Exploring our Origins as a Decolonization Practice

In 2018, Whose Knowledge? co-founders Adele Godoy Vrana and Siko Bouterse began a process of exploring their ancestries, beginning with retelling their own family stories in the context of race and colonization. When Siko’s father passed away, she wrote in order to process her loss, and this became an entry point for confronting her place in history. This inspired Adele to embark on her own journey of grieving the passing of her father by reflecting on the painful aspects of her own family history.

Today, as we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US, we share our stories online as a way to mark and honor the many communities that are working to dismantle white supremacy and systemic racism in the US and around the world.

As we collectively and globally experience the rampant growth of Anti-Blackness and different forms of hate and violence, including a recent attempted coup in the US led by white supremacists, we need to examine the history of our ancestors and our own participation or complicity in upholding structural power and privilege.

Looking at our pasts and ancestral histories, in order to locate ourselves in the present, can be an extremely painful but powerful decolonizing practice. We are called to take action and be responsible for what we are each doing to dismantle white supremacy and other forms of oppression.

Here is an invitation for each of us to reflect on: what kind of ancestor do you want to be?

Join us on this journey of reflecting on your own ancestry and the choices you are making today to define your place in history. Share your story on social media with the hashtag #ExploringOurOrigins and get the conversation going!

January 18th, 2021