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4th of July Reflections

This Saturday marks July 4th, Independence Day, a day where Americans celebrate the USA’s Declaration of Independence in 1776, freedom, and liberty for all with barbeques and fireworks. The last time LLC reached out to our network about a holiday it was Juneteenth, the celebration of African Americans emancipation from chattel slavery in 1865. As the July 4th holiday approaches this year, and I think about the almost century gap between the declaration and emancipation, I’m reflecting on what this holiday means given how inextricably linked this day of freedom is to genocide, bondage, and exploitation, and how far we are from true freedom for all.  

As a nation, we are currently in the midst of an awakening related to racial justice. Now, there are some aspects of this awakening that are less than awesome; we’ve all received tone-deaf and/or self-serving emails or seen them on social media postings. I’m intentionally focusing less on that, despite the occasional snarky eye-roll, and more on how excited and humbled I am by the work folks, particularly BIPOC folks, are doing to usher in justice. I’m excited to be personally discovering, or perhaps, renewing my appreciation for the myriad innovative, imaginative, and messy ways to fight racial injustice.  Whether it is by protesting in the streets, exploring libratory education models, using ancestral traditions for guidance, and incorporating arts and culture to heal the wounds of oppression, the efforts of folks fighting for liberation leave me feeling buoyed. 

So I guess my biggest reflection is that our fight for liberation should mirror the liberation we are trying to achieve. Therefore, liberatory leadership needs to be broad, incorporating the many different ways people contribute to change, whether it be by founding organizations, building altars, advocating in philanthropy, whipping up trauma fighting tonics and tinctures, crafting policy, mobilizing communities or leading campaigns. 

At LLC, we are now challenging ourselves to think more expansively and rigorously about what liberation will require of the leadership development sector.  We are also beginning to work harder to push ourselves and the leadership development field out of our respective comfort zones. In the coming months, you may notice a change at LLC as we work to sharpen our language to articulate how the leadership development sector can work to decolonizing leadership, to proactively center equity, and to truly put into place real anti-racist practices with the goal of building movements and shifting power. We invite you to join us in the growth process.