Rest and Recovery: Hear from Erika Totten about her upcoming sabbatical and what we need to do to get Black women (and the movements they steward) the rest they need.
WHO: This online event is for people who want to hear from Erika about her journey to taking an extended sabbatical and how it mirrors problems of overwork and the fundamentally anti-Black way we fund and structure movement work.
WHAT: This Spiritual Talk will focus on both Erika’s personal journey to recognizing and planning for an extended sabbatical and the ways that her journey exposes the problems of how we fund and structure movement work.
Erika Totten and Aaron Goggans will explore:
- The lies we tell ourselves about rest.
- How the crisis of social reproduction means that the double or triple duty Black women perform at home is mirrored at every level of society.
- How taking a break from work responsibilities does not guarantee that people, especially women in caretaking roles, will actually get rest.
- How progressive philanthropy funds organizations and personalities in ways that actively thwart communal accountability, transparency and reasonable workloads thereby leading to systemic burnout and movement ecosystem collapse.
- The need for us to move towards community supported organizers and organizations and philanthropic supported structural change.
WHY: This is part of an ongoing series of talks about grappling with the current reality and aftermath of COVID-19 as a mass disabling event co-occurring with climate collapse. We, at the WildSeed Society, have seen first hand how actionable steps towards liberation are rendered impossible by the tattered emotional, spiritual, physical and financial health of individuals, organizations and communities.
In particular, we are witnessing flaws at the heart of our organizing model with the scandals and conflict in organizations like the Ibrahim Kennedy Anti-Racist Institution, BLM Global Foundation, Color of Change, Campaign Zero and M4BL. While the media is quick to call this problem a cultural problem within the Black community or a problem of Black leadership, we know that the real problem is structural and once again Black people (namely Black women) are merely the canary in the coal mine.
The personal is systemic. While we all have to take responsibility for our own healing journeys, true wellness is the function of systems operating appropriately - not the result of individual choices. At the same time, nothing can be addressed systematically until we all break our individual silences and allow what is collectively happening to be heard.
Please join us in this critical discussion - for ourselves and for our movements.
Erika Totten is the Light Guardian at the WildSeed Society. She’s a dynamic facilitator, pleasure activist, healer, spiritual life coach, and community builder from Washington, D.C. committed to the movement for Black liberation and the evolution of our collective consciousness. She is the founder and director of Unchained Visioning, a core member of Harriet's Apothecary Healer's Collective, and co-creator of Black Lives Matter: DC where she focuses on centering healing and visioning within activism.
From South Africa to Charlottesville, Erika creates and facilitates transformative healing spaces for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color of all identities to process racial stress and trauma, and to experience embodied liberation & collective Joy, in the midst of dismantling systems of oppression.
She is also a devoted wife and mother of two who organizes to build chosen families of health, restoration and radical love.
Aaron Goggans is the Dream Gardener at the WildSeed Society - where he builds movement infrastructure before people know they need it and helps them achieve things even he never imagined were possible. Aaron is writer, facilitator and organizer working within the Black Radical Tradition to support the Labor, anti-war and Black Liberation movements for almost 20 years.
The WildSeed Society is a political, spiritual and economic community that is inviting people to build a 21st century Underground Railroad together. We are building a series of refuges from the current exploitative world to new worlds where we all get to belong and be cared for - by focusing on Spiritual Liberation, Social Transformation and Economic Revolution. We seek to experiment and prototype our way into a new way of life - in community and in right relationship with the land.
The WildSeed Society is stewarded by a collective of movement veterans, spiritual teachers, and organizational development nerds. Many of the instigators of the collective were involved in the Black Lives Matter movement before starting WildSeed. It is inspired by the vision of futurist Octavia Butler of gifted misfits finding community together before transforming the world.
If you would like to financially support this work, please consider donating here.