The Movement: It Starts With A Song & A Boat

Baladé Black is a radical movement bringing forth, supporting and promoting indigenous wisdom, knowledge and technologies primarily by women of color and indigenous women, as a means to help all of us “go home” as our maestra Cherríe Moraga often instructed. Going home can manifest in many ways, very differently for each of us. But what it always means is: a return to true purpose, to a balanced path, to a socially just, ethical and balanced way of life.

We want to complement the work of other great movements by adding a dimension that builds our lives around the most powerful and efficacious principle of organization: purpose as the deepest articulation of the relationship to self, community, and nature.  We each play a necessary role that must be discovered, nurtured and honored. And it is in seeking to understand the roles themselves that we are most effectively directed towards creative, ever-evolving, balanced and just social systems.

#1-YOUR SONG

We decided to start by addressing what we consider to be the global root issue: people not knowing who they are or why they are here. Not knowing their purpose, their song. We believe that all violence and oppression ultimately stem from this place. For this reason, we believe that recovering our songs will help rebuild our communities in healthy and sustainable ways. We are working with elder practitioners to provide you with the tools and spaces that will aid in the recovery of personal and communal purpose.

#2-YOUR BOAT

The boat is the vessel, the enterprise, the organization, the system-come-alive by which you manifest that song. We all need a well structured boat with strategic direction. If you’re clear about your song, you can benefit from our boat-building approaches. We are working collaboratively on a system that moves from song to strategy to day-to-day tasks that help you build your boat one plank at a time, in community-- with the tide in mind. We hope to build a network of strategic radical consultants, coaches and entrepreneurs that can guide us in bringing about economic justice, balance and sustainability.

Not to be cliché, but a rising tide does raise all boats - and we’re invested in the Baladé Black tide. Which means…

#X- YOUR INFINITY

It doesn’t end here. We envision Baladé Black growing beyond this iteration to have mass-systemic impact through the creative arts, community organizing and empowerment, radical economics, technology, intellectual “property” and the like. “Going home” requires a multifaceted approach that realigns us with our path, with our communities and the natural world in both sacred and mundane ways. So this is just the beginning.

Walk with down deep with us.

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Leading the Movement: Women of Color and Indigenous Women Elders

Your Songs

We’ve convinced some elders, mentors, artists and teachers of color with culturally-rooted, ancestor-based and indigenous practices to create tools that help reveal individual and communal purpose (and ultimately, systems built around purpose). In fact, they are all women (for now) and many are queer (or lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, asexual, two-spirit). Why? Because they have learned to survive amidst a complicated intersection of systemic violence. Racism, classism, sexism, ableism, heterosexism, etc. And it is by virtue of being at this intersection that they are able to see most roads, relate to most strugglers, know most of our problems intimately, and carefully lead the development of the frameworks that will truly revolutionize our lives. In short: we believe that they are the most equipped to teach everyone how to live more justly, more healthily. Yes, everyone. And their wisdom is our gateway to a more sustainable life on this planet. These women are at the center of life, and it is from this center that the most effective wisdom is born.

Baladé Black is responding to the fact that these practitioners and advocates have been invisibilized, demeaned, abused, co-opted and even killed. Also, we (the founders) are queer women of color, ourselves, and these women are our elders. In fact, the first few are in our lives.

And, while fighting to exist as a community can be rewarding and quite lovely (note sarcasm), we are intentionally flipping the script. We refuse to fight alone. In fact, we don’t even need to fight at all. You’re (the rest of the world) the ones that need us --  because your life depends on it. You need us and our elders to help solve global crises with our exceptionally unique and holistic perspectives. Just as we need our Earth, not the other way around (she can do without us as has been proven through natural cataclysm - she is still here). Taking care of us is taking care of you.

This knowledge is available and its messengers (people of color, indigenous people, women, queer folk) are accessible by all who choose to respectfully re-envision a sustainable world. The recovery of the ways of our elders is key to life in general. They have long been the un-anointed, unrecognized leaders of sustainable, radical movements worldwide and we will work tirelessly to honor their rightful social place and acknowledge their power, publicly and economically.

YOUR BOATS

We intend on building a network of women of color and indigenous women entrepreneurs and organizers that will lead the way to just economic sustainability by building radical enterprises, organizations, and movements.

We, who live at the intersection of our broken social systems are, often, simultaneously the most visionary and equipped to provide more holistic solutions because we witness truth from the intersection.  We are also the the most restricted due to oppressive structures and lack of resources caused by the intersection.

Baladé Black will ensure that radical, marginalized entrepreneurs are provided with the support they need to help us all reach collective economic sustainability.

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Our Model: Our Enterprise

We are working to understand, test and implement alternative economic structures and entrepreneurial models. In fact, our boat building approach is the beginning of that practical investigation. What does proper compensation look like? What is a good wage as we transition into more sustainable economic structures? How do we redefine wealth all together? What are the systems we need to transition to, as lead by indigenous women and women of color? How do we circumvent outdated forms of intellectual property without turning private, sacred knowledge into an all-access-multi-culti soup and falling back into a capitalistic trope? How do we properly remunerate our elders (and their communities) for what is generally communal knowledge? Yes, we are thinking about all this. But we’ve garnered enough courage to act (by thinking&doing vs. just thinking) and we hope you are patient enough to see us through.

ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY

Economic sustainability is at the heart of all liberation movements. Baladé Black wants to help build radical social and economic structures organized around the concept of purpose, co-lead by the most marginalized, and rooted in the remembering/recovery of indigenous knowledge. So, keep reading to see what happens to the money you spend with us...

ONE: SUPPORT AND SEED RADICAL ORGANIZATIONS & ENTERPRISES

We want to provide seed funds and strategic guidance to radical organizations and enterprises that don’t traditionally get noticed or supported. We want to help the most marginalized build their radical organizations and enterprises (read more through “Build Your Boat” - coming soon). Note: Baladé Black is a radical enterprise, and therefore will also be funded and supported through its own efforts and services. Our model will be clarified as it evolves.

TWO: SUPPORT AND SEED ELDERS / INDIGENOUS PRACTITIONERS

The recovery of indigenous and ancestral knowledge starts only with the social and economic support of our most marginalized elder practitioners who have learned, preserved, redefined and passed-on their work as a way of life. For this reason:

  1. We help elder practitioners build radical enterprises and ensure proper compensation for their services

  2. We work to ensure that their knowledge is shared ethically

  3. We highlight their central and leadership positions in the movements towards just and sustainable social structures

THREE: SUPPORT RADICAL SOCIAL MOVEMENTS

We want to provide support to social movements that complement our mission and vision. A part of our funds will be dedicated to radical organizations and community efforts in pursuit of justice, particularly those that utilize purpose-driven systems, promote and preserve indigenous knowledge and work to empower our most marginalized.

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Walk down deep with us

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