Brave Spaces

trump protest

PC: Elizabeth Conley

Excerpts from a recent interview with justice doula Micky Scottbey-Jones of the Faith Matters Network (re-posted from the Nobel Women’s Initiative site):

On “movement chaplaincy:”

We’ve been taught to think of movements and protests as “Who’s the target? What’s the action? We’re done.” In the same way that we have medics at protests to attend to the physical needs of people, a movement chaplain would be the person who’s clued into the emotional, spiritual, and mental needs, both in the moment of protest, and afterwards. They would help us decompress, celebrate, lament. We shouldn’t be going on to the next action until we’ve had time to process and celebrate our wins, and mourn our losses, and talk about how scared we were during one part and how great this other part felt. We need to change the way we are taught to organize.

On the Trump era:

I believe we are now living in an era of suspicion where it can often take a lot longer to establish a mutual trust. Marginalised folks are exhausted from having to fight all day, every day, and since racists, sexists, and xenophobes have become more emboldened by Trump, they are more reluctant than ever. And for those who are allies, they are tired of seeing this hurt. People are so tired now that when they come together to do movement work, they only want to work with people who can create a super “safe space”. But I think we need a new paradigm because we have to work with others, and it’s not going to be safe. We need everybody on deck who is interested in the path of justice. So that’s why I’ve been so focused on this idea of co-creating spaces together: brave spaces. While “safe space” tries to make an outside force field where we all police each other, brave space allows us to be brave with one another and with ourselves, and then we’re willing to receive the critiques of others. It’s not so much about establishing some perfect world, but about creating it by working on it together—personal and social transformation at the same time. And all of that is not safe. But it’s rich, and it’s good. So I think it’s worth it, even though it’s hard.

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