As part of our Advocacy Week Celebration, we are blogging daily, focusing on a different theme of Advocacy each day. Today, advocates from the organizations Women’s Freedom Center, WomenSafe and WISE spoke to us about the topic of Liberation.
By Amy Torchia, Children’s Advocacy Coordinator
“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”-Lilla Watson
For the Women’s Freedom Center staff in Brattleboro, liberation is: “Everything! It’s intersectional, so the only way to actually get free is to work together. Liberation includes any group’s right to self-determination, not letting oppressive systems determine outcomes. And it’s not just about taking actions but cultivating a state of mind beyond mere tolerance, to show true respect and curiosity, which are more powerful than fear.”
Liberation as a concept shows up in all that we do, from the individual to the collective. In our daily interactions with survivors, there are countless tiny moments of liberation. Foresta at WomenSafe sees liberation in the minutia, “It is a lot of little things that we do. We provide a lot of options and choices, even for small things, like ‘do you want the door opened or closed?’” and also in the bigger picture, “There often a lot of rules that systems have that create barriers for survivors. We ask questions of these systems: ‘who does this system serve? Who does it empower and disempower? Who does it disenfranchise?’ We can start to break down the status quo by pushing back on stigmas and biases that exist in systems.”
In closing out our interview, Sophie from WISE offered up the following exercise for us to consider, “It can be interesting to reflect on your own experience of a liberation and hold it. How does it feel in your body, what did it feel like, what contributed to that? How does that experience inform how we try to create more liberating experiences for ourselves and others?” We invite you to reflect on Sophie’s questions as you move about your day today. Does it influence how you hold space for others? For yourself?