Advocacy, Activism, & Peer Support through an Anti-Oppression Lens

Ebony Flint and Chacku Mathai

Historically, advocates and activists operating within a particular movement have focused primarily on the form of marginalization most closely associated with their work. In turn, those movements have often unwittingly participated in the perpetuation of marginalization of other groups either because they felt pressed into looking for an alternate scapegoat for their own survival, or simply because they didn’t recognize those experiences as intertwined with their own. Each group’s voice has also then been easier to ignore for all the missed opportunities to ally with others who are similarly fighting for justice and change in ways that might look different on the surface but are ultimately deeply related.

This presentation will explore the process of developing an anti-oppression lens that centers anti-racism while considering all forms of marginalization and how they compound one another. Panelists will share their experiences from life and work, as well as their strategies for cutting through people’s defenses and fears of being “bad” in order to open up dialogue. They will discuss power and privilege, all the ways it can show up in even the most justice-minded workplaces and movements, and what to do about that.

“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”’ – Lila Watson

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to identify at least two common components of all forms of systemic oppression in the workplace/movement work.
  • Participants will be able to identify at least two easy-to-miss ways in which privilege can show up in the workplace/movement work.
  • Participants will be able to identify at least two actions they can take in their respective workplaces/movement work to use power and privilege to increase equity.