Love Sets Us Free



I dedicated some time this weekend to studying Bobbie Harro’s “The Cycle of Liberation.” It’s a beautifully crafted framework that essentially conveys the following message:

“Though social change work can be overwhelming due to its complex nature, here’s a blueprint to combat these challenges.”

This cycle illustrates how each of us can contribute towards dismantling oppressive systems. The key takeaway from my reading is this:

If you truly desire freedom, these elements should form the foundation of both your work and your life:

  • Self-Love
  • Self-Esteem
  • Balance
  • Support
  • Security
  • Spiritual grounding
  • Joy

These qualities serve as the glue that holds our movements together. In the face of any adversity, whether in the legal sphere or on the streets, these fundamental values must never waver, or else our movements will crumble.

Harro regards liberation as a transformative process, one that requires these seven qualities. It is both an internal and external endeavor.

I cannot genuinely wish for your liberation until I, myself, yearn for it.

We all possess multiple identities shaped by our social groups, influencing how we navigate the world.

Our society is designed to constantly remind us, both consciously and unconsciously:

  • Who possesses privilege and who does not.
  • Who is considered beautiful and who is not.
  • Who is deemed deserving and worthy, and who is not.

Liberation reshapes our worldview. It challenges old narratives and facilitates the birth of new stories, languages, and leaders.

Love must be at the heart of this work. Without it, victory is unattainable.

The skills, strengths, and roots I have cultivated within myself are the very same ones I need to combat oppressive systems.

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I require courage to confront oppressive practices. I rely on community to challenge oppressive systems. I must continually question myself and others to combat these systems.

I have learned that we protect what we love, and I love myself.

I love myself.

While race is a social construct, I am not. I’m real, and I navigate oppressive systems that inflict financial, social, emotional, and psychological consequences.

This struggle is a daily reality for millions of people worldwide.

However, this struggle also facilitates healing.

The fight for liberation can be medicinal—it has the power to restore our health, strength, and well-being. It can fill us with affirmation and enrichment.

We needn’t feel hopeless, weary, or discouraged as we undertake this journey. By grounding our work in joy, support, community, and security, we will emerge victorious. This is vital for both individuals and organizations, ensuring sustainability in the long run.

As an act of rebellion, I am prepared to love myself. I am ready to love, protect, and defend you as an act of rebellion too. These core values govern our interactions as we undertake this arduous work and build a strong community.

So, I ask you:

  • What would it mean to participate in movements guided by these fundamental values, especially in our current society?
  • What would it entail to lead organizations firmly rooted in these principles?

We still have a long way to go, with many battles on the horizon.

But I am not tired; I am determined.

Let’s get to work.