This week I have been thinking a lot about what change and progress look like for me and for my internship organization. In thinking about the goals of my organization–which are very much centered around social justice–I am both excited and hopeful at the possibilities, but it is also easy to feel overwhelmed by the worry of whether we are taking the most effective steps to reach such goals.
With the goal of making equitable maternal healthcare accessible to low-income families as well as black and brown folks, Ancient Song Doula Services wears many hats as a community-based organization. It is important to note that this lack of access to healthcare, resources, food, and housing stems from a much larger root cause: anti-blackness. Because of this, reaching our goal as an organization is not solely about providing resources to our communities, but also involves taking action around the systems and institutions that first put these barriers in place.
At Ancient Song Doula Services, we are constantly multi-tasking, taking on different roles, planning for community outreach events and reaching out to other organizations for support and/or partnerships. We are always looking for different opportunities to spread the word and collaborate with other social justice collectives because it is crucial to identify the intersection of different movements, whether it be birth justice, food justice, environmental justice, etc. It can be very stressful–especially for a small organization–to take on such a wide range of tasks, but this is why we stress the importance of collaboration and solidarity.
So, what does change or progress look like for me? Progress, I’ve learned, is very much rooted in, and driven by, coalition building and communal growth. Recently, my supervisor was a panelist in an event called “A Day of Solidarity” held at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, where the panelists engaged in a conversation around the recent policies regarding the separation of immigrant families and discussing ways to take action. One of the main things discussed was how crucial it is for communities to gather in support of each other, stand in solidarity as allies, engage in dialogue, and most importantly, listen to each other. Listening and trusting one another gives marginalized identities agency over their own narrative and experience. At Ancient Song, we often practice this is, as we not only hold events by and for the community in collaboration with other organizations, but also center our workspace around physical and mental wellness.
There is power in unification as it is crucial not only for the healing of marginalized identities, but also, in standing firmly against or for a movement and demanding action. This is progress.