Beyond Hierarchy & the Nonprofit Industrial Complex
We are a collective of non-hierarchical, multiracial/ethnic abolitionist and anti-colonial death, despair, and grief workers and practitioners defined by our lived experiences and principled praxis of grief, death, and despair. Our leadership currently consists of three co-organizers, facilitators and disruptors who organize and work out of a horizontal leadership style that honors both ever-shifting capacities and racial, class, and gender power dynamics. Our leadership is formed out of a principled praxis of anti-colonial ideologies concerning management and power. We seek to be consistently conscious of power dynamics that stem from systemic, communal, and/or interpersonal oppression as we collectively advocate for death work, education, and awareness. We organize and work based on individual skill coupled with communal efforts towards capacity building.
There is no ranking of skill importance within the Dunbar Creek Collective; all of our work equally matters. We strive to move beyond organizational structures that exist within the nonprofit industrial complex; for these structures rely on coercion, (pay) hierarchy, and surveilled philanthropy. Our leadership team does not strive for perfection but instead a principled arrival to the struggle for world(s) that exist in opposition to the anti-black settler-colonial one we’ve been forced to occupy through the radical death work that we do.
The Dunbar Creek Collective leadership consists of folks in our community whose skills are suited for a specific role. We are here to plant seeds of leadership as organizers of the collective; paying attention to the original vision while simultaneously open to a vision that unfolds as we grow and commit to our abolitionist praxis. As opposed to having a few flowers; we desire a flourishing bed of gardens. There will be different aspects of the collective that will require different capacities from us all. We strive to become an interdependent ecosystem.
Who are our people? Who/What communities are we supporting?
Prioritizing Communities Affected by Carceral Institutions/Policies
Our people are disenfranchised and marginalized folks who have been historically and systemically colonized and oppressed. Our people are folks who lack resources for efficient end-of-life and grief care and/or planning including but not limited to incarcerated and/or formerly incarcerated people, low-income peoples/families, disabled and/or mentally ill folks, houseless folks, immigrants, those who use(d) stigmatized drugs, those seeking marronage from oppressive institutions, etc. We aim to be specific about the communities we serve because our work is specific. We are death workers in service to the revolution. We believe that a material analysis that centers the impact of oppression and neglect from the state aimed towards these communities are important for the death/despair/grief work we do.
We serve those on the margins who lack appropriate and fulfilling material, spiritual, psychological, and emotional resources to extensive death, grief, and despair resources.
What is our politic?
The politics that define our work is informed by anti-carcerality, abolitionism, anti-colonialism, insurrectionism, afrofuturism, intersectionality, and decolonization. Our politics intersect in varying but explicit and intentional manners. Through our politic; we seek to prioritize self/communal-determination, autonomy, and confidentiality while confronting surveillance and toxic positivity culture. We desire to work from a place of gentleness, transparency, and radical care and not from a place of fear, perfectionism, and/or urgency.
What is our vision/mission?
Confronting Carceral & Colonial Epistimes through Death, Grief, and Despair Knowledge & Care
Dunbar Creek Collective’s (DCC) ultimate vision is to be a part of the ongoing cultural/material shift of how marginalized and colonized communities view, relate to, and experience death, despair, and grief and to build and collaborate with communities who have been historically neglected and denied access to grief, death, and despair knowledge, support, and care work. Additionally we hope to be a part of shifting the material, emotional, psychological, and spiritual understandings and relationship to death, despair, and grief away from white/western/colonial epistimes. Our hope in doing this is to principally serve those who the anti-capitalist and anti-colonial revolution serve. We would like to manifest our vision outside of a reliance on and an allegiance to the state and its institutions. Our mission is to implement these contributions in a way that aligns with our abolitionist, decolonial, and anti-carceral politic and to create collective practices that also align with the values birthed from our politic. This implementation is community and people led and includes (but is not limited to): Free and/or accessible death, despair, and grief political education, gatherings, and resources. Death, despair, and grief education , gatherings, and resources that do not promote western/colonial epistimes Mutual aid efforts to distribute resources directly to our people who are grieving, dying, dealing with a person dying, and/or in despair Prioritizing principled relationship building with the communities we wish to support.
Our vision and mission is ever evolving. We understand as a collective that just as capitalism, imperialism, and neocolonialism continues to evolve; our vision and mission must also do the same to adequately address and implement community-led solutions to any and all types of oppression for marginalized communities concerning grief, death, and despair. Our statement is not a fixed one and is open to principled critique/criticism and suggestions from the communities we support on the margins.
-In service of the revolution, DCC.
Abolition & anti-colonialism are two of many vital remedies to confronting our collective & generational grief as colonized and oppressed peoples.”-DCC