Here is what changemaker, attorney, and healer Rachel Ricketts said at the beginning of our conversation about her new book, Do Better: Spiritual Activism for Fighting and Healing from White Supremacy:
“I believe that our ancestors walk into every room and engage in every conversation that we have, whether we are aware of it or not.”
When Rachel said that, I felt stunned and suddenly more in my body and alert. I also felt a sense of what I can only call the presence of ancestors, both Rachel’s and mine.
We then proceeded to talk about, in Rachel’s words, “having a fulsome acknowledgment of our history, about all of the ways we have benefited from and been harmed by our ancestry.” And how racial justice work is grief work, how it requires the surfacing and confrontation of inherited traumas, and how this work holds the potential to create healing across time and space.
* Her definition of spiritual activism as “daily, active, ongoing, anti-oppressive thought, speech, and actions that are informed, often, by a connection with something bigger than us”
* Guidelines for engaging in a spiritual practice or tradition that originates in a different time and place such that we acknowledge and express our gratitude to the people who gave birth to the spiritual practices we value
* Why Rachel wrote her book Do Better to white women and for women who are Black, Indigenous, or Women of Color
* Some of the obstacles that arise for people when they begin to engage for the first time in the work of racial justice; in particular, wanting to be seen as “good people” and the need to “get it right”
* How tending to the needs of our own “wounded inner child” increases our capacity to tolerate the full spectrum of our human emotions—which gives us greater tolerance of others and the intensity of their emotional experiences
* Why Rachel doesn’t like “ally” as a noun but instead encourages people who are part of dominant groups to act in allyship in a way that is dynamic, ever-changing, and ongoing