Most white Americans won’t understand the pressure crushing down upon our minority friends and family members. Life can be a daily struggle. Coming away from that struggle with a positive outlook can be nearly impossible — especially considering the state of American politics and partisanship. And that’s why many activists have sought spiritual rest and relaxation in order to foster their own mental health. How else can they keep fighting the good fight?
Author of Do Better: Spiritual Activism for Fighting and Healing from White Supremacy Rachel Ricketts says that her book is “essentially a combination of my personal and professional experiences of a lifetime of navigating white supremacist systems as a queer multiracial Black woman — and it is rooted in spiritual activism.”
Spiritual activism doesn’t mean that people have to stop fighting. To the contrary, it only means that we have to keep fighting after we attain personal inner peace. You can’t fight from a place of hatred. Your heart needs to feel content first.
Ricketts said that spiritual activism “means doing [the work] from a space, of a grounded understanding, in the way we are all involved in systemic harm in a way that ensures that we are connected to ourselves as well as each other, as well as all beings — conscious or not — including nature, and to something bigger than us.”
She adds, “Activism is really about understanding that this work has to start within us first, so that the work we do out in the world is a reflection of that. It’s grief work, it’s healing work, it’s trauma work, and if we aren’t treating it as such, then it just becomes an analytical exercise.”
The purpose, according to Ricketts, is to get to know oneself and other people in order to understand what makes people tick. Without that understanding, growth and change are impossible — and we’ll only keep hurting ourselves and the ones we want to save.