Our February Film Festival concludes this Wednesday, February 24th @ 7:00 p.m. CST.  Our screening this week is “Rising Power:  Building an intersectional justice movement in the United States.”  

In an increasingly polarized and racially segregated United States, we see the impact of patriarchy through the eyes of Black and Southeast Asian activists living in Madison, Wisconsin. Against a backdrop of anti-Blackness, violence against women, and increasing social and political polarization, we meet M Adams and Kabzuag Vaj, community organizers and co-directors of Freedom, Inc.

What began as a sexual assault support group has grown into a community organization at the forefront of battles over education reform, police brutality, land access and ownership, women’s safety and security, and mental health. In this Fundamental episode, Kabzuag says “Freedom, Inc. exists because there were no organizations serving women like me.”

With Freedom, Inc. Kabzuag and M have cultivated a movement that invites women of color—in particular, Black, Hmong, and Khmer women, girls, queer, and trans people—to tie their own rights to one another. Freedom, Inc. works to equip the communities they serve with the tools and resources they need to uproot our broken system and ultimately build a roadmap toward shared liberation.

Most Americans say it’s now more common for people to express racist or racially insensitive views. Additionally, 2019 saw the most deaths of transgender or gender non-conforming people in the U.S. due to fatal violence, the majority of whom were Black transgender women.

In this Fundamental episode, we learn about grassroots movements led by women and gender non-conforming people of color who confront oppression and patriarchy in the U.S. It highlights the ways people from different backgrounds experience discrimination and focuses our attention on the importance of not placing issues in silos, but instead recognizing how systems of oppression intersect and overlap.

Movements addressing one form of oppression must take others into account. For example, efforts to fight racism must include addressing homophobia, classism, and anti-Semitism, and work to eliminate gender disparities must acknowledge how women of color experience inequality and prejudice differently from white women.

INTERSECTIONALITY: The interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage. The term “intersectionality” was coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, a civil rights activist and legal scholar.

Nothing changes if we don’t talk about it.  

Be bold.  Be Daring.  Be AWE-dacious!