“Love and justice are not two. without inner change, there can be no outer change; without collective change, no change matters.” Reverend Angel Kyodo Williams
In early 2021, a global group of allied practitioners came together to explore how we embody unjust social conditions, how oppression affects our relationship with our body, and how we can harness the body’s wisdom in making our social justice work more grounded, responsive, and sustainable. It has been humbling to be part of this community. In the coming weeks, I will share a few offerings emerging from this journey, led by the extraordinary Reverend Angel Kyodo Williams.
For those who may be new to the Rev’s work to advance social transformation, I invite you to bask in the beautiful wisdom she shared during a recent conversation with the equally brilliant, Krista Tippet, of On Being:
“There is this place of vulnerability from which truly transformative action must come from is what I have discovered and wrapped my whole language and view around, is that we can take action, and we can take very skillful action. Don’t get me wrong in any way — there’s an enormous amount of advocacy being done, very hard choices that people are making, to put themselves on the front lines. But without this particular place and location of a willingness to be flexible, open, soft-bellied enough to be moved by the truth of the other in whatever given situation, then it is not transformative. It’s change, maybe; it can be moved backwards again, as we can see — the stroke of a pen.
But for us to transform as a society, we have to allow ourselves to be transformed as individuals. And for us to be transformed as individuals, we have to allow for the incompleteness of any of our truths and a real forgiveness for the complexity of human beings and what we’re trapped inside of, so that we’re both able to respond to the oppression, the aggression that we’re confronted with, but we’re able to do that with a deep and abiding sense of “and there are people, human beings, that are at the other end of that baton, that stick, that policy, that are also trapped in something. They’re also trapped in a suffering.” And for sure, we can witness that there are ways in which they’re benefiting from it. But there’s also ways, if one trusts the human heart, that they must be suffering. And holding that at the core of who you are when responding to things, I think, is the way — the only way we really have forward — to not just replicate systems of oppression for the sake of our own cause.”