The manuscript was ready. The pieces were tightened, the writers were satisfied. I was eager to move on.
The bones were solidified and the pitch – oh, the tedious and pain inflicted pitch – to select presses was finished.
And then two things happened. 1. I got feedback and 2. I had a feeling
My vision for Dear Sister was to offer the world a piece of literature of survivors to take on their journey. And, metaphorically, when they reach one of the many summits of their hike they will be equipped to breathe; to have the knowledge, trust, and belief in themselves, their lives and community to fly again.
The anthology had a hole. The hole was transformative justice. The glaring hole that would not cease its relentless burning until I acknowledged that it was not finished after all and, incredibly, I had more work to do.
It was NOT back to drawing board. It was more like, “I have to add another canvas to this work.”
The canvas is justice, and what it looks like outside the judicial system. What does justice look like for those survivors who choose NOT to report, who do NOT find justice through the legal system that so often fails survivors of trauma? What IS justice for those who previously thought incarceration for the perpetrator was the only way to feel free again? What does sexual violence look like when you take a step back and see that processes and legality do NOT address healing? What does it mean to say that justice IS and can be healing for all of us in community with one another?
Vision. Justice. Transformation.
This canvas is being painted with those ideas and so I am working with a handful of essayists who are drawing this out. These voices are closing the anthology.
This book is not and would not be complete without transformative justice. WE are not complete without it either.
Without transformation, without justice, where would our paths lead us to?