Walidah Imarisha

African American writer, activist, educator and spoken word artist

Walidah Imarisha (Amharic: ወሊዳ ኢማሪሻ) is a writer, activist, educator and spoken word artist who lives in the USA.

Walidah Imarisha on The Laura Flanders Show

Quotes edit

Introduction to Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements (2015) edit

  • Whenever we try to envision a world without war, without violence, without prisons, without capitalism, we are engaging in speculative fiction. All organizing is science fiction. Organizers and activists dedicate their lives to creating and envisioning another world, or many other worlds-so what better venue for organizers to explore their work than science fiction stories? That is the premise behind the book you hold in your hands.
  • We want organizers and movement builders to be able to claim the vast space of possibility, to be birthing visionary stories.
  • Changes will occur that we cannot even begin to imagine, and the next generation will be both utterly familiar and wholly alien to their parents. We believe this is what it means to carry on Octavia Butler's legacy of writing visionary fiction.
  • the decolonization of the imagination is the most dangerous and subversive form there is: for it is where all other forms of decolonization are born. Once the imagination is unshackled, liberation is limitless.
  • Our ancestors dreamed us up and then bent reality to create us. For adrienne and myself, as two Black women, we think of our ancestors in chains dreaming about a day when their children's children's children would be free. They had no reason to believe this was likely, but together they dreamed of freedom, and they brought us into being. We are responsible for interpreting their regrets and realizing their imaginings. We wish to continue the work of moving forward with their visionary legacy.

Interview with Bitch Media edit

  • (Why science fiction?) Science fiction is the only genre that not only allows you to disregard everything that we're taught is realistic and practical, but actually demands that you do. So it allows us to move beyond the bounds of what is realistic and what is real, into the realm of the imagination, That is actually something that organizers do every single day.
  • Being able to collectively dream those new worlds means that we can begin to create those new worlds here.
  • visionary fiction is not utopian; it's realistic and it's hard, because that's the world we live in, but ultimately it's hopeful. I think that Octavia Butler's work is really an amazing example of that, because at the end of her stories—where these worlds are terrifying—there is hope. There's hope that we can build new worlds that embody justice, that embody new ideas of community, if we follow and keep to a certain set of principles and values and ideals.
  • I think the only true liberation can come from centering those folks who have been most marginalized.
  • One workshop that was developed initially by one of our contributors, Morrigan Phillips, was “Science Fiction and Direct Action Organizing.” It takes existing science fiction worlds—like Hogwart's, like Oz, like Mordor —and has you pick the marginalized folks there and has you create an organizing goal, and has you develop direct action tactics to achieve that goal. It is the funnest workshop on the face of the planet or any other planet. You end up with flying monkeys in Oz demanding the right to return, because they've been taken from their homeland. And you end up with fighting Uruk-hai in Mordor rising up against their slave owners. You have the Elf Liberation Front, who starts creating political education courses magical creatures and squibs. What if storm troopers launched a work stoppage and shut down the Death Star?
  • In radical movements we so often fight against something instead of building something else. We absolutely have to do it, but we don't want to spend all of our energy just challenging what is. We really have to cultivate our ability to dream what will be, and to make it reality. That's how all significant change has happened.

Quotes about Walidah Imarisha edit

  • Walidah Imarisha always says, "It's realistic and hard, but it's hopeful that change is possible." How do we be with what is and keep our eyes up?
  • The introduction [to Octavia's Brood] , written with your coauthor, Walidah Imarisha, says, "Once the imagination is unshackled, liberation is limitless." If we, as a society, were able to unshackle our imaginations, what could be possible?

External links edit

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