East Point Peace Academy’s unwavering commitment to social justice, healing, and transformation can’t help but be deeply informed by the reality of the global climate crisis. We join countless organizations and initiatives that recognize that all of our social justice-oriented agendas — not to mention our very lives — depend on our planet’s life support systems. It is painful to do so, but we openly acknowledge, with recognition of our own complicity, that our extraction-based industrial growth civilization is rapidly destroying those irreplaceable life support systems.
In the face of this deeply unsettling situation, we endeavor to do what we can to bring about healing and transformation. We recognize that climate and social justice are inseparable, and we celebrate our unique opportunity to show up at that critical intersection in a meaningful, powerful way.
We’re at an exciting juncture. East Point’s longstanding prison-based training work in nonviolence, trauma healing, and restorative justice has begun to deeply influence our role in helping to build a national network of direct action teams positioned at the intersection of racial healing and climate justice. This yet-to-be-named network (check out the network’s zine here) is being launched by a coalition of changemakers from around the US, including key organizers and activists from the Possibility Alliance, Climate Disobedience Center, New Community Project, and East Point. The folks steering this project share the desire to bring a new spirit into direct action spaces — a spirit captured in a special phrase which you may have noticed is the name of East Point’s newest workshop offering: Fierce Vulnerability.
Within a wider movement that shouts “Shut It Down!” the yet-to-be-named network longs for direct action equally determined to “Open it Up!” The network seeks to harness a power far beyond what conventional marches, rallies, signs and slogans can offer, and to experience a life-affirming, militantly loving quality within the movement for justice and environmental sanity. The network longs to imbue activist spaces with deep silence, sacred song, bold risk-taking, soulful strategy, and revolutionary creativity. For this emerging direct action network, the phrase Fierce Vulnerability points to all of the above.
This exciting new initiative resonates deeply with East Point, and we are well poised to contribute to it. The inmates we work with at San Quentin and Soledad State Prison, and in the County Jail in San Bruno, have taught us invaluable lessons about the true meaning of Fierce Vulnerability, and about the deep transformation that can be brought about through its practice. We are overjoyed to serve as a bridge between those courageous men and this new network committed to two of our most central aspirations: racial healing and climate justice.