– Kirsten Alfaro, 2021 SAF Cosecha fellow
“Am I present? Did I finish what I said I was going to finish? I wish I could be like them. What if people think I’m a complete fai--"
Big Issue: Life is hard. Leading is hard. It’s messy, it’s complex, it’s human.
I’m HUMAN!!! I’m realizing more and more that I am deserving of time for myself and for my family. Time to heal. Time to reflect. Time to be intentional. Time to act. Time to practice praxis. With my teams, with my partner, & with myself. To think of myself as undeserving is to continue to perpetuate and contribute to white supremacy culture. If I do not take care of myself and give myself time to develop or heal – then how am I showing up for the families I work with? How am I showing up for my community?
While I participated in this fellowship, I’ve been exploring what it means (to me) to dismantle oppressive systems. From these past 5 months, I have learned that a big part of that starts with dismantling my own oppressive behaviors – of others & myself. I am unkind to myself. I overwork myself. I’ve “learned” that my worth is measured by my output. After college and after my first fellowship with SAF in 2018, I fell into the trap of capitalism and white supremacy culture that we are all swimming in. Always working for “perfection,” consistently allowing work to sneak into family time (& me time), telling myself that “I’m on salary – sometimes that means working more than 40 hours” (except that sometimes is now every week). The work is never done. My day-to-day tasks, the daily micro-aggressions, the additional emotional and spiritual labor that is glanced over as a natural expectation from me.
All of this to say…this fellowship has given me the lens to better see, and identify (within myself, within my work, within my community) how smoothly and quietly white supremacy flows. Sometimes my revolution is my existence, and sometimes my revolution is my direct pushback in the moment that starts with “I’d like to challenge that.”
I’ve missed learning and unpacking. I’ve missed having intentional conversations with other people who are in agreement with me in that “this” is what we’re doing (i.e. we are both present, inquisitive, and participating). This fellowship has provided the space for myself and my peers to explore, unpack, unlearn, and then collectively relearn. I will forever be grateful to SAF, my cohorts, and my mentors in SAF.