This image is what we lovingly refer to as “The Journey”
It is the process of growth.
It is a process to heal
It is a process to bloom.
The kind of “growth” we’re talking about here can be difficult to understand because it’s an internal process. We rarely notice the external signs of the change unless they are “obvious” or unless we know how to look for them.
What we’ve outlined here are 6 steps that serve as an imperfect guide to the change in self-awareness we might experience in this lifetime. These steps are generally experienced in this order but sometimes, life might have you skipping around a little bit + that’s ok!
This image is the “Social Justice” version of those same steps. I did it to see if it would help me manage my overwhelm AND help get a grasp on what’s happening in our world right now on both the individual and collective levels.
What’s really fascinating is that these steps can be applied to any national or global conversation/movement that has involved an oppressed group. It can be applied to the #BLM conversation happening right now, to the #MeToo Movement, to U.S. Immigrants + immigration policy, the LBGTQ+ community, the history of Indigenous people – ANY group that has been oppressed or marginalized.
I believe this current moment in history is a time of immense growth for most of us individually and collectively. To have deeper compassion + understanding for each other – and this is what I understand to be the path we take to get there.
In light of the #BLM conversation that we have all found ourselves influencing in one way or another, I have taken the liberty to carefully breakdown and outline each step using examples of racism in the U.S.
**I only took a few race/social justice classes in college so I have a minimal background/education in racial justice history. If you have edits you’d like to suggest, I’d love to hear what you might add or remove!
STEP 1: UNALIGNED + UNAWARE
Cruelty. Ignorance. Physical + Verbal Attacks. Systematically oppressing “others” in order to maintain power.
Individually: This might be expressed as murder, discrimination, racial slurs, slavery, implicit biases, and the overall acceptability and acceptance of this behavior.
Collectively: This looks like slavery, segregation, lynching, appropriation, outward violence toward an agreed “other”, etc.
STEP 2: NAME THE PAIN
Identifying problematic stereotypes, systemic issues, injustices, oppressive behaviors.
Individually: This is the recognition of their participation in the oppression, and questioning why the world is this way.
Collectively: This might look like an increase in conversations – oppressed groups finding their voice. It is the beginning of a cultural shift in the acceptability of these things.
STEP 3: CHALLENGES
Accepting the responsibility to heal. Desire to face the discomfort that comes with change.
Individually: This might look like choosing to stop using certain words, supporting certain companies or policies.
Collectively: This looks like demanding structural change through protests, petitions, policy changes. Pushing past “band-aid” fixes.
STEP 4: LEARN THE LESSONS
Seeking guides or educational material, to learn more about the circumstances and how to change them.
Collectively: This might look like acknowledging the hardships endured by the oppressed group and understanding why these things are wrong.
Individually: This looks like following educators on social media, reading books, listening to podcasts.
STEP 5: FIND YOUR TRIBE -> INTEGRATION + INFLUENCE
Integrating the things you’ve learned into your daily life. Share these practices with your circle of influence.
Collectively: Integrating the “other” group. Formation of movements and organizations to educate, create change, & raise awareness.
Individually: Aligning with people whose values you admire/respect. Sparking conversations in your personal circle of influence, attending protests, etc.
STEP 6: BLOOM
Mobilize your community & resources to create new, inclusive systems.
Collectively: Redirecting funding to restructure broken systems, initiatives to close the gap between the oppressed and the rest of the community.
Individually: Implementing new policies to prevent injustice in the workplace.
My hope is that we can use this circle to understand where we are on our journey and then help each other to grow to the next step. I hope this step by step breakdown provides clarity and dissolves that overwhelm.
Figure out where you are & what you can do to keep moving towards a full bloom.