The Importance of Having a Historical Analysis in Movement Work

In part two of our two episode interview, Mia discusses with us the importance of having a historical analysis when participating in movement work. Mia Henry is the founder of Freedom Lifted, an organization that creates learning spaces for youth and adults to grow as social justice leaders. Prior to her work with Freedom Lifted, Mia was the founding director of the Chicago Freedom Schools and the executive director of the Arcus Center. Mia also organizes civil rights tours in the south which creates transformational experiences for people by reconnecting them with the United States History.


Transcript:

Announcer:
Welcome to Radical Futures Now. On this podcast, we connect with social justice leaders around the world to talk about how to organize, how to be in movement, and how to build radical futures now.

Rhiki:
What’s up, everyone? It’s Rhiki here, and we’re bringing back Mia Henry to talk to you all about the importance of having an historical analysis when participating in movement work.

Mia Henry:
I’ve been very fortunate to do work I love through the banner of Freedom Lifted. So it clearly started off as the tours. Very shortly after that, I started doing trainings and facilitation work for people, and I did that under Freedom Lifted as well because I felt like it was all education. This really hit me when the pandemic started and I couldn’t go on the tours anymore. I’m like, “Am I a tour guide? Do I need to figure out how to pivot as a tour guide in this moment?” Because there was all these forums, right, out there about people in the tourism industry and how they were navigating COVID, and I was like, “This is really interesting, but that’s not actually where I understand my work personally growing.” So I was like, “I don’t identify as a tour guide. I identify as a educator that uses tours as a tool,” right? So now that I can’t use tours as a tool, what else can I use as a tool for educating around the history?

Mia Henry:
I really understand Freedom Lifted being my purposeful work and having three goals, to teach and share frameworks around social justice using history, to connect people using the history and connect people who are fighting for justice to one another because we can’t do anything alone, and, thirdly, to design spaces where people are really taking their work to the next level. They’re developing as leaders for justice. So I was able to do all three of those things in my tours, right, connect people, teach the history, do leadership development in very purposeful spaces because we would meet in the mornings before the tours and circle. Everyone got a journal from me, and we journaled throughout the tours. We did a big closing circle. We did mindful moments. We really curated those tours so that they were … I keep using the word tours, but I always understand them as more than that, right? They were like educational journeys.

Mia Henry:
And if I can’t do that kind of educational journey on the tour, what are the other ways I can do it? Freedom Lifted is the home for all of that, so I’m really happy to be able to do the online work now. But also when we’re able to travel a little bit more, we have more freedom in that, people are already asking me about 2022 and tours. I’m not sure if I will have the personal capacity to keep up that travel schedule again, but I’m offering consultation to people because another part of my work, I really want to make sure people have the tools they need to lead themselves. As much as I love the design of the way we take these journeys and I’ve put a lot of thought into it, I do believe that people can make these journeys meaningful and go on their own.

Mia Henry:
So if they just want to take their family or they want to do it for a family reunion or they want to take their church or they want to take their school, a lot of people out there have what they need, just figuring out a way to do it best. So I’m offering up all my contacts, both the Black-owned businesses and restaurants, the elders that are still with us and able and willing to share their stories. I’m offering up just even the order in which I think people should see things when they go down there. I’m offering that up as consultation, but I’m also expanding Freedom Lifted so that Freedom Lifted includes that consultation, but I’m also expanding it so that we’re doing more facilitation work, in person when we can but also online, because there’s so many different ways to teach and share these frameworks and to grow as leaders using them. So I’ve been really fortunate to make sure that Freedom Lifted can be a home for all these different ways.

Rhiki:
I’m really curious. How was the transition from entering into this new virtual world that we find ourselves in? How was that transition? Was there difficulties along the way? How did you overcome those? I’m just curious for anyone else who is trying to figure out how to make their movement work virtual.

Mia Henry:
Yeah. It was complicated. I don’t know if I can separate the difficulties in moving what I saw as my professional work online from the difficulties in moving my personal life online. The pandemic put so much pressure on all of us to think about how we walk through the world, so, yes, I was clearly thinking about what does my professional life look like, not just the work of it but my professional profile, if you will. What is Freedom Lifted now that we can’t meet in large groups and we can’t travel together? It was that, but there was also, for me, how do I become used to and make sure that I stay connected to the people who hold me up, right? Because the thing about it, and, again, I’ve been so fortunate, when I’m able to talk about it, I realize how fortunate I’ve been able to be, Freedom Lifted gave me an excuse to go home all the time. So every time I took people on a tour, I got a chance to see my mama and my brother and my grandmother and everybody, right? I couldn’t do that anymore either, and I actually didn’t know when I would see them again.

Mia Henry:
I’m in Chicago right now, and so we’re trying to plan that 13-hour drive down there soon, but it was, yeah, complicated on a number of different levels. The best practices that I did to navigate it were to just constantly work on clarity about my mission and role and purpose in life. I know that you can have multiple purposes, but what do I really want to bring into the world? Solidarity, I think it’s called Solidarity Is … Deepa Iyer, I believe, is her name, who works at the Building Movement Project, they put out something recently about all the different roles that people can play in movements that I thought was really helpful. It was 12 different roles. That was really useful because it was the pandemic and then, of course, we know, the uprising following the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by the police. So we were in this moment of just real introspection about which way the world was going to go, right, collectively, like what is this country going to be?

Mia Henry:
Of course, I wanted us to continue to move towards liberation, and, to me, that collective witnessing of a murder and collective grieving and then the outrage followed by a commitment to not just racial justice but just a new way of understanding policing provided opportunity for us to move even faster towards a more liberated world. What role am I going to play in that? So that was the question that anchored me through that time period, is that there’s many different roles, and that’s how I came to this place of I’m an educator. I’m an educator, and, at the time, my closest contacts … At the time that we went through this shutdown, my closest contacts were journalists, I’ve been doing a lot of training with journalists, public librarians, and then really local movement folks, people in really local communities that were trying to work cross-sector.

Mia Henry:
So I really thought, “Well, how can Freedom Lifted work with the librarians, serve the librarians? How can it work with the journalists, serve the journalists?” And then, obviously, of course, all the schools and people I’ve worked with through the tours, how can I work with them? What can I do with them? That’s who I can be. That’s who I went to. I was like, “What can we do together?” I won’t get too into this since a lot of it’s on my website, but with the librarians, we created a padlet called Policing Doesn’t Protect Us, and it was all these resources on the research, the data showing the failures of policing and the white supremacy that’s embedded in it. With the journalists, we came up with this infographic for journalists on how to cover Black-led resistance to police violence that I was very pleased that I got a lot of movement through the journalism community, and I hope we were part of how journalists talk about police murders and protests and riots, for that matter, what role they play. So we put that out there.

Mia Henry:
I convened all of the people that had been on tours with me, which never would’ve happened without the pandemic. It’s really unbelievable. I just sent an invite to everyone who’ve been on tour with me, teachers and students, to talk just a week after George Floyd’s murder, and it was amazing. It was 50 people-

Rhiki:
Wow.

Mia Henry:
… from six different tours all meeting each other. I went through some pictures from our tours, and then I talked about what was happening and what the connection was, like police violence was in Selma, police violence was in Mississippi, police violence has been with us. So that was amazing, and that particular conversation is what inspired this class we hosted over the summer. I invited my old friends at the Freedom School and Assata’s Daughters in Chicago and some of just other people I love and trust to come and do this course on the history of policing for young people ages 12 to 18. Literally, I really thought it was just going to be young people who went on tours with me and my friends’ kids. That’s who I thought would come, a few people. We would just talk about history of policing.

Trevor:
Wow.

Mia Henry:
And almost 1000 young people signed up-

Rhiki:
Whoa.

Mia Henry:
… for that course in five days. Yeah. So I had to pay Zoom for the upgrade. I was kind of salty about that. I had to pay for more seats in Zoom. We unfortunately had to put a lot of people on the waiting list, but-

Trevor:
Wow.

Mia Henry:
… yeah, we had two, 300 young people show up every week-

Trevor:
Wow.

Mia Henry:
… for four weeks to talk about history of policing. Then we had a bonus course in August, just about abolition. We’ve had a reunion since then. So, now, at Freedom Lifted, I’m thinking about what does it look like for me to return to that place of being in regular community with young people around this political education.

Trevor:
Yeah. So you speak a lot about the historical knowledge, and I really do feel like it’s important. I’m a history buff. I feel like the most important thing in movement work today is learning about the history of movements past. So how do you feel that history can help us? I know you touched on it a little bit, but how do you feel learning about the history of policing, history of movements against policing … How do you feel like just history in general is able to inform the movement now, and how can it inform our progress going forward?

Mia Henry:
Yeah, sure. I mean, the lessons that we gain from learning history are tenfold, right? I totally need to write about this, but I just feel like there’s so much that will help us in our perspective today by studying history. I believe in making history accessible. I don’t think people need to read a 500-page book every week in order to know this stuff, and that’s what I hope, again, Freedom Lifted can provide that. But I really do hope people prioritize it like you are, Trevor, because I think studying history teaches us multiple things. I think one thing it teaches us is that movements are made up of people and people are complicated.

Trevor:
Yeah. True.

Rhiki:
Yeah.

Mia Henry:
Right? So movements are going to be complicated, right? Fannie Lou Hamer was this incredible grassroots leader out of Louisville, Mississippi, powerful testimony, game-changing analysis, but I would not call Fannie Lou Hamer a feminist, right? She has a fairly old-school views of relationships between women and men and deference to them. But that does not diminish her impact and her role and her work and all the people that she not only inspired but actually materially supported through providing food. They did a farm, the Freedom Farm Cooperative, and they had a pig bank, and they were actually … She provided land for poor Black people in Mississippi to grow their own food. That was revolutionary ’60s and ’70s for Black people to own their own land and cooperatively learn it together, right? She’s multiple things. Gandhi, I know much more controversial, is both anti-colonial and anti-Black. So it’s complicated, and if we want to give each other space to really fulfill our roles in movement work today, we have to be able to accept each other’s complexities, and that is not new.

Mia Henry:
The other thing is that movements are driven by the collective. That’s one of the first things people understand when they go on the tours, is that I always tell them, “These tours are not going to be about Martin Luther King, all right? It’s going to be about everybody else, everybody else.” Because there is no King without the collective, right? Not to diminish the necessary role he played as kind of a … I like to call him a narrator, right? He’s inspiring, but he’s also a narrator because he wrote so many books, he’s got so many speeches, we’ve got so much access to archives around him, so that’s been important. But there are all the other roles, right, the nurturer, the organizations. I don’t even see King particularly as an organizer. He’s not on the ground creating flyers and spreading the word and stuff and getting people to meetings and everything. That’s other folks, right? So movements are driven by the collective, and that’s so clear whenever we read anything historically. There is no one person who did anything.

Trevor:
I look at movements now, and the one that comes to mind, especially with the Black Lives Matter movement, is that it’s very decentralized. It’s very much a group of people all around the country, all around the world, collecting the mantra of Black Lives Matter, and it’s not one singular person saying, “This is Black Lives Matter.” Like you said, it doesn’t diminish what Dr. King did, what Malcolm did, what the Panthers did, all these people in the past who had very defined leadership roles, which were important. But it seems that as we look back on history and we look now that a lot of it’s decentralized. A lot of it is the collective group of people. I remember going out to these protests over the summer and seeing all these different types of people from all different walks of life, all these different backgrounds, and showing that this really is a collective project. This is a collective learning of things.

Trevor:
This isn’t just, “I’m going to go see one person speak, and I’m going to get so inspired by hearing this one person speak.” No, I’m getting inspired by seeing thousands of people marching with me in solidarity and not just listening to one person, but we’re actually marching against this. That really is an interesting difference in history, is just seeing that as the years have gone by, maybe we’ve learned because of what the FBI did and everything of killing these leaders, that we learned not to repeat those same mistakes, or we have just learned that it is more of a collective sort of thing. So it’s really interesting how history has informed us about that and how that slope has really changed from the individual to the collective.

Mia Henry:
Yes. Absolutely. I think that if you talked to people who were part of birthing Black Lives Matter and who have let … You let go of your child. You birth it. They studied history, right? They learned from Ella Baker. They learned from Combahee River Collective. They learned that having one single person represent the call for revolutionary change does not serve that work well, right? Because, yeah, that one person or those people can be targeted very easily, they can be killed, they can be imprisoned. There’s that. There’s just the logistical nightmare. Then King, when he died, they said he was 38 and he had a heart of a 67-year-old, right? It doesn’t serve anybody well for just a few people to carry a movement. Yeah, and I believe that Patrice Cullors and Alicia Garza, the people who were at the beginning of Black Lives Matter, knew that from the beginning and made the decision that a lot of people criticized to say, “We’re decentralizing this. Black Lives Matter has to be what it means to people wherever they are, and their leaders … We’re leader full.” That’s what they like to say, right? They’re not leaderless, they’re leader full.

Trevor:
Wow.

Mia Henry:
So that’s beautiful, and that’s another thing when I think about the three major things that we’ve learned from history. You hit it right there, Trevor. First, movements are made of people, people are complicated, movements are driven by the collective, and, finally, movements are made up of multiple groups using multiple strategies over time to end oppression. A 501(c)3 organization is not a movement. It’s an organization, right? Getting somebody elected is not a movement. It’s a campaign, right? Movements are made up of multiple organizations or collectives in many places speaking to their own context, but they have the larger analysis of ending oppression. They’re ending racial oppression. The civil rights movement is part of a long Black freedom struggle, and Black Lives Matter is the incredible continuation and growth of that long Black freedom struggle, and it shows up in different places for different people, but the goal is that we … Well, it’s aspirational, Black Lives Matter, that Black lives do matter, right? Yeah, Blackness does not restrict or be even an indicator for how much power we can have and hold and use.

Rhiki:
I want to-

Mia Henry:
So … Yeah.

Rhiki:
Oh, I was going to-

Mia Henry:
I could go on and on about history, what we can learn from history.

Trevor:
Oh, yeah, me, too. Me, too. This could be a three-hour conversation.

Rhiki:
Right? Oh my God.

Trevor:
I feel like [crosstalk 00:22:44]-

Mia Henry:
I know. I see already I’ve been … Oh my gosh, I’ve talked so much. [crosstalk 00:22:48]-

Rhiki:
No, you’re fine. I’ve been back here quiet. I’m like, “I’m just taking it all in.” Oh my God. But I want to touch on something that you said a little bit earlier about being able to accept each other’s complexities. I think that is so true. I feel like now we’re in a time where we’re really imagining what the new world will look like once we really get an idea of what that endpoint looks like in mind, what are we working towards. In envisioning that, I think it’s really hard for us to also envision the fact that it isn’t going to be all of us having all of the same values and believing all of the same things. We’re still going to be a group of very diverse people with different viewpoints.

Rhiki:
So how can we get to a point where we’re able to still work together despite not always having the exact same viewpoint on things? Like what you said about Fannie Lou Hamer, wasn’t a feminist but, still, the work that was done was very important to the movement. So I don’t even know if that’s a question. That’s kind of where my mind was at when you said that.

Mia Henry:
Yeah. You said it. That’s it. I think that is a constant struggle for a lot of us. I think we will say it, right, that we don’t have to be perfect, people don’t have to be perfect, but then we expect to be perfect. We’re so hard on each other and this work. Myself, and I’m old, I feel like, in comparison to a lot of people doing amazing things right now, and I’ve been around the block a couple of times, but I still feel self-conscious often to share my views on the world because I’m concerned about how they’ll be met, right? I’ll tell you all this. You do not have to put this in the thing. I’m sure you have a lot of editing to do. I still struggle, but in the beginning I was really struggling with doing my videos for the online course. I’m telling my friends, I’m like, “I’m going to say something that’s going to get me canceled. I don’t even know what.”

Mia Henry:
That was a disservice not only to me and my work but all the work that I have learned from and built on to say that I can’t put it out there because I’m afraid of how others might pick it apart. We really … Paige may remember me talking about this at Arcus Center, but the need to hold both passion and accountability with one another at the same time is so important. Wherever we are in our journeys, however woke we think we might be, we do not just get here. We had a journey, and people are on their journeys, and the fact of the matter is we’re still learning new things all the time. As long as we are able to be in relationship with one another, we are constantly learning. Yes, we hold ourselves, first, accountable for any mistakes we might make or harm we might do, for sure, and we are able to hold others accountable as well, but can we do it and not throw them away?

Mia Henry:
Can we do it and, in my case, not silence myself? Can I hold myself accountable and say, “You know what? I’m putting these ideas out here. This is based on what I know and what I’ve learned, and I’m still knowing and I’m still learning and it may not all be right, and I invite a conversation around it.” But I want to stay in the game, I want to stay in the mix. You know?

Trevor:
Yeah. And you brought up an interesting point. I have been saying this for years now, but I want the word woke to be ended. I don’t want people to say they’re woke anymore because, in my mind, when I hear the word woke, it means that you’ve decided that you’ve reached a pinnacle where you want to stop learning, that you think you know everything, that no one can tell you otherwise, no one can tell you this, no one can tell you that. I think woke culture turns into a competition of, “I’m more woke than you, I’m more woke than you,” and I have been wanting to cancel the word woke because, to me, it just feels as if you feel like you’re better because you’ve learned. You can’t learn anymore. You’re done learning.

Trevor:
You’ve mentioned that we’re constantly learning every single day. From different people, from different experiences, from our own experiences, we’re constantly learning every single day. So I don’t think one person can ever be woke or take on that mantle of being woke because it cancels out your learning. You’re right where it’s just kind of like we have to constantly learn, we have to constantly be in conversation, and we also have to be open to being held accountable in that conversation if we say something wrong, if we offend someone by accident or this, that, or the other. We have to be able to be open to accountability. If you say you’re woke, I feel like you’re just causing your doors to all types of accountability, all types of questioning. You’re not allowing yourself to really grow because you’re quote-unquote woke.

Rhiki:
Yeah. That also, Trevor, makes me think about as a Black person, it is so important to not cancel out people from our movement. When I think about what it means to do cross-movement work, all of our issues are so interconnected and intermingled. We can’t do this work alone only as Black people. We need other people in our movements, and the same is true with other movements. So it’s just like we can’t cut off our learning and we also can’t cut off our cross-racial relationships just because people are different, they have different viewpoints, and we just don’t want to do the work of accountability. That’s kind of what I was thinking.

Rhiki:
But, okay, Mia, I want to be good on your time, so we have one more question, and then we have a resource question that is really just … I’ll get into it later. But my last question is because you’re an educator and you talked about the Building Movement Project and the different roles that comes with doing movement work, I want to ask, most people, when they think about education, at least when I think about recently because of the uprising, a lot of people took it as almost an end point, like, “Once I do the webinar, once I do the workshop, once I have the knowledge, I’m doing what I need to do, and that’s it. As long as I continue to go to the webinars, I’m okay.” But it’s actually a starting point, so once you have the knowledge base, in your opinion, what is the next steps? How do you go about finding your role or where you fit in the movement, or what was that process like for you?

Mia Henry:
Well, first, this is a great question. Well, I like the term knowledge base, but there’s no ending of the learning, right? So all of those opportunities, and I would say this every time I gave a training, is that this is the beginning or a continuation of the work. Political education has to be part of our work all the time. For me, I take a lot of heat … And I’m going to go back again to the study of history, and I’m kind of giving away the last part of my online class, too, when I share this. But when you go to Memphis, if you go to the National Civil Rights Museum, before you start the museum, which does a chronological walkthrough of the major campaigns of that movement, you have to watch a film on reconstruction or the Civil War and the failures of reconstruction.

Mia Henry:
And before that, you’re in a waiting area, and the waiting area is like you’re literally standing on a map of the Transatlantic slave trade, and it has exhibits in there of different things, artifacts from the places from where we were kidnapped. Then there’s a wall that has all the ways that people resisted while they were enslaved in this country, while they were enslaved. They list six different ways, revolt, escape, petition and protest, achievement of success, which I talk about as positional power, community-building, and defiance, and give examples of all that. I really believe that those of us who are resistance, who are carrying identities in resistance and particularly when we talk about racial justice work with Black people, we resist in all those ways, right? Sometimes, we have to escape. We have to just get out. We have to get away from places that are actively harming us. Some of us, historically, we’ve revolted. That’s how Haiti was created, right? You just take over.

Mia Henry:
We’re in the streets. We’re in the courts. We got positional power. We’re leveraging positional power when we can. We’re building community. The artists, the work of art through all this is incredible, and I see it so much in building community and holding circle and facilitation, that’s what I see my work as well. And defiance, right, refusing to be defined by racial oppression, refusing to be defined by white supremacy and using the internalization of it. All of that is necessary. All of that was necessary to end slavery, and all of that is necessary for us now, and it doesn’t do us any good to have the folks who are doing protest and petition and call the community-building people soft or the people with positional power saying the people in revolt are too militant or that everybody’s calling the positional power people sellouts if they’re trying, right? It does not help us to do that because all of it is necessary. All of it is necessary on the resistance end, on the resistance end.

Mia Henry:
On the solidarity end, the people who are the groups, organizations, folks who are taking trainings and they really want to do better, not the ones who are taking trainings and just trying to check it off and be like, “Okay, we took Mia’s class or whatever, we good. We read this one book or we read this one article. We saw a two-minute thing on Instagram, and we good.” No. No, I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about the folks who are, to me, in the struggle in this way of just constantly trying to figure out their roles. To me, there are multiple levels to do that as well. It’s like you said, Rhiki, that constantly educating ourselves, that is necessary for cultural shifts and cultural change, and educating each other, right? So even at the Arcus Center, we can never know too much, so we’re constantly trying to learn and educate ourselves.

Mia Henry:
The other thing is, actually, the personal by interrupting bias, interrupting harm when it happens as it happens. It’s really important for people to be able to build the courage to do that and exercise that courage, to be able to say something. When you see something, say something. So that’s at a personal, cultural level, the education and the interrupting bias. But then on the institutional, systemic level, people need to figure out what policies need to be changed, which ones are rooted … In the case of racial justice work, which policies are rooted in white supremacy? Really take a close, hard look at if your organization is all white, why is that? How did it get that way? What were the conditions that created that, and how do you need to change those conditions? What kinds of laws do we need to change? What kinds of advocacy do we need to do on that level?

Mia Henry:
Then there’s the radical imagination part, the systemic part of what are other ways that we can actually be in the world? How can we imagine safety without police? What does it mean for everybody to have healthcare all the time, any time? What do we need to build or destroy to get us there? Those are the kinds of questions, the long-term questions of how are we changing things to move us to a new world, a new way of being. And I said radical imagination. I borrowed that, of course, from Robin D. G. Kelley and the others who have built off that work. But I see it as not just the looking forward, but it’s also looking back because then you have people who are working on abolition of slavery while they were enslaved and not thriving but being in a system, a country, and a land that was built on slavery, being in that, and that’s all we knew for hundreds of years, like two or three centuries of it, and people are able to imagine a world without it.

Mia Henry:
It’s amazing. It’s unbelievable to me that people in the civil rights movement could imagine a desegregated world when that’s literally all they knew. From cradle to grave, from hospital to cemetery, everything was segregated, everything, everything. But they’re able to imagine something else. So us to be able to look at historically people were able to imagine a future. We learn that from history, right? It’s this beautiful spectrum of seeing. I don’t know if that makes any sense, but that’s, to me, this radical imagination part, is that we look back, we look forward, we look, obviously, to the side to see what people are doing around us and be inspired by that, being able to see a new way of being. So I don’t know if that answered your question. I know that’s not hard one, two, three things for people to do but-

Rhiki:
Yes. No.

Trevor:
Nah.

Rhiki:
But that’s what the work looks like. It’s not like, “Okay, step one, do the webinar. Step two, go to a protest.” It’s not like that, so I appreciate your answer and it being not linear because that’s what we need to get to a world where there isn’t … We need to get out of that linear thinking or that binary thinking, like, “You just do this and you’re a good person.” No.

Trevor:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). A movement without imagination is nothing, so that’s so real. You’re right. If we were able to imagine abolition, if we were able to imagine desegregation, the things that we’re … We definitely can imagine a world without police. We can imagine a world where everyone gets healthcare. This radical imagination is honestly, I think, one of the most important tools in the movement. It’s because if we can’t imagine what the future’s going to look like, [crosstalk 00:39:34]-

Mia Henry:
Right. And we have models for imagination.

Trevor:
… if we can’t even imagine it.

Mia Henry:
You know? We come from imaginative people, so … Yeah. Yeah.

Rhiki:
So before we let you go, I just want to ask for our listeners and people who are interested in learning more, besides your organization Freedom Lifted and some of the organizations that you mentioned in the conversation, which I have written down, what are some other people or organizations that they could look to?

Mia Henry:
Oh, well, clearly, definitely the Movement for Black Lives, for sure. I go to them for direction on where we should be nationally. Wow, there are so many and I don’t want to short-change anybody, so I might have to-

Rhiki:
You can always email me a list. You can email me a list if you want to do that.

Mia Henry:
… send you some texts or something, too. Yeah, so, I mean, the design, doing a lot of design and facilitation now, like creating spaces and holding spaces where people can create their own answers to the issues that they’re facing. I have really appreciated Priya Parker’s book, The Art of Gathering. That book really spoke to me as far as for anyone who is doing facilitation work and doing gathering work, and she’s putting out some interesting things now, what that looks like when we can’t gather in person, what the purpose of coming together is. But I come to that quite a bit. I’m very into structures and how do we organize in our organizing, so I’ve appreciated a lot of work that I learned from Rockwood Leadership Academy. I went for a leadership retreat there a few years ago while I was still at Arcus, and I am still building and using a lot of the tools that I got out of Rockwood. I’ll just put those out there.

Trevor:
So, yeah, we just got done with this episode, second episode with Mia. Rhiki, what did you think about this episode? What are some things that’s running through your head right now?

Rhiki:
I think the main thing that I’m thinking about is the point where Mia said movements are made up of people and people are complex. That is the thing that is really sticking with me because as I develop as someone in this work, as an organizer, as an activist, I’m constantly thinking about how to be in relationship with various different types of people and what it means to be in those relationships and how to be in relationships with complex people. That’s hard. People can be difficult at some time, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t work with them. So I’m really exploring what it means to be in relationship with people, that we may not see eye to eye on everything but we see eye to eye on this issue and they want to work towards a better world when it comes to this issue and I do, too. So how can we work together, even if we don’t agree on all things? What about you, Trevor?

Trevor:
Yeah. I guess, for me, one thing that I was thinking about is just we talked a lot about movements now and movements versus the past and seeing that contrast. Yeah, you’re right that movements contain people and people are complicated. For me, just looking at how decentralized the movements are compared to the movements of the past, and, yeah, I’ve just been really thinking about that a lot, and ever since this conversation, it’s felt like there is a lot more decentralized movements nowadays. There’s no central figure. There’s no central leader within these movements. It’s a collective of people. It’s a collective of all types of backgrounds, all types of people working towards the same goal. So that’s just been something I’ve been thinking about, and just seeing the difference between the two is actually pretty interesting and seeing where movements will go in the future, excuse me. With now being it’s so decentralized and there’s no clear leader, where do we go from here? So that’s always interesting to think about.

Announcer:
And that’s it for our episode today. The Radical Futures Now podcast is housed under the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College. Special thanks to Trevor Lodium-Jackson for our music and Ellie [inaudible 00:44:43] for our graphics. Be sure to follow us on our Instagram, @arcuscenter. See you next week.

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