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Meet Hasira Ashemu

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hasira Ashemu.

Hasira Soul Ashemu is the Founder and Chief Visionary Officer for Righteous Rage Institute for Healing and Social Justice. Born and raised in Northeast Denver, CO an East Angel High School graduate, attended Howard University “The Mecca” and later traveled the world spending a decade living in Africa raising his family in Ghana. Hasira is a prolific writer, speaker, facilitator, communications professional who has been using his talents, experience and skills to create and support stimulating, engaging and innovative community initiatives that usher in social change. The name Hasira translates to “righteous rage”, gifted to him from his father now ancestor Lauren R. Watson, when Hasira’s mother went into labor after being brutally beaten by the police nearing the end of her term. “Righteous Rage” is the transformation of violent or uncontrollable anger derived from acts of racism and oppression into fuel for political consciousness, healing and social justice. Hasira is a living legacy from a bloodline of Community Organizers; leading movements and mentoring youth-led peaceful protest.

He has earned an impressive record of achievement by conceiving, designing and executing bold, distinctive, high-impact programs and events that have outstanding returns. By “calling in”, lifting up, and building anew, the Righteous Rage Institute for Healing and Social Justice (RRI) aims to assist Black, Brown, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and white allies with decolonizing our mind, body, soul and systems; to conquer oppression from the inside out. Hasira facilitates healing journeys, consulting and coaching sessions at the individual, community, nonprofit and corporate level. He has worked to develop and lead innovative anti-bias training for public school districts and higher learning institutions across the US. In addition, he has worked in the non-profit and governmental sectors in the United States and five African nations.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
The greatest obstacle was changing my mindset around what the true purpose and blessing of obstacles actually are. Once you understand the purpose of obstacles is to make your best self-show up, then you view them differently. The obstacles become blessings instead of burdens. I wasn’t initially raised to see it from that deep truth. So I would become burdened by obstacles and allow them to oppress me and cry about having to deal with them. Now I embrace them, allow them to challenge me so that I can rise to the occasion. “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” Marcus Aurelius.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
RIGHTEOUS RAGE INSTITUTE FOR HEALING AND SOCIAL JUSTICE (Our Vision) Righteous Rage Institute envisions building abolitionist institutions and systems grounded in the cultural wealth, humanity, and leadership of communities of color, that will render the current colonized systems of racial oppression obsolete. (Our Movement) Righteous Rage Institute powers Our Movement by bringing a healing justice approach to address the generational trauma and violence from racial oppression* that impacts the wellness of our bodies, souls, and spirits. We understand that transforming our systems starts with individual and communal wholeness and political education, and only then can we create new, liberatory institutions and systems that respect our collective humanity. *Credit Cara Page, who defines Healing Justice as “a framework that identifies how we can holistically respond to and intervene on generational trauma and violence and to bring collective practices that can impact and transform the consequences of oppression on our bodies, hearts and minds.”

What would you say have been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
Healing must be our #1 priority from the inside out. HEALING JUSTICE is a revolutionary act! Why? Because in order to truly heal mind, body, and soul we have to embark on an (re)-educational process of discovery that reveals to us those things that are actually making us sick and the total impact of those things on our entire being. What Black, Indigenous and working class white folks ultimately discover in regards to what is the actual root cause of our illnesses, are not merely wicked individuals or one off circumstance that we are forced to encounter in our environments, but that the whole entire rotten systems of oppression as a whole is to blame. So, in order to be healed and made whole, we have to disrupt and dismantle those systems of oppression, by envisioning, working towards and forming new systems. New systems of healing, new systems of education, new systems of resource exchange and these systems must encompass MIND, BODY and SOUL. This is the new political and spiritual framework necessary in ordeal to heal and free a people. Periodt! The Righteous Rage Institute believes that true liberation and social justice can only be achieved through a healing justice approach that starts with the internal work that we all as people of color and white allies must do to be effective agents for change.

Institutional racism and oppression have been able to successfully hold power and dominance in our culture by indoctrinating people — the history we learn in school, the cultural behaviors and norms we’ve been socialized to adopt, and our belief systems have all been crafted by the doctrine of superiority (race, class, gender, etc.) to manipulate how we think of ourselves, others, and the world around us. Therefore, to build abolitionist systems that will render the current colonized systems of oppression obsolete, we have to start with undoing what we have been taught and healing ourselves individually and communally. We developed the theory of change below based on extensive reading and experience with healing justice approaches, and this approach to individual and communal healing is deeply rooted in all the movement building work we do. We use this framework to power our movement in three ways: Calling In: Reaching out broadly to the public through podcasts, newsletters, and short courses that start the process of engaging people with the abolitionist movement and spreading truths grounded in individual and communal healing. Lifting Up: Offering deep training in community organizing and movement building to support parents, students, and community members that want to make a deeper commitment to lead movements in their communities Building anew: Working with communities to envision new institutions and systems grounded in liberation and to dismantle colonized systems and replace them with new community-visioned. Examples of our current projects include the Freedom Schools to Community Schools model, and our advocacy work to dismantle the racist accountability system and the school-to-prison pipeline.

Contact Info:

Image Credits

Personal Photo: Andrea Gerstenberger AG Photography
Additional Photos: Image Black and White, daughter Saari Ashemu, High School Freshman Inspiring Social Justice Photographer, Image in orange shirt Ajay Kyle Money Shot Photography, and Image of tattoos Andrea Gerstenberger AG Photography

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