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  • Writer's pictureDr. Stacey Chimimba Ault

RAGE is closed the week of September 6th, 2021. Here's why ...

Repost from @rageproject.

In recognition of the need to listen to our bodies and honor our spirits, the Race and Gender Equity Project is closed the week of September 6th, 2021. It is a time for us to reflect and replenish as we move toward the end of the calendar year. We hope to have a week off every season to practice what we preach, claim a more restful rhythm, and engage in the personal practices necessary for self-preservation. These weeks of rest will be in addition to other necessary paid time off.

Image: A Black & white photo of Audre Lorde with the words “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare" (Audre Lorde).
A Black & white photo of Audre Lorde with the words “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare"

The intersection of work and rest

At the Race and Gender Equity Project, we constantly interrogate the intersection between work and rest. While we recognize the significance and value of our work, we also uplift the importance of taking care of ourselves individually and collectively. This concept is deeply rooted in our core values of anti-racism and healing justice.

"Healing justice acknowledges and addresses the layers and layers of trauma and violence that we have been living with and fighting for generations. And, it asks us to bring collective practices for healing and transformation INTO our work" (Tanuja Jagernauth).

 Image: An Instagram picture of a tweet on a black background that reads "It's more than a self care thing.  This is political.  This is collective justice. We are not resting to do more. We are resting to dismantle and push back against systems that want us all dead if we are not producing for its wealth. I need us to get this.

We are not resting up so that we can do more, or re-charging so we can work harder. We are "resting to push back against and dismantle the systems that want us all dead if we are not producing for its wealth" (Tricia Hersey; @TheNapMinistry).

We also take this time off to push back on some of the work practices that we have adopted that are rooted in racial capitalism and white supremacy culture. This rest is not performative. It is purposeful.

We look forward to continuing to explore the ways we can make our workplace more affirming and intentional. We will continue to take care of each other and take care of ourselves. We will continue to challenge and support you as you do the same.

We would be remiss to enter this brief period of rest without honoring the labor and struggle of Black ancestors. While many people know about the emergence of the United States' national Labor Day as a response to the Pullman Strike, we don't acknowledge enough that after the strike, conditions for the Black Pullman porters didn't change. Black folks of all genders continued to experience traumatic and oppressive conditions and averaged 400 hours of work a month (20 hour days). We uplift the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters as the first Black union and acknowledge their role in collective bargaining (learn more). We also realize the legacy of 8-hour workdays is archaic. Unfortunately during this time of working from home (or living at work), many people are not afforded the opportunity to disconnect from the workplace. Thanks to technological advances, we are often expected to be readily available to respond at a moment's notice. Many of us, especially Black women and girls, unwillingly succumb to racist tropes like Black Superwoman and believe we must work twice as hard to get half as far (Stacey Ault).

If we don't rest, we are robbing ourselves of the capacity to dream, innovate and create. We gently challenge us all to take time to re-imagine, demand, and create more restful and liberatory workplaces.

Finally, the intimate one-on-one work we do with young people is not "work" to us. If you are part of our youth community and need us, text us. If we don't have the capacity, to support you at that time, we will do our best to find someone who will. Thank you for asking us if we have the bandwidth to talk, and for following through as we support you in building an entire team you can reach out to. We don't want to ever be the only person in your network. We have built a village.

Rest well friends.

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