Culture change is so important, and as a person who’s paid to do policy work all day, I find it just as – if not more – important. You can pass laws all day against racial profiling, but unless the culture of white supremacy changes all you’re doing is harm reduction. I think of policy work as harm reduction and I think that’s really important, but I’m about dismantling the whole apparatus.
From your full-time job to your volunteer work, you clearly have a lot going on. What does self-care look like for you?
Burnout is a constant issue. At my worst, I find myself resenting rich kids. But when I’m really taking care of myself, I do things with my hands. I’m so much happier when I make art. These days, that looks like some drawing and a lot of embroidery. I also love cooking, and it’s an easy everyday way to be creative and use my hands while nourishing my friends and family. I’ve explored a lot of different kinds of art in my life – from metalworking to pottery to painting – but I’ve decided to really dedicate myself to artistic traditions historically carried out by women, and I’ve found a lot of satisfaction in that. As a person who is working toward a large-scale global transformation, the likes of which I don’t expect to see in my lifetime, it’s really satisfying to do something tangible. I don’t know when capitalism is going to come crashing down, but fermenting some kimchi, for example, is a transformation that can happen in a much shorter amount of time, and I really appreciate that.
How do you see your work as helping to crush the patriarchy?
Patriarchy is basically a set of structures and systems, and it’s my goal to work at lots of different angles to help dismantle those, or at least make a few cracks that will allow them to be dismantled in the future. I hope to live my values in the movements I’m a part of and in my everyday life and actions. I’m surely making a ton of mistakes on the way, and I hope for the generosity of my community to tell me when I’m doing that and the clarity of mind to accept that gift.
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