Friday, April 04, 2008

clpp conference: healing, arts, & activism.

quick recap from the first day of the super-awesome, super-amazing, super-inspiring CLPP Reproductive Justice Conference, here in western MA at Hampshire College:

there was one workshop session today. i chose the Arts & Activism one. it was fucking incredible.

Cara Page, Tanya Karakashian, and Olga Candelario were the speakers.
(Tanya & Olga are both local, Cara lives in Atlanta.)

they were all wonderful, of course.

but i was especially blown away by Cara Page.
she's the national director of CWPE (Committee on Women, Population, & the Environment), which is sweet. what was totally incredible, though, was hearing her talk about this new project she's doing.

my renewed purpose in this social justice thing is to bring healing into the movement, make it part of this struggle toward social change. to help people understand how crucial it is to heal, and how self-defeating all of this unhealthy energy around, and unrealistic expectations of, organizing is killing our organizers. it's burning out our activists, and it's making them jaded and cynical instead of inspired and hopeful.

cara's new project?
has to do with exactly that. well, that, plus art. which is a totally logical addition, since the following equations are absolutely true:
healing=an art.

she's calling it Deepening the Dialogue, and she's interviewing healers who are also organizers. i talked to her a bit afterwards, and i'm going to be emailing her soon, i think. but she was saying exactly what i'd been thinking about the state of our movement. how none of us take care of ourselves, let alone take care of others. how crucial this healing aspect is, so that our movement can be sustainable. and how art - whatever form of art it is that heals and moves you - is a perfect avenue to integrate this kind of healing into activism.

of course, i didn't think that i was the only one who had ever had a thought regarding the traumatized, wounded status of a large portion of our movement. but it's not something that's talked about at the high, mainstream level. and so, to meet someone who's invested in it, invested in documenting it, invested in making it more a part of our movement?
it was mind-blowing.
(i hope to have my mind blown many more times this weekend. i think it will be.)

i wrote about how broken my heart was yesterday.
and it's still broken. that much doesn't go away.
but now, it's also full. and swelling with inspiration and community.

1 comment:

Brittany said...

Hey - you may have heard of it already, but check out the book The Lifelong Activist by Hillary Rettig sometime. It's not about healing specifically, but references a lot of the stuff you've been saying about activists not taking care of themselves and burning out/succumbing to negative energy, and offers some tools to overcome that. Some of it is a little hokey/self-help-y, but she has some good ideas.