“We Are Growing Forward”

After five days at the Black Liberation and Community Development (BLCD) Workshop (in July­–August in Birmingham, England), I thought, “This was the best BLCD ever!” We people of African heritage can “fly.” We are building the BLCD “village”—a strong village, with beautiful women and men in connection with each other. It is about connection, hope, love, and strength. It gives us space to discharge our internalized oppression and to live the lives we want to live. We are moving forward—the BLCD gatherings are getting better and better.

Rachel Noble1 led the workshop—in a warm, humorous, and realistic way, with a strong connection with herself and with us. She first invited us to share something that was important to us about RC theory and something about our identity and background. We immediately felt connected with each other, a connection that stayed with us and was tangible throughout the workshop.

No men had applied for the workshop, so we were only women. We worked on reaching out to men, especially black men. I discharged about my relationship with the first man in my life, my father, and how caring and lovely he was. Our collective thinking lifted us up. We also discharged on our experiences from our different class backgrounds—poor, working class, and middle class. Rachel talked about capitalism and how it sets individuals and groups against each other. She also gave space to several other leaders to share their thinking and leadership:

Dorann2 talked about being allies to Jews and how anti-Jewish oppression operates. It was the first time I had understood how it works.

Jenny3 led a class on “mental health≠≠” liberation. As a former worker in the “mental health” system, I realized how oppressive that system is and how, in the absence of information, I had unintentionally been a part of the oppression.

Fela4 and Olivia5 led a class on internalized sexism. We were reminded that we always have the power to take our lives in hand6 and to go for7 the lives we want.

Alima8 led a topic group on oppressor material.9 It is painful to realize that we act this out.

I led a support group. We discharged on reclaiming our power and being fully female. I discharged on the pain of internalized sexism and on reclaiming my goodness.

We began each day enjoying sports and play, which helped us stay connected with each other. Then we worked on physical power, and rage and terror.

Yes, this was the best BLCD ever. We are growing forward.

Marlene Melfor
Amhem, The Netherlands
Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion
list for leaders of African-heritage people

1 Rachel Noble is the Regional Reference Person for Oregon, USA.
2 Dorann van Heeswijk, the Regional Reference Person for Surrey and London West, in England, and the Information Coordinator for Gentile Allies of Jews
3 Jenny Martin, the Information Coordinator for Black “Mental Health” Liberation Activists in England
4 Fela Barclift, the Regional Reference Person for Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island, New York, USA
5 Olivia Vincenti, the Area Reference Person for Islington to Barnet, in London, England
6 “Take our lives in hand” means be in charge of our lives.
7 “Go for” means pursue.
8 Alima Adams, an RC leader in Cambridge, England
9 “Material” means distress.


Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00