavery appeared to be an impossible challenge for Sojourner Truth, Denmark Vesey, Nat Turner, John Brown, Harriet Tubman, and others, and yet they struggled for it anyway. Today we seek to abolish a number of seemingly immortal institutions, drawing inspiration from those who have sought the abolition of all systems of domination, exploitation, and oppression—from Jim Crow laws and prisons to patriarchy and capitalism.”
A well-thought through guide that critically teaches the beginnings, purposes and traps of how we think of punishment, crime and justice. “The essence of abolitionism is the construction of a society without imprisonment and policing. We imagine what would be required for a society without prisons, and propose different means to support collective thriving and more effective ways to address harms.” Each week, they provide a selection of podcasts, videos, films, and readings around which you can self-organise meetings.
Third, we introduce Decolonizing Gender: A Curriculum, a guided reflection on gender identity, race and colonialism. This zine offers “personal reflection activities, instructions for group activities, historical lessons, and excerpts from “my gender is My Gender,” a groundbreaking personal narrative and comic book from khari jackson, co-creator of Decolonizing Gender.”
“Whether you intend it or not, gathering and sharing stories is a healing practice. We recommend that you acknowledge this and think about how you can incorporate intention-setting, ritual, and manifesting into your educational context.” Mainstream education does not care for non-Western complex histories and so we find our own ways of learning the truths we know to be true. This zine explains the gender/sexual history of imperialism you never knew existed. It “makes space for the erased, for the resisting” and traces decolonial histories of gender.
Let us know what and how you learned from these. Remember to breathe and heal this summer.
Kandaka does not own any of the artwork above.
We thank and honour the people who share their resources and art so that we can learn and become better humans.
Words by Amuna Wagner