“…it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence. And there are so many silences to be broken.”
How Social Justice Happens
Social justice begins with awareness and analysis of the problem. Understanding the problem and the language of racism, xenophobia, anti-blackness, homophobia, misogyny, transphobia, ableism, and other forms of oppression provides important tools for learning and talking about inequality.
Many of us don’t know how to talk about oppression, let alone how we can change the systems, practices, and policies that are embedded within ourselves, our culture, and our institutions. Some of us don’t recognize the inequities around us, don’t feel comfortable using the language to describe oppression, or don’t know how to interrupt it when we recognize it. It’s unfamiliar and uncomfortable, but it’s important for us to practice talking about oppression so that we can reduce it and the harm it causes.
Traditional workshops teaching people how not to be racist, sexist, and homophobic have not reduced the problem. In general, those workshops were designed to protect employers and organizations from lawsuits. Most change, without a deeper understanding of the problem, is not enduring or sustainable. We can attempt to establish training programs and policies, but if we do not understand how and why inequality began and how it is maintained, we will not make progress toward social equality.
“The kind of change we are after is cellular as well as institutional, is personal and intimate, is collective as well as cultural. We are making love synonymous with justice.”
How We Approach Our Work
Usawa Consulting seeks to offer:
An embodied understanding of social inequality. While we may not fully feel what it is like to be marginalized because of who we are, we all experience disadvantages and privileges in some way. And we all feel, often unacknowledged, the trauma and spiritual dis-ease of cycles of oppression. Facilitators at Usawa Consulting strive to help each other develop a deeper understanding of oppression so that we feel the importance of eliminating oppression, not just for others, but for ourselves.
Respect to all life — human, animal, plant, and the earth. Our relationship with each other and other forms of life should be critically examined. We are all connected. As we examine the patterns of colonization, we can become more aware of the relationship between the colonizer’s desire to dominate all people and resources on earth and our relationship with each other and our environment. There has been a path of destruction left in the wake of colonization. People have been exterminated, lands have been destroyed, animals have become extinct, and environments have been altered. We encourage each other to examine how we have internalized features of colonization and white supremacy.