Injustice in the world deserves the fire of our anger, yet anger and blame have an emotional cost and are difficult to carry over time. Our activism should not just be about what we resist, but what we are for–about our hopes and visions for the world. Our vision for the world is more likely to be achieved if it’s also grounded in compassion, love and hope–these are essential sources of energy and support for the long haul, as a pair of stories from the Spring 2016 issue of YES! Magazine reported.
As Sarah van Gelder reported, renowned activist and professor Angela Davis, and her sister, Fania Davis, a social justice lawyer, have come to redefine their activism over the years, from decades of anger and resistance–from fighting this and fighting that–to thinking deeply about the connection between interior life and what happens in the social world. They noticed those who are fighting against state violence often end up incorporating violence in their relations with others as well. “Our notions of what counts as radical have changed over time,” Angela Davis says. “Self-care and healing and attention to the body and the spiritual dimension–all of this is now a part of radical social justice struggles.”
When Fania Davis learned about restorative justice, she integrated for the first time the lawyer, the warrior, and the healer in her. The question now is, how do we heal the traumas (racial and others) that keep being re-enacted? Angela Davis says, “We have to imagine the kind of society we want to inhabit. We can’t simply assume that somehow, magically, we’re going to create a new society in which there will be new human beings. No, we have to begin that process of creating the society we want to inhabit right now.”
Calin Beavan, “How to Resist from a Place of Love: Self-Care for the Long Haul,” YES! Magazine, posted March 11, 2017, http://www.yesmagazine.org/happiness/how-to-resist-from-a-place-of-love-self-care-for-the-long-haul-20170311.
Sarah van Gelder, “The Radical Work of Healing: Fania and Angela Davis on a New Kind of Civil rights Activism,” YES! Magazine, Spring 2016, posted February 18, 2016, http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/life-after-oil/the-radical-work-of-healing-fania-and-angela-davis-on-a-new-kind-of-civil-rights-activism-20160218.
Student Researcher: Guru Kaur Khalsa (San Francisco State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows (San Francisco State University)