bell hooks writes, in the introduction of “Feminism is for Everybody,”: “More than ever before, I work to share the liberating joy feminist struggle brings to our lives as females and males who continue to work for change, who continue to hope for an end to sexism, to sexist exploitation and oppression.”
As I read this sentence, I couldn’t help but wonder: where is the liberating joy in abolitionist struggle? We should be joyous. We should feel better about the work we’re doing. But so often, we don’t. What are we doing wrong? Where is our joy in community? Where is our joy in working to create a world where everyone is valued? So often, we come off as the Angry Activists. Where do you find and experience joy in the work?
bell hooks continues:
“I work to envision ways of bringing the meaning of feminist thinking and practice to a larger audience, to the masses.”
This is a major goal of mine. I feel there are people, those with incarceration experience and their loved ones, who should and would embrace abolitionist thinking and practice if we would talk to them. Often times, we are talking to each other in a language that sounds foreign to them. I tell people, if a person needs a dictionary to understand your essay, article or book, they’re not going to read your work. Abolition is for everyone. But we have to remember our audiences. So many of us spend lots of time preaching to the choir. We write for other academicians or veterans of the movement. We need to make our messages intelligible to the masses, especially those most impacted. What can we do to effectuate this goal?