I am constantly asking the question, “How can we transform the world into a place that supports the wellbeing of everyone, given the resources and limits we have to work with?”.
I want to heal the world, but the problems are complex. For example:
- How do we solve sexism without blaming and alienating individual men, who are just as socialized into sexism as women are? (The beginning of an answer: learn to separate the interpersonal from systemic levels of interaction, so you can stay connected while discussing the forces acting upon you as individuals.)
- If it’s not oppressed peoples’ job to educate people with privilege, and people with privilege are in a “fog” and don’t understand what is true, how does the education happen?
- If people are afraid to support the release of violent offenders because they have not been reformed by a broken system, how do we reduce mass incarceration?
- How do we change society if people are resistant to change? How do we make changes that feel acceptable and positive, and not forced or rooted in blame?
- How can we reconnect after dehumanization, when dehumanization destroys trust on both sides? In other words, how can I stop seeing you as a monster when I am still afraid, and how can you trust that I intend to stop even when I make mistakes?
I am interested in strategies that bring intelligence, empathy, and awareness of our interdependence to oppression, violence, and social problems.
My background is in personal growth and healing, which emphasizes integrating disowned and fragmented parts of our psyche to become whole. I am curious about the links between disowned parts of our society (like prisons) and the functioning of society as a whole. If we cannot see ourselves in each other, how can we function as a society?
In 2014, I married a man who is currently in prison. Through that journey I have witnessed and experienced the depth of dehumanization the prison system produces, and how ineffective it is for healing, repairing harm, accountability, or helping people become productive citizens when they rejoin society. You can read a bit about my experience on my blog Joy Ninja or these three posts on Medium:
- How it Really Feels to Be a Prison Wife
- To My Woo-Woo Friends: Being the Change is Not Enough
- What I Learned Volunteering in Prison for Six Months