Black Futures Month: Imagining Black Liberation
By Connie Razza and Solana Rice
Like so many of us do these days, we set a time and date to come together in a virtual space. After the pleasantries, our conversation turned to our recent professional and personal experiences. As context, we both spend the majority of our waking hours thinking about, conspiring with others, and meditating on how to shape a liberated future with Black people. A future where we are not traversing systems of harm or living in economic oppression. This is challenging work, given all the ways that our individual and collective present can cloud our ability to see a future for ourselves and loved ones.
Of course, a pandemic creates uncertainty that makes imagining our tomorrows difficult, let alone envisioning our collective future a generation from now. This is to say nothing of the very real and very violent systemic racism — evictions, hunger, climate crises, state-sponsored violence — Black people endure that can make futuring seem impossible, absurd even.
This is not by mistake. Racial capitalism depends, in part, on us staying in survival mode, on our exhaustion preventing our dreaming.
But, Black folks do not have the luxury of allowing ourselves to stay in survival mode. We can’t let what will be, be. Dreaming begets believing. Believing begets acting and building. And action and building together beget transformation.
Imagining a beautiful future does not negate or distract from the current reality or current pain; it clarifies our destination, the tools and strategies to get there, and the crew we need to roll with. Our history is full of powerful dreamers, believers, doers — who seeded revolutions of expanded possibility and built our present. Futuring is a muscle we cannot afford to let atrophy. And the future is indeed ours to see and shape.
This February, we invite you to join us in remembering that we deserve to dream, to imagine, to manifest a Black future. We will offer modest practices to create more comfort with futuring, lower the stakes on planning, and build our futuring muscle memory. We hope that you’ll share your responses, musings, and resources with us and with your circles and networks. Open your next video call with a prompt that moves you. Or, share your favorite exercise with a friend or family member — you might be surprised by their response.
“Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us.”
— James Weldon Johnson, “Lift Every Voice and Sing”
What will we carry into the future?
Follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #BlackFuturesMonth.
Connie Razza is the executive director of the Social & Economic Justice Leaders Project.
Solana Rice is the co-executive director of Liberation in a Generation and Liberation in a Generation Action.