Healing Justice Manifesto for December 6th 2020
On December 6th, 1989 I was a new mother. The murders at l'École Polytechnique shook loose a deep despair that surfaces every December. A fresh wound felt keenly with every woman killed, most often by someone who ‘loved’ her. The Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses (OAITH) annual femicide report lists 35 women and girls who were killed in 2020. So far. It is hard not to feel like we are losing ground, losing “the war on women”. Women always lose in a war. Always. This year has been especially brutal for all the reasons too exhausting to list. I am tired of fighting. I am traumatized by so many stories of fear and hate. Increasingly I fear that polarization is the endlessly renewable fuel that will burn down the whole house. It has been a brutal year.
Sometimes exhaustion and feeling defeated lead somewhere new, unexpected. This year has also been a time of collective awakening to the need and possibility of real change. I am thinking about the stories that have inspired me this year – and there are many. On Dec 6th we remember, and then we act. Regrouping and “radical rest” could be your radical action this year.
RADICAL REST HEALING JUSTICE MANIFESTO
Radical Rest holds that healing justice is at the heart of a vital liberatory movement. White supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism, colonization and other forms of socialized oppressions seek to divide, disempower and dissociate all beings from the one body we have and to separate that body from the body of the natural world.
Radical Rest believes in the words of Audre Lorde self care “is self preservation and that is an act of political warfare”. If we are too sick, exhausted, self harming and hopeless, we are easier beings to control in the servitude of oppressive systems and institutions.
Radical Rest believes in the wisdom of stillness, retreat, self reflection, mindfulness and pleasure as profound and legitimate forces of resistance against oppressive capitalist institutions and worldviews demanding constant doing, expansion, growth, and action.
Radical Rest knows a healthy ecosystem of humans is rooted in healthy interconnected ecosystems of the natural world. Our bodies cannot be separated from the wellness of the planet.
Radical Rest centers the needs of and works to create health access for BIPOC, Queer, Trans, Intersex, Disabled, Chronically Ill, Fat, Immigrant humans. Marginalization was decided for us by worldviews beyond our control. We can cultivate identities beyond “other” in our whole, alive, vital and dynamic bodies.
Radical Rest understands that health has been defined under the lens of western white allopathic medicine. We seek to expand the definitions of health to include offerings of communal, holistic, natural, spiritual and traditional/indigenous medicine ways and to reclaim our ancestral knowledge of healing.
Radical Rest is not perfect, is evolving from seed, is open to feedback about what’s working and what isn’t and is accountable to the people served. We believe in feeding what works grows. We believe in 'rupture and repair' and 'impact over intention'.
While the work of macropolicy change is imperative to liberatory movements, it is nothing if not met with the individual’s space for safety, groundedness, play, patience, connection and compassion. These factors are the seeds from which all liberatory movements should grow. Above all else, Radical Rest believes in the self emergent, self organizing, self adaptive capacity of the body when given the space and conditions for wellness. ALL PEOPLE have a natural right to those conditions.
May you find the courage this year to give yourself the rest you need,
The War on Women is a non-fiction book written by Brian Vallée that was published in 2007.