icon icon icon icon icon icon icon


An image of two women smiling. One of them has her arm around the other.

A space for self-awareness, reflection, and growing critical consciousness

The Women Who Are No Longer with Us

Their histories

Their joys and sorrows

Their pain and rage

Their memories and omissions

Their laughter and tears

Their presence and absence

Their hearts

Their hopes

Their dignity

Their calendars:
The pages they were able to turn
The ones they left unturned and the ones left to us to turn

Their screams

Their silences

Yes, above all, their silences

Whoever you are, do you hear these women?
Who does not recognize him or herself in them?

Women who struggle
Yes, us

But above all, them:
Those women who are no longer here
But who are with us nonetheless

We do not forget them
We do not forgive those who took them from us
We struggle for those women, and with them

—translated from Indigenous Zapatista Women, March 8, 2021



Writing down our private thoughts to prompts is one way of becoming more aware of our place in work or the world.

Questions for Individual Journaling

  • How did the people who raised or cared for you growing up and their people get to the place where you were raised? Or if your people have always been there (indigenous people), how did others reach your community? What’s one strength and one thing that holds you back from your heritage, however you define it?
  • What did those who raised you do for a living / do to survive and provide for you?
  • When did you first learn all was not right in the world?
  • What did your ancestors and those that came before you do to get through hard times?

Questions from The Empowerment Manual, Starhawk (PDF)

Questions for Organizational Reflection or Journaling

  • What are the norms of your organization (e.g. dress, language, etc.)?
  • What parts of yourself do you bring into your organization? What parts do you leave behind?
  • How do these norms serve you, and how do they hold you back?

Listening and Action

The following exercises are intended to generate dialogue and help us learn from others, ultimately spurring action. They can be done alone or in a group.

Homework Assignment 1

Who are your people? Whose shoulders do you stand on? 

  • Find a quote or image that helps you recall or represent them.
  • Draw, collage or write about one person you see as an ancestor.

For inspiration, see the website of Alexis Pauline Gumbs, which features some of her collages.

Thinking about your personal histories. 

  • What is a legacy from your people that you would like to keep?
  • What is a legacy you would like to break away from?
  • What is a legacy that you hope to repair?

Homework Assignment 2

Read the “Undoing Privilege” Handout by Starhawk, (pp 57-59, PDF) and the “Madness and Oppression Guide” (PDF) by the Icarus Project.

In what ways do you experience privilege?  

In what ways do you experience oppression? 

  • How does privilege / oppression affect how you feel and behave? Your health and well-being? And the way you perceive yourself?
  • How does your body react to microaggressions?
  • What are social consequences of privilege/oppression that you experience?
  • How do you cope with the impact of oppression? How are you working to use your privilege?

Homework Assignment 3

Conduct an organizational Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and
Threats (SWOT) analysis by answering the questions below:

  • Where does your organization sit in relation to capitalism, colonization, or resistance/liberation?
  • Think about threats and opportunities: who are the players shaping the realities where you work?
  • Think about your own organization:
    • What is its relationship to institutional power and privilege?
    • What kind of organizing does it support or engage? (e.g. cadre organizations, mass-based organizing, etc.) For more on this, see Leftroots.net, which discusses organizing strategy.  
    • What are its strengths and weaknesses: What is the constellation of players you are connected with and influence?
    • How would you want to see your organization intervening? Where does it intervene now?


Read and reflect more upon the histories of where you and your people are from. What patterns or themes do you see?

In “Forced Resettlement: The Lasting Legacy of Colonization for Cambodians in the U.S.,” Nathaniel Tan reflects on his own histories, for example.

Other readings on how oppression and privilege can be reflected within organizations: 

Please help us grow this section by making suggestions. 

Explore the Toolkit

Part 2: Listen

Build awareness of our own position in society, and it impacts on our realities. Read More

Read More

Part 3: Resist

Resist oppressive systems and practice self-accountability. Read More

Read More

Part 4: Act Bravely

Take brave actions toward transformative futures and collective liberation. Read More

Read More