“A man stood outside the White House with a single candle every night during the Vietnam War. A reporter came up to him one night and said:
Sir, do you really believe your little protest will change anything?
And he said, Oh I don’t come here to change them. I come here to change me. I will not allow the steady maddening and onslaught of insanity to wear down my humanity. I will keep knowing the truth and telling the truth. I will do my small part–every damn day–to stay human, to stay awake and tender-so the world does not wear away my humanity.” - Author Unknown
Together we exist in a collective relational container. It is called humanity. In this container, we are spiritually connected to one another. We both consciously and unconsciously share one another's pain, grief, sorrow, and joy. In the same way, when harm occurs collectively its impact is collective. Currently, we are witnessing the devastating harms of war and violence and the loss of thousands and thousands of lives. Harm is, “when individuals within a container are negatively impacted through experiencing physical, mental, or emotional pain. This usually results in an inability to trust or feel safe.” When harm happens in the container of humanity it doesn't just affect some of us, it affects all of us.
At Lead For Liberation, here is how we define our value of humanity:
We honor the humanity and beingness of every person. We prioritize who people are over what they produce. We support people to thrive, experience belonging, and live sustainable lives. We center humanity in our design process and prioritize the needs and desires of the people we serve.
In a time where things can feel very complex, we have the opportunity to make them very simple by centering humanity—both our own and the collective’s. When we watch collective harm, we can ask ourselves:
What do these people want for themselves?
Are they being supported to thrive, experience belonging, and live sustainable lives?
Are the humans in this situation being prioritized over ideology, politics, or revenge?
Is this experience something I would want for myself and the humans I love?
If the answer is no, humanity is not being centered. It is that simple.
Liberation is the state of interdependence where the success of the whole group is defined and achieved by the ability of each person to thrive, innovate, and experience belonging.
The discussion of reimagining liberation begins by becoming devoted to the relational containers we share and the humans within those containers.