The Womanist Working Collective is a radical grassroots social action and support collective for Black folks of marginalized gender experience, specifically women (trans* and cis), femmes, and other gender expansive folx. While this language will never be enough to encapsulate all of the Black folx we center, we want to be clear that we affirm the full breadth of Black gender expansiveness and explicitly reject cissexism. Our Community of Practice unapologetically centers our Quality of Life and livelihoods through Community Organizing, Mutual Aid and Holistic Wellness.
1. To exist as a supportive and empowering community network to shift Black womyn & femmes in moving past merely surviving, but thriving; Prioritizing physical, emotional, moral and social safety (or using trauma-informed care practices/Healing Justice Frameworks); Centering the overall health and wellness of our members and extended community.
2. To transition ourselves and our communities into an Ecologically Just* society. This umbrella concept encompasses bringing balance to the environment(s)/ecosystems we live in, ending social inequality (racial justice, economic justice, gender justice, reproductive justice, environmental justice, etc.) and dismantling oppressive governing structures guided by Imperialist White Supremacist Capitalist CisHeteroPatriarchy
*[Ecologically Just] Ecological justice (JUSTICE BASED ON APPLIED KNOWLEDGE OF HOME) Ecological Justice is the state of balance between human communities and healthy ecosystems based on thriving, mutually beneficial relationships and participatory self-governance. We see Ecological Justice as the key frame to capture our holistic vision of a better way forward.
3. Black Liberation which improves our overall society at large.
Established in October 2015 as an affinity group on Meetup, we began gathering as a group of likeminded Black women & femmes. Responding to our almost immediate growth and increased membership, we held our first strategic planning retreat in January 2016 and collective-wide data collection to gather vital feedback from our membership. From this survey and on-going evaluations, we began to shape and expand what was quickly evolving into an intentional Community of Practice centering livelihood and Quality of Life for Black womyn, transwomen, femmes and gender variant folks. Today, we continue building around the needs and feedback from our members to achieve our ultimate goal: Black Liberation!
Our overarching purpose is to improve Black women and femmes Quality of Life by dismantling These Interlocking Systems of Oppression, which we’ve identified with the help (read: text/work) of bell hooks, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw and the Combahee River Collective as the Imperialist White Supremacist Capitalist CisHeteroPatriarchy. Through our work, we want to shift the reality and culture of how society holds, supports, protects, funds, heals and educates Black women, femmes and girls while we’re simultaneously developing for ourselves the tools and language to thrive against these interlocking systemic oppression reinforced by the local social determinants impacting us daily (i.e. Neocolonialism's Gentrification, Capitalism's poverty, White Supremacy's Racism, Cissexism's Transphobia, Heterosexism's Homophobia, Patriarchy's Misogynoir.
Black women often know exactly what it is we need, yet we are rarely asked or listened to due to racism, sexism, classism, colonialism, cissexism, heterosexism, ableism and a variety of other factors informed by various systems of oppression which hinder our self-determination and quality of life. The convergence of these products of power and domination in our communities lead to social determinants such as our disproportionate mental and physical health disparities, gentrification/displacement, sex trafficking, interpersonal violence, abductions, sexual assault, police brutality, murders, workplace discrimination and Push-Out, unemployment and more. We need to build informed, participatory and grassroots community solutions to the issues Black women and femmes are facing in our neighborhoods, led by us and for us. Focusing on the community will allow us to share resistance, organizing and mobilizing strategies where they’re most needed to have a real impact on our material reality.
We believe the projects we develop or support externally can help change the reality of how Black women and femmes thrive in this country, but at the very least this should help improve conditions locally and currently.
Some of our most notable moments have been the launching of our collective wide Time Bank in 2017 (Reciprocity Community Time Bank); being published in the Grassroots Fundraising Journal’s Winter 2018 edition where we wrote about our newly formed divestment from Capitalism strategy; launching our first annual event connecting Black women therapist to Black women seeking support at the African-American Museum of Philadelphia event in summer 2018 (Healers & Helper’s: Therapy Matchmaking); being published in Black Quantum Futurism’s Space-Time Collapse II: Community Futurism book in 2019 speaking about Black Radical Traditions and community-rooted solutions; soft-launching our worker-owned cooperative to reclaim our labor by owning our own Means of Production on 01- 01- 2020 (Womxnist Liberation Co-op); Fundraising, delivering and feeding over 200 Black families twice a week for a month during Philly’s grocery store closure (Free Food Box Program); and completing our first circle of mental health grantmaking by providing $500 grants to pay for low-income Black womyn & femmes to therapy services (Black Liberation Therapy Fund).