21. To be free

“If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all the systems of oppression.”

What does freedom look like to you? How are freedom and justice connected?

Complete the sentence

If I were free, it would mean______________________________________________________________ since my freedom __________________________________________________________.

Feel free to make an illustration of what freedom looks like to you.

High school english teacher Emily Chavez shared this exercise with her students


Click here genres-of-freedom-english-ii-to-be-free-responses to download example responses from Hillside High School students in Durham.

Kriti Sharma is a community based biologist, supporting and affirming life.

Kriti Sharma is a community based biologist, supporting and affirming life.

Kriti Sharma of UBUNTU and the UBUNTU Grows community garden writes:

If my dadima was free, she would have land to whom she could give generously, and who would give her back a humbling abundance of vegetables and spices, fruit trees, birds.  She would have land that would meet her, dance with her, offer her countless gifts for every measure of effort so lovingly given.  She would invite whomever she wanted to come visit her there, and even that at times of her own choosing.  Yet she was married at the age of 13, giving generously for decades to the rocky land of a marriage that grew so little of what sustained her.

If my nanima was free, she would tend to her own body with devotion, her skull-splitting migraines and gnawing anxiety subsiding to the peace of knowing there was nothing to do, nothing more important than her endlessly generous body healing, piece by piece.  By the grace of turmeric, aloe, amla, and some heavy doses of aspirin and Tiger Balm for good measure, she would love herself to health as fervently as she’d love her family to full bellies and healed wounds.  She would know her body as an end unto itself.

If I were free, I would stop the machine that keeps churning desi women out to gratefully give our very lives up, as moths die ecstatically in flame.  I would notice when I find myself acting in ways that compromise my health and well-being, and add to the suffering of other women of color.  I would be lucid about my confusion, acknowledging the force of patterns set into motion from the time of my birth, from the time of parents’ birth, from a time almost beyond memory.  I would uncover my inheritance, like heavy, buried treasure.

If my daughters were free, they would be born awake, their third eyes open.  Being born, they would know, immediately, where they were born: into oppression, which is like a wheel that was spun long ago and that we spin again and again and again through our lives and collective actions, giving it momentum.  With clear insight into the sources of their suffering, and the skills to end that suffering, they would act with a vigilance and power such as the world has never seen, slowing, slowing, slowing the wheel down.

My dadima is free.  She gives life to basil and marigolds, neighbors and children.  She laughs hard at good jokes, is good company to herself, and is learning against all odds to read.

My nanima is free.  She’s born now into another body, one that she’ll have every opportunity to use for good, one that she’ll love fully and well.

I am free.  I hold my life precious and brief, and diligently sow the seeds of liberation while I can, not a moment to lose.

My daughters will be free.  They will face the world bravely.  They will finish their own stories.

for more by Kriti Sharma download a free copy  her zine Moral Revolution below!

Kriti condensed Sarah Hoaglands Lesbian Ethics into Zine form!

Kriti condensed Sarah Hoagland's Lesbian Ethics into Zine form!

Email us your completed sentences and/or illustrations at brokenbeautifulpress@gmail.com!


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