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Special Episode: Angela Davis on Hope and Healing from Domestic Violence

What gives you hope for the future? In her more than 40 years of activism, legendary author and activist Angela Davis has seen an extraordinary amount of progress and societal change. In this special bonus episode recorded during our live event at CalMatters in Sacramento, Ms. Davis sits down with Marc Philpart, Executive Director of the California Black Freedom Fund to talk about the intersection of domestic violence and systemic violence and what gives them hope that we can break the cycle and find liberation.

Finally, we close on a poem titled Rich Soil by Natalie Patterson, director of Training and Programs at BEAM — The Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective, about the power of healing.

Resources →

California Black Freedom Fund

Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective


Angela Davis

Through her activism and scholarship over many decades, Angela Davis has been deeply involved in movements for social justice around the world. Her work as an educator – both at the university level and in the larger public sphere – has always emphasized the importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial, and gender justice. 

Angela Davis is the author of nine books and has lectured throughout the United States as well as in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America. In recent years, a persistent theme of her work has been the range of social problems associated with incarceration and the generalized criminalization of those communities that are most affected by poverty and racial discrimination. She draws upon her own experiences in the early seventies as a person who spent eighteen months in jail and on trial, after being placed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted List.” She also has conducted extensive research on numerous issues related to race, gender and imprisonment. 

Angela Davis is a founding member of Critical Resistance, a national organization dedicated to the dismantling of the prison industrial complex. Internationally, she is affiliated with Sisters Inside, an abolitionist organization based in Queensland, Australia that works in solidarity with women in prison.


Bonnie Boswell

Award Winning Journalist & Producer

Bonnie Boswell is an award-winning producer/reporter, talk show host and speaker. Ms. Boswell is currently the executive producer/reporter of Bonnie Boswell Reports, a feature news series, and Bonnie Boswell Presents, a news magazine program, broadcasting and streaming on KCET/PBS SoCal.

Ms. Boswell is the executive producer of “Saving Moms” a feature length documentary on the challenges and solutions to maternal health in America broadcast. The program premiered on KCET and is on the PBS app.

She is also the executive producer of The Powerbroker: Whitney Young’s Fight for Civil Rights,” a film about her uncle that aired on PBS and was the inspiration for community dialogues in 100 venues across the country. First Lady Michelle Obama presented the film at the White House and called it “very moving and powerful.” The Powerbroker received critical acclaim from film festivals and reviewers in The New York Times, The Daily Beast, The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun Times and The San Francisco Chronicle, among others, and was a CNN, Saatchi and Saatchi and HBO finalist for Best Documentary.


Marc Philpart

Marc was named executive director of the California Black Freedom Fund in April 2022, bringing more than a decade of leadership in advocacy working with grassroots organizations to build power for racial justice. Prior to joining the California Black Freedom Fund, Marc led the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color. Under his leadership, the Alliance successfully advanced more than 100 state policies and established powerful partnerships with the California Senate and Assembly Select Committees on the Status of Boys and Men of Color and the California Funders for Boys and Men of Color. Through these experiences, Marc has gained deep campaign and policy expertise across a wide array of issues, including public health and violence prevention, police and prison abolition, education, the criminalization of youth, economic equity and poverty eradication, and voting and civic engagement.


Natalie Patterson

At the intersection of artistry and advocacy, poetry and practice, grassroots and global reach stands Natalie Patterson. She is a multi-disciplinary teaching artist with 20 years of experience, applying her skillset from the halls of juvenile detention centers to the boardrooms of international corporations, all while focusing on a simple yet powerful question: “What does it mean to be liberated?” Natalie proudly serves as the Director of Training and Programs at BEAM - The Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective, a national training, movement-building, and grantmaking institution dedicated to the wellness of Black and Marginalized folks. 

Blue Shield of California Foundation : [00:00:00] Please note, this series includes descriptions of violence that may be difficult to hear. At Blue Shield of California Foundation, we worked to end domestic violence by addressing its root causes: racism, gender, and economic inequity. This special podcast series explores what we can do in California to heal from and prevent domestic violence. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, you can find support at or call 1(800) 799-7233. Thank you for joining us. Welcome to a special bonus episode of Let's End DV: Heal Restore, Prevent. In this episode, Marc Philpart, the executive director of the California Black Freedom Fund, sits down for a heartfelt conversation with world renowned activist and author Angela Davis about the disproportionate impact of domestic violence on Black families, the Black community, and what gives us hope for the future. This conversation was recorded live during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. After the conversation, stick around to hear the poem "Rich Soil" by Natalie Patterson from BEAM — Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective. We hope you find inspiration from this fascinating exchange. We'll start by hearing from Marc.

Marc Philpart: [00:01:41] You know, this is a full circle moment for me. I lead the California Black Freedom Fund, but prior to that, I led the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, where we initially kind of stepped into this work in partnership with Blue Shield, trying to raise awareness about the myriad number of ways we could prevent and end domestic violence. Before I begin, I want to share a little bit of my story so you know where I'm coming from and what my experience has been with this issue and why it's so important to me. Because when we talk about domestic violence and the impact on Black women and families, I think it's important to understand it as part of a societal culture rooted in misogynoir and femicide. It's this culture that sets the context for violence and our systemic responses to it, which have largely failed to recognize the root causes of domestic violence, which are rooted in racism, heteropatriarchy, and are compounded by savage poverty and inequality. My story with domestic violence began on November 1st of 1965, in downtown Los Angeles, where my mother's mom, Lorena Thompson, a grandmother I never knew was murdered by her second husband. Shortly after my mom and uncle entered primary school, Lorena divorced my grandfather and started dating. Within a year, she remarried and found herself in an abusive relationship, and in two years she was dead. As the primary caretaker of two young children who were also being abused, Lorena feared for her life and theirs. She felt trapped and one day she found the courage to leave, but he chased her. His pursuit was terrifying and disrupted her ability to work and move about freely in ways many of us take for granted. His relentless stalking and abuse was unyielding and premeditated. One day he confronted my mom, who was a seven year old at the time, on her way home from school. Gloating, he showed my mom a pistol and said, this is the gun I'm going to kill your mom with. Days later, Lorena was gunned down by by him while waiting in an unemployment line seeking work so that she could provide for my mom and uncle, just seven and nine years old at the time. This traumatic moment tore our family apart and permeated my mom's relationship, decisions, and experiences with violence. She wasn't comfortable sharing this story with me until her late 40s. When I reflect on my grandmother's tragic murder, I believe it could have been prevented. I ask myself a lot of questions. What happened to this man that made him so angry that he had to kill my grandmother? And recognizing that people don't just wake up with rage like this, there were likely many prior signs. There were likely many moments where intervention could have happened. Many moments where he could have been supported and engaged before his rage turned lethal. But none of that happened in a real, meaningful way. And my grandmother faced a false choice. Live on the street with two children, or risk it all by seeking work when it was clearly not safe for her to be out in the city with a stalker who was threatening her life. When you're in fear for your life and caring for children, what do you do? And more importantly, what should our systems do? It was clear to me from my family's experiences and looking at the data, that our society is too heavily invested in systemic responses that are not rooted in cultural realities, not rooted in the cultural realities of our communities, that are punitive rather than healing centered. That are inadequate when it comes to countering a culture of racism and violence. And ultimately, we spend way too much on these things. We spend way too much on child welfare. We spend way too much on police. We spend way too much on prisons, and not nearly enough on all the things that will actually prevent violence or interrupt cycles of harm, or help people heal from trauma. Without investing in these things, it's not possible to have a culture of safety. Today, we wanted to unpack these complex issues and discuss opportunities for lawmakers and funders to take action. And to start, we're going to begin with Angela Davis, acclaimed activist, author and champion for Black freedom and liberation. Angela, please join me. Angela, thank you for joining me to have this conversation. You have been such an inspiration to me. I consider myself a feminist. I know for a lot of people it's hard to digest that because I do also identify as a man. And I think that it's that kind of understanding, though that is necessary for so many of us as we think about how we end violence. I wonder if you could talk a little bit about that. You recently wrote a book, "Abolition. Feminism. Now." and I wonder if you could just share a little bit of light on why it was important for you to write that book.

Angela Davis: [00:07:16] This is such a difficult issue, and I can begin by saying, when I first became aware of domestic violence, gender violence as a political issue in the 1970s with the speak outs and, you know, all of the kind of feminist formations that were occurring at that time. The first question that was tackled was the question of silence. You know how we're talking about a form of violence that has been in most human societies for hundreds of years, and we also learn how to hide it, because somehow it's represented as the problem of the survivor. And and so it was actually quite exciting during that period that formations were developing. You know, there were also problems because there was a tendency to assume that when you worked on women's issues, you were working on white women's issues, and we did not yet know how to break out of that, you know, kind of racializing universalizing framework. I mention this because the very first anti-rape organization I really knew about and embraced, and you know sexual assault is a part of gender violence and domestic violence, and it was an organization in DC that Loretta Ross was involved in. And then shortly after that I heard about this amazing development in connection with that organization, which was a group of Black men.

Marc Philpart: [00:09:26] Yes, Men Can Stop Rape.

Angela Davis: [00:09:29] Yes, yes. And so I remember thinking at the time, wow, this is the future. This is what we're going to be experiencing, you know, over the next period. So I assume that there would be vast numbers of groups, formations, organizations that would involve men who are determined to get rid of, of violence, gender violence, sexual violence, domestic violence. And that didn't really happen. And I've asked myself over the years, you know, was it just that they were imagining a future that would come many, many decades later? Or what was it about the way in which we presented that issue that disallowed that kind of development? Men who, people who identify with men, are largely the perpetrators of this violence that we're talking about. So it would make sense that they would be the ones to be in the forefront. But of course, it's always been considered a women's issue. You know, I wrote a book some years ago called Blues Legacies and Black Feminism. And one one of the reasons I wrote that book was because in listening to Black women blues singers Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, and so forth, Ida Cox, Rosa Henderson, and so forth, I noticed that many of them sang about violence. They sang about what was happening to them in their relationships. But we periodize that movement as happening in the 60s when when women who were largely white began to develop, you know, what was really important, these speak outs and encouraging women to talk about what had happened to them. I just, you know, wanted to I wanted us to have a sense of how long it often takes for these ideas to make a difference. You know, we want to see immediate change. And I say this because when you're talking about policy and you're talking about funding organizations, oftentimes they want to know what will be the immediate consequences of doing this. What is your what is your one year outcome? You know, what is your five year outcome. But nobody ever talks about, you know, what is your 50 year outcome. And and we're gathered here today discussing an issue which was first, which first became a part of public discourse over 50 years ago. And as a matter of fact, this is the most widespread pandemic form of violence in the world.

Marc Philpart: [00:12:55] Literally, you could walk in the Capitol and you could talk to a member, just say it's a man. And I'm saying this because I've had this experience where I've said, we want you to, we want you to to support investing in domestic violence. We want you to support this budget request. They say, I don't do that. That's that's a women's issue. Talk to the Women's Caucus. And and, you know, say you get this proposal further along. It is exactly the same thing that you described where people are saying, well, what are we buying with this investment? How much violence will you will you abate? You know, like it literally becomes reduced to the things that are actually incredibly difficult to measure. And we then lose sight of this 50 year vision of building up the infrastructure that we need to have such a the robust kind of prevention ecosystem that is required to to actually see those reductions in violence that we want. We have to disrupt timing and how people think about time, probably do more to invest in ideology around violence prevention and the long term vision. And we need to find ways to cultivate unlikely allies and champions in ways that allow them to see themselves in this story.

Angela Davis: [00:14:29] Absolutely.

Marc Philpart: [00:14:32] But I have so many more questions for you beyond beyond this, because I feel like you have seen how movements have done some of this in a way around violence in particular. I mean, while it hasn't become what I think we want it to be, it has still grown by leaps and bounds, in part because of black feminists who have really stepped in and tried to drive the field to a direction that aligned with their experience. Can you share more about just what you've seen as someone in the ecosystem? On the evolution of the field of violence?

Angela Davis: [00:15:16] When I think back to my own childhood and the lack of a capacity to understand that something needed to be done and something could be done. I'm very fortunate in my family, our immediate family. We did not have direct experiences, but I can I can remember many, many stories, friends and and relatives. I can remember at that time just feeling absolutely incapable of doing anything because the discourse, the available discourse, was that this was just a natural phenomenon. This was just something that existed, and nothing could really be done about it except to find solutions involving escape, but not changing the frame, not, you know, challenging whether violence was necessarily a part of human relationships. And when I compared that period to today, we have made a progress that would have been unimaginable then. You know, I think about, you know, back in the 90s, when I was when many of us were doing organizing around critical resistance, and we first began to do abolitionist, you know, organizing, you know, I can can remember that we felt that it was so important to incorporate our political insights regarding domestic violence, that it was connected to state violence. And sometimes people are really unwilling to enter into these big conversations because it appears that nothing can be done. You know, I can remember that women who were in prison. Were describing how they felt as prisoners of the state and the violence they experienced, and about them saying that this doesn't feel very different from the violence I experienced at the hands of my former partner. You know, I can remember I worked with an organization in Australia, and that organization developed a campaign that was called Stop State Sexual Assault. Wow. They were talking about the violence that is inherent in strip searching and cavity searching. That was a very enlightening moment. But of course, we have a hard time thinking about the state as perpetrator. Yeah, I think I think that while we may not be able to affect those changes immediately, it is still important to have that kind of insight because it helps to dictate what kind of strategies that we what kind of strategies we use you know, right now in the work that we do.

Marc Philpart: [00:18:49] And I really appreciate that framework because it actually turns us back to the root causes of violence, and it puts the state in a position where they need to be accountable for how they're creating the this dynamic, where violence may disproportionately occur in any given community by virtue of poverty and inequality, state violence, or what have you. I don't think we do enough of that in our conversations with lawmakers to help people understand the nature in which our our communities exist in is actually creating more, we're creating more violence than we can prevent.

Angela Davis: [00:19:38] And oftentimes, those who are charged with the goal of protecting people from violence end up being the perpetrators. You know, why is it that there's a disproportionate amount of domestic violence in the homes of people who work as police officers? And these these are questions that we're often unwilling to take on because they totally unsettle our sense of what should be happening in our societies. But if we don't do it, we're bound to witness the reproduction generation after generation of these forms of violence.

Marc Philpart: [00:20:29] I really appreciate this because it is challenging on so many fronts. There is a point in "Abolition. Feminism. Now." where there is a quote about asking the other question, if Mary Matsuda. Yeah. And she talks about how if you see patriarchy, ask the other question, which is is there classism? If you see racism ask the other question, is there a patriarchy? We need to do more of that. We need to do more challenging of ourselves. We will often have a critique from one lens or perspective. It is so much richer to be thinking more intersectionally as you are encouraging us to do.

Angela Davis: [00:21:21] And based on the work that we do today. If we kind of lose that that terrible individualism that unfortunately characterizes the way we we we see the world, the logic that we use, if we can, if we can recognize that we are only here gathered in this room today by virtue of the work that people did 150 years ago, knowing that their work could possibly change the future, but not knowing the specifics of it. As a matter of fact, people who were fighting against slavery, I don't think they assumed that things were going to change like immediately, but it was about a different future for those whom they would probably never get to to meet. And I think that that kind of awareness of the possible impact of the work we do today can change our relationship to that work.

Marc Philpart: [00:22:29] Angela, this is such a beautiful point to end on. What gives you hope about the moment we're in and the future that we might create?

Angela Davis: [00:22:37] Well, you know, as Mariame Kaba said, hope is a discipline. I'm you know, I've been active for a very, very long time. I mean, I won't I won't tell you. Maybe I will tell you how long. My next birthday, a couple of months from now, I'll be turning 80. And I became an activist as a very young child in Birmingham, Alabama, the most segregated city in the country at that time. And I say that to say that I don't know whether I've ever experienced a moment when vast numbers of people were so politically engaged, when vast numbers of people were so concerned about the future of our planet, you know, concerned about the climate, concerned about war, concerned about ending racism. And so that's very different. This is a period unlike any other people would like to think about the 60s as the revolutionary period. But I think this is the revolutionary period. And those who assume that that energy and that excitement that emanated from the the period of the summer of 2020 that that's behind us, we're in the same historical conjuncture. The people whose names I won't mention here, because I never like to bring up the names of of those who, you know, like the person who was the 45th president. And then and then and you know, who was it down in Florida, who was a, you know, those people who are trying to change school curricula? I think that is precisely an evidence. It's precisely evidence of the progress we we've made. So why wouldn't there be that kind of reaction? You know, recently I've been been thinking, why is it that we're always so surprised when that happens? Because if we do the work we say we're doing, and if we do move forward, there will be those who want to go back to the old days, those who, you know, want to go back to the period when racism was unchallenged, when patriarchy was the way people thought the world functioned. So that's actually an indication of the fact that we're making progress. We don't think about, like, you know, the 50 year outcome. We don't think in those terms. And so as someone who can do that now, I feel I feel very hopeful. I feel very hopeful.

Marc Philpart: [00:25:44] Wonderful. Thank you so much. Join me in thanking Angela.

Natalie Patterson: [00:25:58] I am miraculous, unstoppable, and gorgeously flawed. I know this because I've lived long enough to have connected the dots. I have survived every day that seemed determined to kill me. And here I am. And there are no awards for that. But there should be. I was taught that secrets keep you safe, that blood is thicker than water. To speak when spoken to, to stay in my place. I learned the hard way that context is important, that folks mean well, but can lead you astray if you don't trust your intuition. There is no one size fits all to this life thing. You have to carve out your own path. And see, nobody explicitly taught me how to heal. But my grandmother, well, my grandmother kept Epsom salt and vinegar on the edge of her tub. I keep bath bombs and salt scrubs on mine. I keep a stick of Palo Santo in the ashtray for when the bad vibes try to infect me. I've got crystals in my car, a deck of affirmations to pull from to help me realign with my light. I've got prayer beads on my desk and a bit of Arabic tucked under my tongue. I might need to call on God in more than one language. Honey. Life requires tools, resilience, and opportunities to shift your perspective requires nature and ancestors, ritual and mentorship. No one told me what it would take to survive. They just did it the best way they knew how. My mother. You see, my mother never uttered the words self care because it wasn't a part of her vocabulary. But she knew. She knew persistence, knew dedication, hard work and paying and rent. So she modeled what she knew, modeled vacuuming to Luther Vandross's meditation on Saturday mornings, modeled care as always being there. Modeled strong Black woman syndrome because that's what she learned. Passed it down to me like a family heirloom. Our folks cannot teach us what they do not know. Our lessons might require decryption. Healing is not a destination you arrive at one day. It is gardening each season. It is planting and watering, weeding and harvesting. It is enjoying the fruit while tilling the soil in anticipation of all that is surely to bloom. You are surely to bloom, my love. So each day practice tenderness. Slowly stroke the softest folds in your skin. Speak as if these are your last words. Pause to find the most beautiful thing in your line of sight. Use your body for good. Turn your laughter into worship and know, you got to know that there will be terrible days. There will be harm and hurt and words you can't unhear. But remember all your ancestors survived so you could thrive. You are miraculous, unstoppable, gorgeously flawed, with a story etched into your DNA. And one day, one day, I hope you tell someone so their path becomes clearer. Because they too, they too are miraculous, unstoppable, and worthy of healing.

Blue Shield of California Foundation : [00:29:17] You can hear all of our episodes and learn more about what you can do to help prevent domestic violence on our website at

Blue Shield California Foundation: [00:00:00] Esta serie incluye relatos de situaciones de violencia que pueden ser difíciles de escuchar. En la Fundación Blue Shield of California, trabajamos para terminar con la violencia doméstica abordando sus causas principales: el racismo y la inequidad económica y de género. En esta serie especial de pódcast, exploraremos lo que hacemos en California para poder sanar de la violencia doméstica y prevenirla. Si estás sufriendo violencia doméstica o conoces a alguien en esta situación, puedes encontrar ayuda en o llamar al 1-800-799-7233. Gracias por acompañarnos. Les damos la bienvenida a un episodio especial de Terminemos con la violencia doméstica: sanar, recuperarse, prevenir. En este episodio, Marc Philpart, director ejecutivo del California Black Freedom Fund, tendrá una conversación sincera con la activista y autora reconocida a nivel mundial, Angela Davis, sobre el impacto desproporcionado de la violencia doméstica en las familias y la comunidad de personas negras, y sobre aquello que nos da esperanza para el futuro. Esta conversación se grabó en vivo durante el Mes de la Concientización sobre la Violencia Doméstica. Después de la conversación, quédate a escuchar el poema Rich Soil de Natalie Patterson del colectivo BEAM (Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective). Esperamos que este fascinante intercambio los inspire. Comenzaremos escuchando a Marc.

Marc Philpart: [00:01:41] Para mí, este es uno de esos momentos donde el círculo se cierra. Lidero el California Black Freedom Fund, pero, antes de eso, dirigí la Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, donde comenzamos este trabajo junto con Blue Shield, para generar consciencia sobre todas las formas en las que podemos prevenir la violencia doméstica y terminar con ella. Antes de comenzar, quiero contar una parte de mi historia para que sepan de dónde vengo, cuál fue mi experiencia con esto y por qué es tan importante para mí. Cuando hablamos de violencia doméstica y su impacto en familias y mujeres negras, creo que es importante entenderla como parte de una cultura social que se basa en la misoginia y los femicidios. Es esta cultura la que crea el contexto para que se genere violencia y, por consiguiente, nuestras respuestas sistémicas a ella. Esto también hace que no se tengan en cuenta las causas principales de la violencia doméstica, el racismo y el heteropatriarcado, que, a su vez, se componen de inequidad y pobreza extrema. Mi historia comienza el primero de noviembre de 1965 en el centro de Los Ángeles, donde la mamá de mi mamá, Lorena Thompson, una abuela que nunca conocí, fue asesinada por su segundo esposo. Poco después de que mi mamá y mi tío comenzaran la escuela primaria, Lorena se divorció de mi abuelo y comenzó a tener citas. En el transcurso de un año, volvió a casarse y se encontró en una relación abusiva. Dos años después, estaba muerta. Como persona a cargo de dos niños pequeños que también estaban sufriendo abuso, Lorena tenía miedo por su vida y la de ellos. Se sentía atrapada y, un día, tomó coraje y se fue, pero él la persiguió. Su persecución fue aterradora y no le permitía trabajar ni caminar libremente, de un modo que muchos damos por sentado. Su acoso y abuso incansables eran inflexibles y estaban premeditados. Un día, la enfrentó a mi mamá, que tenía siete años en ese entonces, mientras volvía de la escuela a su casa. Regodeándose, le mostró una pistola a mi mamá y le dijo: «Esta es la pistola con la que voy a matar a tu mamá». Días después, mató a Lorena mientras esperaba en una fila de desempleados intentando conseguir un trabajo para poder mantener a mi mamá y mi tío, que solo tenían siete y nueve años en aquel entonces. Este momento traumático destrozó a nuestra familia e impregnó de violencia las relaciones, decisiones y experiencias de mi mamá. No se sintió cómoda para contarme esto hasta cerca de sus 50 años. Cuando pienso en el trágico asesinato de mi abuela, creo que podría haberse evitado. Me hago muchas preguntas: «¿Qué fue lo que le pasó a ese hombre que lo enojó tanto al punto de tener que matar a mi abuela?», y entiendo que una persona no se despierta de un día para el otro con esa furia. Seguro hubo muchas señales antes. Seguro fueron muchos los momentos en los que se podría haber intervenido. Muchos momentos en los que él podría haber recibido apoyo y ayuda antes de que su furia se volviera letal. Sin embargo, nada de eso ocurrió de una forma real y significativa. Entonces mi abuela tuvo que enfrentar una falsa decisión: vivir en la calle con dos niños o arriesgarse y salir a buscar trabajo a pesar de que estaba claro que no era seguro que anduviera por la ciudad sabiendo que había un acosador amenazando su vida. Cuando temes por tu vida y el cuidado de tus hijos, ¿qué haces? O lo que es más importante, ¿qué deberían hacer nuestros sistemas? Estaba muy claro para mí, teniendo en cuenta la experiencia de mi familia y los datos que tenía, que nuestra sociedad está muy comprometida con las respuestas sistémicas que no consideran las realidades culturales de nuestras comunidades, que están más centradas en castigar que en sanar, que no son adecuadas cuando hablamos de la cultura del racismo y la violencia, y que, por último, son muy costosas. Gastamos demasiado en bienestar de menores, gastamos demasiado en policía, gastamos demasiado en prisiones y no gastamos lo suficiente en todas las cosas que sí pueden prevenir la violencia, romper los ciclos de daño o ayudar a las personas a sanar de sus traumas. Si no invertimos en estas cosas, no es posible tener una cultura de la seguridad. Hoy queremos desentrañar todos estos temas complejos y conversar sobre las oportunidades que tienen los legisladores y quienes proveen los fondos para hacer algo al respecto. Comenzaremos con Angela Davis, aclamada activista, autora y defensora de los movimientos de libertad y liberación de las personas negras. Angela, acompáñame. Angela, muchas gracias por estar conmigo en esta conversación. Has sido toda una inspiración para mí. Me considero feminista y sé que para muchas personas eso puede ser difícil de procesar porque también me identifico como hombre. Creo que es ese tipo de entendimiento el necesario para todos nosotros cuando pensamos cómo podemos acabar con la violencia. Me pregunto si podrías hablar un poco de eso. Hace poco escribiste un libro, Abolition. Feminism. Now. Me gustaría que nos contaras un poco por qué fue importante para ti escribir este libro.

Angela Davis: [00:07:16] Es un tema tan difícil. Puedo empezar diciendo que la primera vez que fui consciente de la violencia doméstica y la violencia de género como temas políticos en la década de los setenta, con los incentivos a decir lo que nos pasaba y todas las formaciones feministas que estaban surgiendo en ese entonces, la primera pregunta que abordé fue la del silencio. Hablamos de una forma de violencia que ha existido en la mayoría de las sociedades por cientos de años y que también aprendimos a esconder, porque, de alguna forma, se representa como un problema del sobreviviente. De hecho, fue muy interesante durante ese período, en el que las formaciones estaban empezando a desarrollarse. También había problemas porque se solía asumir que, cuando trabajabas en temas de mujeres, estabas trabajando en los de mujeres blancas y aún no sabíamos cómo salir de ese marco racista y universal. Menciono esto porque la primera organización en contra del abuso sexual, que es parte de la violencia de género y la violencia doméstica, que conocí y acogí era una organización en DC donde estaba involucrada Loretta Ross. Poco después de eso, escuché hablar sobre un desarrollo increíble en relación con esta organización, que era un grupo de hombres negros.

Marc Philpart: [00:09:29] Sí, Men Can Stop Rape.

Angela Davis: [00:09:30] Sí. Recuerdo que en ese momento pensé que ese era el futuro, que estaríamos viviendo algo así durante el próximo período. Asumí que habría una gran cantidad de grupos, formaciones y organizaciones en los que participarían hombres cuyo objetivo sería terminar con la violencia, fuera esta de género, sexual o doméstica. Eso no ocurrió. Me he preguntado a lo largo de los años si ellos estaban imaginando un futuro que vendría muchas décadas después o si la manera en que presentábamos el problema no permitió ese tipo de desarrollo. Las personas que se sienten identificadas con los hombres suelen ser quienes perpetran esta violencia de la que hablamos, entonces, tendría sentido que fueran quienes están al frente. Sin embargo, claro, siempre se considera un problema de mujeres. Escribí un libro algunos años atrás llamado Blues Legacies and Black Feminism. Una de las razones por las que escribí ese libro fue porque escuché a cantantes de blues negras, como Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Ida Cox, y Rosa Henderson, y noté que muchas cantaban sobre la violencia. Cantaban sobre lo que les pasaba en sus relaciones. Sin embargo, ubicamos ese movimiento como si hubiera ocurrido en la década de los sesenta, cuando las mujeres, en general blancas, empezaban a hacer cosas realmente importantes, como decir lo que les pasaba y alentar a otras mujeres a que lo hicieran también. Quería que tuviéramos una idea de lo mucho que puede demorar que estas ideas marquen una diferencia. Queremos ver cambios inmediatos. Cuento esto porque, cuando hablamos de políticas y organizaciones que aportan financiamiento, muchas veces se pretende conocer las consecuencias inmediatas y cuáles serán los resultados en un año o en cinco años, pero nunca nadie habla de cuáles serán los resultados en cincuenta años. Hoy nos encontramos hablando de un tema que se volvió parte del discurso público más de cincuenta años atrás. De hecho, esta es la forma pandémica de violencia más extendida en el mundo.

Marc Philpart: [00:12:55] Literalmente, podrías entrar al Capitolio y hablar con uno de los miembros; supongamos que es un hombre. Cuento esto porque me pasó y dije, «Queremos que respalden la inversión en violencia doméstica y queremos que aprueben este presupuesto», y he recibido respuestas como «Yo no me encargo de eso, es un problema de mujeres. Habla con el comité de mujeres». Vamos a suponer que pasan la propuesta. Luego, sucede exactamente lo que describiste: te preguntan qué están comprando con esos fondos o cuánta violencia combatirá. Todo se reduce a las cosas que son increíblemente más difíciles de medir. Entonces, perdemos la visión a 50 años para construir la infraestructura que precisamos, una especie de ecosistema de prevención robusto que es necesario para poder ver esas reducciones que queremos en la cantidad de casos de violencia. Tenemos que cambiar los tiempos y la manera en que las personas los consideran. Probablemente tenemos que trabajar más para que se invierta en ideología sobre la prevención de la violencia y sus resultados a largo plazo, buscar más formas de cultivar aliados y defensores poco probables, y permitirles que se vean a sí mismos en esta historia.

Angela Davis: [00:14:29] Totalmente.

Marc Philpart: [00:14:32] Tengo muchas preguntas más para ti además de esto, porque siento que has visto cómo los movimientos han colaborado con esto y con la violencia en particular. Me refiero a que, aunque me parece que aún no se ha convertido en lo que creo que queremos que sea, ha crecido a pasos agigantados, en parte por las feministas negras que se han involucrado muchísimo y han intentado llevarnos en una dirección que se alinea con sus experiencias. ¿Podrías contarnos un poco sobre lo que has visto, como persona que está en este ecosistema, sobre la evolución en el campo de la violencia?

Angela Davis: [00:15:17] Cuando rememoro mi propia infancia y la incapacidad de comprender que algo necesitaba ser hecho y que algo podía hacerse, me considero afortunada por la familia que tuve, mi familia más cercana. Aunque nuestras experiencias no fueron directas, recuerdo muchas historias, amistades y familiares. En aquel entonces, me sentía totalmente incapaz de hacer algo porque el discurso vigente afirmaba que se trataba de un fenómeno natural. Era algo que existía y no se podía hacer nada al respecto, excepto encontrar soluciones que implicaran escapar, pero sin cambiar el marco, sin cuestionar si la violencia era necesariamente parte de las relaciones humanas. Al comparar ese periodo con el presente, vemos que hemos avanzado de formas que en aquel entonces habrían sido inimaginables. Recuerdo los años noventa, cuando muchos de nosotros nos organizamos en torno a Resistencia Crítica y comenzamos a participar en la organización abolicionista. Sentíamos que era crucial incorporar nuestras percepciones políticas sobre la violencia doméstica, que estaba conectada con la violencia del Estado. A veces, las personas se resisten a participar en estas conversaciones trascendentales porque tienen la impresión de que no hay nada que se pueda hacer al respecto. Recuerdo cómo mujeres en prisión contaban que se percibían como prisioneras del Estado, y que la violencia que sufrían no difería mucho de la que habían experimentado con sus antiguas parejas. Trabajé con una organización en Australia que desarrolló una campaña llamada Stop State Sexual Assault, en la que se abordaba la violencia inherente a las revisiones al desnudo y de cavidades íntimas. Fue una colaboración muy esclarecedora, aunque, por supuesto, sea difícil reconocer al Estado como perpetrador. Incluso si no es posible lograr esos cambios de inmediato, creo que sigue siendo importante tener ese tipo de percepción, ya que ayuda a determinar qué estrategias aplicamos hoy en el trabajo que realizamos.

Marc Philpart: [00:18:50] Aprecio mucho ese enfoque, porque nos lleva a las causas fundamentales de la violencia y obliga al Estado a asumir su responsabilidad en la creación de esta dinámica, donde la violencia puede ocurrir de manera desproporcionada en cualquier comunidad debido a la pobreza, la desigualdad, la violencia del Estado o cualquier otro factor. No creo que en nuestras conversaciones con los legisladores se haga lo suficiente como para ayudar a la gente a comprender que la forma en la que funciona nuestra comunidad genera más violencia; estamos creando más violencia de la que podemos prevenir.

Angela Davis: [00:19:39] Con frecuencia, quienes tienen la responsabilidad de proteger a las personas de la violencia terminan siendo quienes la perpetran. ¿Por qué existe una cantidad desproporcionada de violencia doméstica en los hogares de quienes trabajan como policías? Estas son preguntas que a menudo no queremos abordar porque perturban por completo nuestra idea de cómo nuestras sociedades deberían funcionar. No obstante, si no lo hacemos, presenciaremos la reproducción de estas formas de violencia, generación tras generación.

Marc Philpart: [00:20:29] Aprecio mucho esto porque supone un desafío en muchos aspectos. En Abolition. Feminism. Now. hay una cita en donde se habla de hacer la otra pregunta. Es decir, si…

Angela Davis: [00:20:48] Mary Matsuda.

Marc Philpart: [00:20:49] Mary Matsuda, exacto. Ella menciona que, si hay patriarcado, debes plantearte la otra pregunta: «¿Hay clasismo?». Si hay racismo, debes formular la otra pregunta: «¿Existe patriarcado?». Necesitamos cuestionarnos más. Debemos desafiarnos más a menudo. Solemos opinar desde una única perspectiva, y es mucho más enriquecedor pensar de manera más interseccional, como tú nos instas a hacer.

Angela Davis: [00:21:21] Con base en la labor que desempeñamos en la actualidad, si dejamos de lado ese individualismo tan perjudicial que, desafortunadamente, caracteriza nuestra forma de ver el mundo y la lógica que empleamos, y si reconocemos que estamos aquí reunidos hoy gracias al trabajo realizado por otras personas hace 150 años, que sabían que su esfuerzo podría cambiar el futuro, pero sin conocer los detalles… De hecho, no creo que quienes luchaban contra la esclavitud pensaran que las cosas cambiarían de inmediato; se trataba de forjar un futuro distinto para quienes probablemente nunca llegarían a conocer. Creo que esa conciencia sobre el posible impacto del trabajo que hacemos hoy puede transformar nuestra relación con dicha labor.

Marc Philpart: [00:22:29] Angela, esta es una hermosa forma de terminar. ¿Qué te da esperanza sobre el momento en el que nos encontramos y el futuro que podríamos crear?

Angela Davis: [00:22:37] Bueno, ya sabes, como dijo Mariame Kaba, «la esperanza es una disciplina». He sido activista durante mucho, muchísimo tiempo. No te diré exactamente cuánto… O tal vez sí lo haga. En mi próximo cumpleaños, dentro de un par de meses, cumpliré 80 años, y me convertí en activista cuando aún era una niña, en Birmingham, Alabama, la ciudad más segregada del país en ese entonces. Lo menciono para destacar que no estoy segura de haber vivido alguna vez en un momento en el que tanta gente estuviera tan comprometida políticamente, tan preocupada por el futuro de nuestro planeta, inquieta por el clima, angustiada por la guerra y decidida a acabar con el racismo. Es una situación muy diferente, es un periodo como ningún otro. A la gente le gusta pensar en los años sesenta como el periodo revolucionario, pero yo creo que el periodo revolucionario es este. Aunque algunas personas consideran que la energía y la emoción que emanaron del verano de 2020 ya quedaron atrás, nos encontramos en la misma coyuntura histórica. Personas cuyos nombres no mencionaré aquí, porque no me gusta referirme a aquellos que —como el 45.º presidente y quienes están en Florida, ya sabes— quieren modificar los planes de estudio. Creo que, precisamente, eso es una prueba clara del progreso que hemos logrado. Entonces, ¿por qué no habría esa reacción? Últimamente, me he estado preguntando por qué siempre nos sorprende cuando eso sucede. Si hacemos el trabajo que afirmamos estar haciendo y avanzamos, habrá quienes deseen regresar a los viejos tiempos, a aquellos días en los que el racismo no se cuestionaba, cuando el patriarcado era la concepción predominante del funcionamiento del mundo. En realidad, esto indica que estamos progresando. No pensamos en los resultados a 50 años, no concebimos las cosas en esos términos. Así que, como alguien que puede hacer eso ahora, me siento muy esperanzada. Muy esperanzada.

Marc Philpart: [00:25:44] Eso es maravilloso. Muchas gracias. Démosle las gracias a Angela.

Natalie Patterson: [00:25:58] Soy milagrosa, imparable y maravillosamente imperfecta. Lo sé porque he vivido lo suficiente como para atar cabos. He sobrevivido a cada día que parecía decidido a matarme y aquí estoy. Y aunque no hay premios por eso, debería haberlos. Me enseñaron que los secretos te mantienen a salvo, que la sangre es más espesa que el agua, que hay que hablar cuando te hablan, que no hay que rebelarse. Aprendí por las malas que el contexto es importante, que la gente tiene buenas intenciones, pero puede desviarte si no confías en tu intuición. No existe una fórmula única para la vida; tienes que trazar tu propio camino. Y mira, nadie me enseñó explícitamente a sanar, pero mi abuela, mi querida abuela, tenía sales de Epsom y vinagre en el borde de su bañera. Yo prefiero las bombas de baño y los exfoliantes. Tengo una vara de palo santo en el cenicero por si las malas energías intentan afectarme. Llevo cristales en el coche y una baraja de afirmaciones para realinearme con mi luz. Tengo rosarios en mi escritorio y un poco de árabe bajo la lengua: puede que necesite llamar a Dios en más de un idioma. Cariño, para la vida hacen falta herramientas, resiliencia y oportunidades para cambiar tu perspectiva; hace falta conexión con la naturaleza, y hacen falta nuestros ancestros, rituales y orientación. Nadie me dijo qué necesitaría para sobrevivir. Simplemente hicieron lo mejor que pudieron. Mi madre nunca pronunció la palabra «autocuidado» porque no formaba parte de su vocabulario, pero sabía de persistencia, dedicación, trabajo duro y pagar la renta. Entonces, repitió el patrón de lo que conocía, como pasar la aspiradora al ritmo de las meditaciones de Luther Vandross los sábados por la mañana, definir el cuidado como estar siempre presente y reproducir el síndrome de la mujer negra fuerte, porque eso fue lo que aprendió. Me lo transmitió como una reliquia familiar. Es que no podía enseñarme lo que no sabía. A veces, tenemos que descifrar nuestras lecciones. Sanar no es un destino que se alcance de un día para otro. Es cuidar el jardín en cada estación: es plantar, regar, desmalezar y cosechar. Es saborear los frutos mientras preparas la tierra anticipando lo que seguramente florecerá. Tú florecerás, mi amor. Así que, cada día, practica la ternura, acaricia lentamente los pliegues más suaves de tu piel, habla como si fueran tus últimas palabras, haz una pausa para encontrar lo más hermoso a la vista, usa tu cuerpo para hacer el bien, convierte tu risa en adoración y, lo más importante, comprende que habrá días terribles. Habrá daño y dolor, y palabras que no podrás impedir oír, pero recuerda que todos tus ancestros sobrevivieron para que tú pudieras prosperar. Eres milagrosa, imparable, maravillosamente imperfecta, con una historia grabada en tu ADN y, algún día, espero que se lo cuentes a alguien para que su camino se aclare, porque esa persona también es milagrosa, imparable y digna de sanar.

Fundación Blue Shield of California: [00:29:17] Puedes escuchar todos nuestros episodios y obtener más información sobre qué puedes hacer para prevenir la violencia doméstica en nuestro sitio web: