Fighting Oppression as a Sensitive Soul

August 25, 2015

Today I’m delighted to share this guest post written by the lovely Marsha Philitas. 

As you read this post there are liberation movements growing right outside our doors. The Black Liberation Movement and the LGBT movements are calling for us all to examine who has power and why.  Protests, campaign disruptions and more are rumbling and challenging the status quo.

As sensitive, caring souls we have a tension to deal with. Our hearts are hurting and grieving right along with the protestors.  We hear of the unjust deaths of people like Sandra Bland (a black woman arrested on a traffic charge and found dead in a holding cell 2 days later) or India Clarke (a woman who was murdered for being a trans woman of color) and our hearts feel so much pain that we’re overwhelmed.  We want to help with the healing but are so tempted to protect our sensitive souls by turning everything off and tuning out.

Believe it or not, your sensitivity is not a liability in these times.  The noise and crowds that come with protests may make those forms of action unmanageable for you, but there are other powerful ways that you can help to bring about justice and equality.

Each movement in history has required both disruptors AND visionaries.

Disruptors help to tear apart oppressive systems that perpetuate inequality.  That work is crucial.  But after the protest comes the planning.  Visionaries are needed to help create the world that will replace the old one.  As sensitive souls, this is where we fit in.  Our empathy and creativity allows us to see beyond what is to paint a realistic picture of what can be.  Your compassion gives your the courage to embody values of justice and equality.

Here’s how:

1. Do Your Internal Work

Take the time to evaluate the places where privilege and oppression have taken root in your own life.  Where have you benefited from those systems?  Be honest with yourself and take stock.

2. Start Reading and Educating Yourself

Inequalities in America are not new and your access to the history of this topic is just a Google search away.  Autostraddle.com compiled an amazing list of readings related to #BlackLivesMatter here.  It’s a great start.

3. Speak out within Your Spheres of Influence

Bring up #BlackLivesMatter at the dinner table.  Share the statistics on the murders of transwomen of color at work.  Spread awareness where you can.  If you’re an ally and not a member of these groups, this step is even more important.  Black and LGBT people are often burdened with doing all the work to increase awareness.  It’s an emotionally exhausting, and sometimes unsafe, position to be put in.  If you’re an ally, have the strength to use your privilege to speak in spaces where other voices are marginalized.

4. Ampilify the Voices of Marginalized Folks

Were you moved by an article written by a transwoman of color about their experience? Share it.  Do you have a role of hiring speakers or arranging trainings at your job?  Reach out to consultants of color.  Find out who is speaking on these issues and support their work.  Give donations if possible.

5. Pressure Your Government Representatives to Make These Issues a Priority

The Black Lives Matter organization and Campaign Zero have both identified key policy demands.  Find one you support and write/call/pester your local Congressman to endorse them.

You don’t have to tune out or feel helpless when you hear of injustices.  Let your heart guide you to take action and use your compassion to build a better world.

Profile PicAbout Marsha

Marsha Philitas helps social justice-minded women learn to balance ambition with ease. Her latest program, The Sisterhood, is an intimate group coaching experience where women heal from the trauma of oppression and build joy-filled lives.

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