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Our vision for Restore Forward is one of radical reconciliation, and of liberation of all people from all forms of harm. The etymology of the word repair is reconciliare (Latin) defined as “restored relationship.” We claim this cultural need for reconciliation, for alignment and symmetry, for all that has been rent in ourselves, our families, our communities, and our earth. 

 

The work of repair is critical in this historic moment. After the uprisings and violence of 2020, we have designed Restore Forward to be the next step for racial reconciliation and healing in the United States. To be reconciled, we must have space to reflect, ask for forgiveness, and commit to doing differently. Restore Forward will be the centrifugal force for this transformative, reparative work. Our dream is to eventually establish Restore Forward reconciliation centers across the world, facilitating a globally grounded constellation of healing and recovery. 

 

Our Pedagogy of Tenderness marks a radical evolutionary shift from a self-centered existence to a life lived from the realization of collective belonging.  Tenderness is cultivated by a willingness to be open to suffering, and to acknowledge the ways we’ve caused suffering in our world. Restore Forward will be a safe place to remember again what it is we have loved, and how we are all called to the transformative work of sacred repair, action and healing.


In Indigenous spiritualities, identity and connection to community are intimately tied to land. This belief is reflected by Bill Neidjie of the Bunitj clan of Australia who writes, “Our story is in the land ... it is written in those sacred places. Rock stays, earth stays. I die and put my bones in cave or earth. Soon my bones become earth...all the same. My spirit has gone back to my country ... my mother.”  An interconnectedness with the land and the natural world is a lived experience, as natural and inevitable as childbirth and death. Just as reconciliation is an act of healing, so it is an act of convening and coming together. Restore Forward will serve as that sacred center to gather, to mend and to flourish.

The ancient African Zulu phrase of Ubuntu, meaning 'humanity to others' reminds us that 'I am what I am because of who we all are'. Ubuntu or "Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu", which literally means that a person is a person through other people has its roots in humanist African philosophy, where the idea of community is one of the building blocks of society.  African-Americans in the U.S. and throughout the Diaspora continue to draw upon this phylosophy in sustaining peaceful relationships to each other and the planet. 

 

Black Women's Blueprint continues to draw upon African spiritualites, identity and connection to community in its articulation and practices of traditional restorative and reparative justice, like Gelede, rituals that allow one to ask for forgiveness and make amends to the primordial mother (the earth or the representation of the ancient mother in those harmed). Gelede integrates a celebration that involves dance, the arts, and music from all around Yoruba society and pays tribute to female creative and mystical powers from ancestors, elders and deities and women known as our mothers.

Building upon the work of Black Women’s Blueprint (BWB) in convening a Truth and Reconciliation Commission over the last decade, we are expanding our mission to foster human connection across differences; forge paths to peace, holistic reconciliation, social, economic and environmental justice. We are allowing land to facilitate our healing in a mutual process we're calling "healing land healing women" in upstate New York,. BWB is launching Restore Forward, as we envision it will be a Reconciliation Center co-created with collaborators yearning to engage, fashion, and embody new, innovative communities responsive to the profound effects of injustice, violence, and exploitation on all women and all people.  

In 2020, we began this process of truth and reconciliation between Black and Native women. It is the formation of an exciting and powerful partnership in which we are breaking  ground and beginning to plant the seeds of a collective vision for a future.

The struggle to reclaim land by Black and Indigenous people needs a reckoning because North American land is unceded land. Undertaking this racial healing journey at Restore Forward ensures the restoration of what was lost through reconciliation between Black and Indigenous communities.  Moreover, the legacy of slavery lives on as  Black women are forced to navigate their placement within racial justice movements, their often drowned-out attempts to organize around their own material conditions, as well as theirs and their children’s lived experiences of abuse by state and private market actors alike. The UN CERD asserts in its General Comment No. 25 “consider how issues of gender are interlinked with race to only or primarily affect women, affect women in different ways, or to a different degree.” Embedded in our vision is knowledge gained as one of 176 leaders in WKKF’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation working group and funding for the Black Women’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Restoring wholeness in our children ensures repairing the generations of damage caused by racism so they  can use our blueprint to build peace, ensure land sovereignty and land justice, and practice equity, healing and reconciliation. 

 

The path to impact in reconciliation efforts begins with the immediate transfer of land to Indigenous women, intermediately resulting in the creation of intercommunal reconciliation processes and replicable model and effort by Black and Indigenous women in the U.S. and Canada to mobilize together. We will research emerging patterns and trends in hundreds of reconciliation commissions to determine the typological approach best suited to ensure replicability and impact. We will know we are successful when construction on the cooperative reconciliation center is complete, and Indigenous Nations are in peace building and reconciliation processes with Black communities in the U.S. and Canada.  

To become part of this incredible work, to support i or to obtain additional informtion please contact us:

Farah Tanis

Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director

Black Women's Blueprint

ftanis@blueprintny.org