Emotional Justice – We All Need It

2 Dec


The Immediate Need For Emotional Justice
Guest Post by Yolo Akili

Oppression is trauma. Every form of inequity has a traumatic impact on the psychology, emotionality and spirituality of the oppressed. The impact of oppressive trauma creates cultural and individual wounding. This wounding produces what many have called a  “pain body”, a psychic energy that is not tangible but can be sensed, that becomes an impediment to the individual and collective’s ability to transform and negotiate their conditions.

Emotional justice is about working with this wounding. It is about inviting us into our feelings and our bodies, and finding ways to transform our collective and individual pains into power. Emotional justice requires that we find the feeling behind the theories. It calls on us to not just speak to why something is problematic, but to speak to the emotional texture of how it impact us; how it hurts, or how it brings us joy or nourishment. Emotional Justice is very difficult for many activists, because historically most activist spaces have privileged the intellect and logic over feeling and intuition. This is directly connected to sexism and misogyny, because feeling and intuition are culturally and psychologically linked to the construct of “woman”, a construct that we have all been taught to invalidate and silence. So by extension we invalidate and silence the parts that we link to “woman” in ourselves: our feelings, our intuition, and our irrationality.

This disdain leads to many things: a dismissal or minimization of our own and other’s feelings, a fear of revealing oneself as “emotional” (instead of as sternly logical) and a culture of “just suck up your feelings” or shrug them off. All of these responses to our emotions have consequences that contribute to a range of emotional and spiritual stressors which impact our lives.  In this article I am going to focus exclusively on the reasons I believe activist communities struggle with emotional justice and why the integration of our emotional selves into our activist work can’t wait.

Reasons I believe activist communities struggle with emotional justice

1. Activist Organizations Are Often Over-capacity
Many grass roots organizations and non-profits operate with a small staff that is expected to complete herculean tasks. This expectation leads to fatigue, stress and emotional imbalance. Asking to add emotional justice discourse(s) to the workplace/organizing is seen as a waste of time when organizations are trying to survive and fulfill grant/monetary obligations with limited resources. Yet it is an emotional discourse that could offer many movements opportunities for self-evaluation, especially as it relates to perpetuating models of capitalist productivity that they are often seeking to end.  Regular guided dialogues and retreats must become a priority and should be led by outside consult. They can help build connections, clarify the mission(s) and re-invigorate the collective.

2. Emotional Justice Has No Succinct Time Line
There simply is no timeline that can be put on someone else’s healing. Within an emotional justice framework, someone is able to bring up their pain as they feel the need. Our patriarchal emotional discourses will push back against this, however, and  will instead encourage us to deny, dismiss, and move on as quickly as possible from difficult emotions. Engaging emotional justice requires us to check this attitude within ourselves and develop ongoing strategies that allow us to express our concerns and feelings.

3. Emotions are Used as a Tool for those with Privilege to Avoid, Minimize or Escape Accountability
In an experience working with a group of queers on a racism project, a white identified cis gendered woman in the group would constantly break into tears whenever someone challenged her on the choices she was making that perpetuated racist themes. Her crying, which happened in several sessions, led to the entire group, especially the women of color, to comfort and assure her that she wasn’t a “bad person.”
Yet in the midst of attending to her emotional expressions, she continued to evade accountability and perpetuated the same dynamics. When she was challenged on her use of crying, she was able to come to an understanding that as a child crying had been a tactic she had used within her family to avoid being held responsible. This awareness led to her participate in the space in a much more accountable manner.
Stories like these happen all the time. Unfortunately in most spaces there are not always individuals with the skills to compassionately address these kind of emotional dynamics. This lack of skill prevents many from engaging emotional justice for fear they will get lost in these issues. This another reason seeking the support of healing justice/emotional justice educators is necessary.

4. Very Little Knowledge of the Emotional Body or Emotional Language
What is a feeling? What are the lessons they offer us? How can they invite us into ourselves? These are the questions that emotional justice guides us toward. Emotional justice can help many begin to work with their feelings in constructive ways that can help the movement as a whole.
An example: If someone asks many activists, what do you feel? The response may be something like,
“I feel like we just need to hurry up and make this thing happen because they keep on trying. yaddda yadda.”
But that was not a feeling. That was a thought. A feeling is one word. The feeling for this statement could be: “I am anxious, or I am frustrated”. Aiming directly for the feeling, as opposed to the thought around it, can help save time and address deeper issues.  If feelings are continually confused as thoughts, then the intellectual debate process kicks in, and before you know it, we are battling for philosophical dominance instead of saying that we are hurt.

5. Lack of Self-Awareness into how our own unique Psychological Frameworks, Trauma and Social locations inform our Interpretation of Reality
Journeying into our own narratives and seeing how they inform our current understandings of others around us can be  invaluable in times of challenge.  There are many tools for this;  one in which I find very effective is Psychological Astrology; as it invites us to explore, whether we believe in Astrology or not, what our motivations are, what we need to feel emotionally satisfied, the root of our personality conflicts with others, and how we express our aggression. This exploration can help us recognize an area of difference that is predicated on the ways in which we psychologically experience the world around us, a recognition that can help us understand and hear each other better in conflict situations.

6. Ideological Violence
“We were often poised and ready for attack, and not always in the most effective places.  When we disagreed with one another, we were far more vicious to each other than the common originators of our problem. ” -Audre Lorde

It is apparent from Audre Lorde’s words that ideological violence was a big problem for her generation. Many years later it continues to be, as unproductive ego wars rage amidst our movement spaces.
These ego wars (or as many of my friends say, “intellectual dick fights”) are for many apart of the academic environmental training that encourages us to battle for philosophical dominance. While debate in itself is healthy and can be empowering, the challenge here is that this “training” is colored with patriarchy and a “power over others” construct. Tactics such as Interrupting, yelling, belittling each other, and personal attacks, are dynamics of patriarchal communication and must be seen as the acts of emotional violence that they are.* As this is acknowledged, steps must be taken to train and understand assertive communication and the myriad of cultural communication styles that allow us to express our hurt, rage and frustration in ways that minimize harm.

Emotional Justice is not anything new to our movements. It is already being enacted in many spaces and in organizations all across the country.  My hope in writing this is that this work is expanded, illuminated and raised to a level of importance on par with our intellectual critiques.  It is my hope that we realize that just as we must construct new systems and institutions, we must also develop new ways of relating with each other and to our emotional selves. These models of relating will call on us to develope skills and  to work with our feelings, our trauma and our pain. It calls on us to recognize that emotional justice is an immediate need, not only for our movements, but for the world at large.

Yolo Akili is an Emotions Educator, Performance Artist, Practicing Astrologer, Yoga Teacher and long time activist. He can be reached at Yolo@yoloakili.com


10.23.11 HeARTwork @ KmB’s Voices of Pilipino American History

18 Oct




Sunday, October 23, 2011
3 – 7pm
1740 W.Temple Street,
Los Angeles, CA

Presentations by:
Johnny Itliong, son of United Farm Workers founder Larry Itliong

Patricio Ginelsa, filmmaker whose credits include Associate Producer for independent film THE DEBUT, Director for the feature-length home-made movie LUMPIA and such music videos as Bambu’s “Crooks & Rooks,” Native Guns’ “Champion,” and The Black Eyed Peas’ “The Apl Song” and “Bebot”

The Fighting Cocks http://fightingcocksmusic.com/
The Black Noise
DJ Magic Marker

Visual Artists:
Manila Ryce http://www.manilaryce.com/bio.html
Stuter http://www.artslant.com/la/events/show/184235-flock-shop-presents-the-first-solo-art-exhibition-of-karlo-santa-ana-aka-stuter
Alfie Numeric http://alfienumeric.com/
LORALEI ROSE BINGAMON https://expressyoursoul.wordpress.com/about/
Anthony Thomas http://alightanddark.tumblr.com/






10.20.11 EmpowHERed Pinays Run This *-!

18 Oct

Come listen to some empowHERed pinays (including yours truly!) speak in honor of UCLA’s Kappa Psi Epslion’s Pilipino American HERstory Month. I’ll be speaking on art, community, and my journey to where I am today.

Other speakers include:

Tracy Buenavista: Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Asian American Studies at CSUN
Nenita Domingo: Lecturer in Filipino at the Dept. of Asian Languages and Culture
Daya Mortel: co-founder of SiGAw, current member of Habi Arts and  BAYAN USA Southwest regional coordinator & program director at Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center

Everyone is invited!


Oct. 20, 2011
7 – 830pm
UCLA Ackerman 2414

New Mandala Workshop by Loralei Rose @ FPAC 2011

2 Sep

Creating Your Personal Mandala: The Connection Between Self & Source

Sunday, September 11, 2011
Festival of Philippine Arts & Culture
@ Point Fermin Park, San Pedro
Babaylan Pavillion

What is a Mandala?

The word “Mandala” has its origins in Sanskrit and simply means “circle.”  The depiction of the mandala can be found in all religions and cultures as a circle, wheel, wreath, rotation, circulation, round dance, or just simply – dancing. (Mandalas for Power & Energy by Marion & Werner Kustenmacher)

Technically, a circle is defined by its center and a number of points that are the same distance from the center. As a religious symbol, the center of the circle is equated with God, the One, Source, etc. The circle itself represents our lives rotating around the center/Source which brings meaning to our everyday.

Join me at the Festival of Philippine Arts & Culture on Sunday, September 11, 2011 @ the Babaylan Pavillion @ 2pm to create your personal mandala. Using mixed media we will create visual representations of our lives rotating around the life-giving Source.

Hope you can make it out! It’s going to be a fun and inspiring day!

For more info on FPAC please visit www.filamarts.org

Join LOVEJOY for Heart Meditation & Collage Workshop with Loralei Rose!

10 Feb

Join LOVEJOY for Heart Meditation & Collage Workshop with Loralei Rose!.

As many of you may know, my friend Marie and I have started an endeavor called LOVEJOY. LOVEJOY is a space for people to get together, create community and engage in creative and holistic wellness practices.

Lovejoy has declared February Heart Chakra Month! As a part of this month, I will be conducting a heart meditation and collage workshop.

I invite you all to come and get your creativity on! It will definitely be a great night.

See flyer and link above for more info.

Event Info

WHEN: Wesnesday, Feb 23, 2011

WHERE: Casa de LoveJoy (Lakewood, CA)

TIME: 630pm-830pm

WHAT to bring: Bring yourself and a smile!

$10 suggested donation

contact getdownwithlovejoy@gmail.com for questions and to RSVP

02.04.11 Steady, Are You Ready?

4 Feb

Thank you to the STEADY crew for inviting me to come out to their event! I can’t wait to check out the scene and get to meet all the cool folks who wanna chillout on a Friday night. Hope you can make it! Info is below. 🙂

STEADY, are you ready?


DJ Amara
Josh Kane on live percussions


LOUNGE//Old school/hiphop/funk/breaks:
DJ Stoke

Art By:

Loralei Rose Bingamon :: https://expressyoursoul.wordpress.com/

NO COVER b4 10:30pm WITH RSVP to
STEADYsetgo@gmail.com (include full name plus # of guests)
$5 with no RSVP

Reserve your birthday/special event at STEADY for discounted bottle prices. Email above for details!

RSVP at:
(include full name plus # of guests)

01.13.11 Come Celebrate My Bday with Me @ LA Art Walk!

3 Jan


January 13th Derekstar has a big treat planned for the LA Artwalk @ the Harlem Street Cafe!  Come by for a good time and to celebrate my bday with me! ❤


What do you think of when you hear the words “Black Heart”? Well, it was a tricky one for us too! Please come down to Harlem Place Cafe on January 13th and see what our artists were inspired to create after we decided to work with this theme.

We will be a part of the Downtown LA Artwalk for the FIRST time! This is a big deal for us and we would love to have your support. Here’s what you have to look forward to…


Tayen Kim
Jerrell Conner
Kytia L’amour
Gilbert Hernandez
Tweedy Cudal
John Lawrence Cudal
Charmaine Genuino
Eloisa Hernandez
Kevin Morgan
Rodney Farol
Brian Paraiso
Ritchie Kong
Garrick Fujii
Julieann Quinto
Marlus Dos Santos
Marcus Newsom
Al Williams
Loralei Bingamon
Chris Jones
Sherwood Andrews
Sonia Godoy


Chrizle Reyes
Aaron Flores
Jonathan Blake Salazar
Denicar Bergancia
Daniel Donnie Flores
Kevin Yap
Evelyn Blanton
Blueprint Graffiti

More to come…

Making Progress

2 Jan

Here is a sneak peak at a new piece. I am still working on it, but you can see the final piece this coming Saturday! It will be on display and on sale Jan.8, 2010 at the Vintage Renewals Show Room Grand Opening/ Art Show. See my previous post for more details.

SHOW             01.08.11 @ 3pm-11pm

LOCATION 565 W. Second St. #2 Pomona, CA 91766 Arts Colony

Happy New Year Everyone! Hope to see you Saturday 01.08.11.

01.08.11 Vintage Renewals Showroom/Art Gallery Grand Opening Party

1 Jan





Break in the new year with some dope ART, MUSIC, AND FASHION.
Hope to see you this coming weekend!
Saturday, January 8 · 3:00pm – 11:00pm
Location 565 W. Second St. #2 Pomona, CA 91766 Arts Colony
More Info
Grand Opening Of Vintage Renewals Showroom/ Art Gallery/ Talent Showcase. 

The Vintage Renewals Showroom – Will be Opening not only to showcase the VintageRenewals Line, but Every Month we’ll be exhibiting up and coming talent for all over the world.

Vintage Renewals has been showcased on various blogs and websites, only available though Event Festivals and Promos as well as an online Boutique, Finally Vintage Renewals will be opening up a showroom for all to come!!

Fun for the whole family, this event will be the same day of the artwalk of Pomona, so there will be plenty to see.

First 100 Guest will receive free gift bags! Event will also be catered with food and refreshments

For info about the event ( for directions or being a vendor or part of the talent ) please contact Maria (626) 373-7615
or email Vintagerenewals@yahoo.com

vendors and artists:
black ops carbon fiber
eyeRONic Photography
L.A. Ridas
HeArtwork by LoraleiRose
Jose “Leader” Marchen
Dj Loops
Live Music Playing from MooVemeant Mgmt

TheShrimpGuys truck and Buttermilk Truck !!


HeArtwork on ETSY in Full Effect

1 Jan

It only took me over a year to post my first item up on Etsy, but i finally did it!

Not only can you go to my HeARTwork  ETSY STORE by clicking here. You can also access it through my FACEBOOK FAN PAGE  here.

I am so excited. I had to announce it.

Peep the Etsy for product description.


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