6: Reimagine

“In my early life as an activist, marching in the streets, bullhorn to lips, I used the language of resistance….But the longer I spent listening to the stories of marginalized people, tending to their wounds, the more I heard a deeper longing—for a future where we were all safe and secure in our bodies, free to pursue our dreams, where our social, political, and economic institutions supported not just our survival but our flourishing. We could resist with all our might and never deliver such a future. We needed to do more than resist. We needed to reimagine the world.”

“Any social harm can be traced to institutions that produce it, authorize it, or otherwise profit from it. To undo the injustice, we have to imagine new institutions—and step in to lead them.”

– Valarie Kaur, See No Stranger, Chapter 6

Understanding Reimagine

A Practice of Love for Opponents

To reimagine is to explore a vision of a relationship, community, and world where we all flourish. It calls us to do more than resist or punish opponents; we must change the conditions that drive harm. Reimagining focuses us not on what we are fighting against, but the future we are fighting for.

  1. What is the role of imagination in loving opponents and fighting against injustice?
  2. How would you reimagine the world you want to live in? What does a collective reimagining of our world require of us? 
  3. What does a world, or a nation, rooted in revolutionary love look like?
  4. How can these visions of the world inform our actions and commitments in present time?
  • Protect our collective imagination: Find people around you and in your pockets of revolutionary love and create spaces where you intentionally reimagine the world you are fighting for. This may involve creating art or ceremonies, designing rituals, and/or journal writing, that remind you of the values and world you are fighting for, not only what you are fighting against. Join with others and let these visions guide your actions for justice.
  • Imagine, collectively, the world that you want to see. Be as specific as possible. What does this world look like, and feel like? What do systems of care, governance, justice, education, and healing look like? Follow the lead of women of color like Alicia Garza and the work of Black Futures Lab, to guide this visioning.
  • Work backwards from this vision: Who is already doing the work and how can we work with or alongside them? How will we care for each other while we labor, so that we all will last?
  • Learn from the examples and models of groups (particularly those led by women of color) who have been reimagining systems for generations. These include abolition movements, Indigenous movements for climate change, models of transformative justice, and disability justice. 
  • Read the works of visionaries and activists who model the power of radical imagination and action, such as Grace Lee Boggs, Angela Davis, bell hooks, Mariame Kaba, adrienne maree brown, Mia Mingus, and others.
  • Explore histories and social campaigns that place love at the center of their fight for justice. Know that the stories we tell about our histories are the ones that determine our lives and our futures. Commit to amplifying these stories and following their lead.
  • Reflect in your wisdom journal: Ask yourself: what is one institution that needs reimagining? An institution can be any structure or container that shapes your life and the lives of others; this may be a school, house of worship, workplace, your own home, or your own family. Choose one institution, listen to your own wisdom and reflect: What is my role in reimagining this institution?  What is the first step?