While saying ‘no’ to the abuses of police, we must say ‘yes’ to the alternatives by actually building them. For us, this means being committed to healing from the impacts of police in our communities and in our minds, and developing the shared skills, knowledge, and structures to do so. So every month we intentionally make space to explore what it practically takes to put our hearts into our politics and liberate ourselves. And we ground this work together at our Think Twice Community Healing Racial Caucus meetings. The content we’ve dug into so far can all be found here.
April 2021 Pledge Point Spotlight
Get to know, connect with, and care for your community – Redefining Difference
When seeking to get to know each other, there is a familiar logic; find out what we have in common… then we will have lots to talk about! But who gets left behind when sameness is a prerequisite for connection and care? Our differences are central to how we experience the police, as well as the ableist, racist, patriarchal culture around us. What does it mean to build a world where the ways we are different are centered, and not stigmatized? How is it known that we are building that world?
For the month of April, we grounded in these questions as we explored the meaning of Think Twice Pledge Point 1: Get to know, connect with, and care for your community. As we engaged the the topic of Redefining Difference, both caucuses dug into specific passages of text from from How We Get Free by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor and Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde.
May 2021 Pledge Point Spotlight
Get to know, connect with, and care for your community – Owning our Disposability Complex
We typically dispose of things when they are of no use, felt to be a burden, or do not have enough value to make them worth keeping—and unfortunately this doesn’t just apply to objects. When care and interdependence are limited to the confines of the nuclear family, we are required to compete on the market for the things that we need to survive. With that in mind, how does disposability show up in how we build community? While we are seeking to get to know, connect with, and care for our communities, we must also investigate who we are willing to dispose of and why, including parts of ourselves.
For the month of May, we continued to spotlight Think Twice Pledge Point 1 and consider what it really means to live out our communal belief in liberation through interdependence. As we engaged the the topic of Owning our Disposability Complex, both caucuses dug into specific passages of text from All About Love by bell hooks to discuss the history and role of the nuclear family in preventing a fuller community of relationships that sustains life for many.
June 2021 Pledge Point Spotlight
Train yourself & community members in first aid and healing centered de-escalation – Reimagining Education in Community: How & Why We Learn
Many of us have attended a ‘training’ of some sort. A time-bound education session with the specific goal of taking in knowledge from a teacher. But many of us also have a lot of knowledge that we didn’t learn from a training or formal education. We learned it from communal practice or tradition, daily struggles, or through meaningful relationships–including the one we have with our own bodies. Without the hierarchy inherent in the dominant culture’s schooling system or concept of education…what could education look and feel like in community? And why is the practice of redefining education so important?
Education is made of more than just materials. Education as a practice is the cultural foundation for learning. It is reflected in the way we engage with each other as learners and teachers. When our learning takes place in a culture that disconnects us from our peers and our lived experiences, its practical application is in the marketplace, not in our communities. What does it mean for education to be more than just the study of–but the actual practice of liberation?
This was the subject of June’s caucus meeting as we began to engage in Pledge Point 2: I pledge to train myself and community members in first-aid and healing centered de-escalation. To focus on that critical first piece “train yourself and your community,” we addressed the topic of Reimagining Education in Community: How & Why We Learn. Both caucuses dug into specific passages of text from Teaching to Transgress by bell hooks to confront what the dominant culture has taught us regarding education, in order to cultivate the seeds of a new consciousness and new ways of living together.
July 2021 Pledge Point Spotlight
Train yourself & community members in first aid and healing centered de-escalation – In this Together: Making Mess Our Business
Everywhere we look, the word security is synonymous with policing, but police do not ensure the security of our well-being. In fact, they endanger it. This is especially true for People of Color who are neurodivergent or have developmental disabilities. In a world where police are obsolete, we must entrust our community to respond when we are in need. But what is trust made of, and how can we build it where little exists? This was the focus of July’s caucus meeting as we continued to explore Pledge Point 2: I pledge to train myself and community members in first aid and healing-centered de-escalation.
And as we engaged the topic of Making “Mess” Our Business, both caucuses read excerpts from Chapter 8 of Mia Birdsong’s “This is How we Show Up,” to talk about how relying on community can keep us safe. As an embodied communal practice, we explored what fear and trust in the context of our communities feels like inside our bodies. Finally, we considered our responsibilities to each other through conflict, and explored our support networks for fulfilling them.
We encourage anyone committed to building healthy, restorative alternatives to policing to download and share these recommendations & resources.