How can we move from a society that normalizes injustice and harm into a culture of consent, healing, and accountability? This course is designed to support us in connecting with ourselves and folks we are in relationship to in order to build the skills necessary to transform our society. We believe in transformation - we believe that we can experience freedom, joy, accountability, reciprocity within our lifetimes and within our relationships.
This course invites us to identify and unlearn the ways we have internalized policing, shame, and extraction in order to create the liberated world we advocate for in our day to day lives. The course begins by defining Transformative Justice and naming the roots of this practice and philosophy - inviting each participant to map where they have experienced or seen community based responses to violence in their own life or communities. Over the middle 4 weeks we explore the core skills necessary to implement this philosophy of practice into your life and unseat the internalized cop in our heads: boundaries, consent, conflict, and unlearning shame. The final module of the course shares stories, worksheets and resources on community accountability as a toolkit and framework to address violence in our communities.
This course is currently accepting registrations for our summer 2023 classes which will be held from May 26th through July 7th. We are accepting registrations through May 3rd!
bluelight academy's flagship Transformative Justice course is an overview of core Transformative Justice practices, references, and skills. This multimedia course provides videos, readings with audio recordings, coaching, and grounding practices to support you in integrating everyday Transformative Justice into your life.
Spring Up is a collective of Transformative Justice practitioners, liberatory educators, and care coaches; after over a decade of practicing Transformative Justice in our lives we decided to create a platform and connection space for people exploring and living into collective liberation. This course has been developed in community and collaboration with organizers, students, educators, care workers, and advocates, including the 650 alumni who provided feedback and dozens who have contributed reflections which are incorporated into the platform content.
Alumni Reflection: "It was clear from the content that Transformative Justice is a continuous process rather than an end goal and there is no one way to do it. That will impact/shift my behavior moving forward in that I no longer see TJ as something to "achieve" rather than something to slowly integrate and experiment with in my life. Small acts with my friends or small things I do with my team that reflect consent, communication, and community care are important and critical to being more and more comfortable with this kind of work."
This course is designed around the idea of choice and freedom - this means that each week's content includes a variety of modes of engagement, and enough content to return to for the entire year you have access. We encourage you to commit to checking out one resource each week during the initial 6 week course arc, then if you like what you saw and want more we will send you monthly emails for the next 6 months to return to each topic and dig deeper.
We provide a variety of supports for folks with different learning styles to engage in the content the way that aligns with their needs and interests, this includes providing 1:1 coaching, reflection and discussion questions to bring to your community, alongside the weekly platform multi-media content and the option to add a print workbook to bring the digital content into your physical space.
Alumni Reflection: "I love that I can do this on my own schedule. I enjoy the different ways that wisdom is shared–the mix of video, audio, written text and visual cues."
Pairs + Pods: Because we believe in dialogue based learning, self reflection, peer support, and integrating what you are learning into your life, we ask that everyone who participate do so with a buddy or group. Each individual within your group will register individually, however we will ask you to share who your buddy or group is with us during orientation before the course kicks off. If you do not have a buddy or group to sign up with, there will be space in an intake survey to indicate that you would like to be paired with another solo learner to support one another. Groups of six (6) or more signing up together get a facilitated opening and closing live session with Spring Up facilitators; if your group has 6 or more participants please email [email protected] letting us know your group size and which course you want to sign up for so we can coordinate. You can also request an invoice if your organization is paying for you as a group.
Orientation: When you sign up for the course, you will see all of the next steps including letting us know who your buddy or group is, and a worksheet to plan out your term. The week before our course starts (May 20-26th) is welcome week. During this week we will share the calendars to sign up for coaching, answer to frequently asked questions about the platform and experience, and a safety and care plan to start mapping how you will care for yourself throughout the course term and beyond.
Platform Content + Discussion: Each Friday a new module of content will post for you to review over the following week, with the first module posting on Friday May 26th and the final module posting on June 2nd. An email will go out every Friday informing you of the updated content including an overview of the core ideas and resources, content warnings, and guidance on how to pick which resource to dive into based on time capacity and interest. Each week's content starts with an optional grounding exercise, then shares 1-2 core resources (usually a video and/or short essay), followed by a tool or practice alongside reflection and discussion questions you can bring back to your buddy or group. At the end of the content for each week there is a list of optional resources to dive deeper into the content including essays (with accompanying audio recordings of our team reading hem aloud), podcasts, webinars, comic strips, as well as a couple multi-media alumni reflections related to this week's content. Underneath each section of content there is space for participants and Spring Up coaches to engage with one another by sharing reflections, posing questions, and connecting with other students. Participants retain access to this content for a year.
- Week 1: Introduction to Transformative Justice including roots and core values.
- Week 2: Trauma & Care including safety & care planning, boundaries, equitable care labor distribution, and everyday support practices.
- Week 3: Power, Consent, & Coercion including our power mapping tool to analyze complex and overlapping power dynamics, recognizing signs of coercion interpersonally and structurally, and frameworks to understand and practice consent.
- Week 4: Generative Conflict including how to analyze conflicts, de-escalation, patterns of conflict along race, gender and class lines, and the philosophy of Harm Reduction
- Week 5: Shame & Accountability including unlearning perfectionism, abolishing your inner cop, and discerning between punishment and consequences
- Week 6: Community Accountability including steps and roles in a process, tools, and examples / case studies.
- Once the 6 weeks are over, the next 6 months are your second opportunity to dig into this content as we share monthly prompts going through the modules on a slower cadence.
Live Spaces: In addition to the asynchronous discussion space under the content on the platform, we also offer two types of live facilitated spaces throughout the term. Mixers are spaces to connect with other participants and alumni, play games, and discuss your intentions and takeaways. There is no required prework for mixers since they include participants from all bluelight academy courses, and the final mixer of the term includes alumni from previous years and terms at bluelight academy. Mixers are held the week before courses begin, and the week after course content completes. Office Hours are course specific spaces to unpack and reflect on course content. Each course has office hours with Spring Up coaches during week 3 and week 6. Specific times and dates will be shared in May.
Coaching: Registration for this course includes a 1:1 coaching session with one of our coaches. Spring Up coaches provide coaching, peer support, and resource sharing to help clients meet their personal goals. Our collaborative approach to coaching is based in a non-hierarchical relationship that is solution focused — coaches recognize that clients are experts in their own lived experience. Coaching is strengths-based and culturally specific in that coaches help the client enhance their inherent strengths, skills, and resources accessible to them. Spring Up coaching has an expectation that the client is ready to engage in further learning and implementation of that learning outside of the session. Your included coaching session must be used by July 15th or it will expire.
Workbook: In addition to the weekly content posted on this platform, you have the option to order a print Transformative Justice Workbook in the mail. This workbook is a physical space to keep track of your ideas and engage with the core learning from the entire course.
Reflection: At the end of the 6 weeks you are invited to submit a reflection on your experience, this is totally optional. If you are open to sharing your reflection with other course participants, your reflection will be integrated into the course content. We invite all sorts of reflections but particularly love creative pieces including music, planting a seed, artwork, written or video affirmations and intentions.
"I am better able to analyze the dynamics within my own relationships, which influences how I navigate different spaces. Coincidentally, I’ve formed a new relationship as I was participating in this course and being able to talk with them about these concepts has given me deeper insight into our partnership and them as an individual. As I explore more of the content and reflection, I intend to incorporate these ideas and practices into my different roles as a social worker"
Below are two of our Summer 2021 alumni, Jei and Kira, reflecting on their experience and lessons learned from this course
Pricing + Scholarships
This course is offered at a sliding scale between $200 and $400 per person. The actual cost is $300. We are not a nonprofit, we are a network of practitioners who do this work balanced with other commitments and grassroots support makes this work sustainable for us.
If you would need a scholarship to be able to participate please email [email protected] with the subject "scholarship" - scholarships are available upon request. Please propose what you would comfortably be able to pay in your scholarship request - no need to explain your circumstances. The minimum payment is $75 to cover materials and shipment, and a coaching session.
If international students incur unforeseen taxes or fees for participating, they can request reimbursement for those fees by also emailing [email protected], with the subject "reimbursement." Although our team is based in the United States, we welcome participants from around the world and have alumni from numerous countries.
Our virtual learning experience is designed to align with a diversity of learning styles. We offer readings as well as videos, somatic exercises, podcasts and journal prompts. There are spaces for reflection, for discussion and for connecting, be it through our buddy system, our virtual discussion board, or coaching. A worksheet to support in executive functioning and planning is shared during welcome week that details all of the options for engagement with spaces to map out your plan for what to do and on what timeframe, this worksheet can also be done in partnership with a Spring Up coach to get additional support in executive functioning.
In terms of platform content, videos are all captioned and can be listened to. For videos that we make, we read off any text that shows up in that video. All of the readings and articles on our platform have audio recordings of the text. Most of them are accessible to screen readers but some of them, like embedded pdf workbooks, might be less accessible. If you need a different version of a reading, email [email protected] or leave a comment requesting the information you need and we will do our best to meet that need.
All live spaces are on zoom and include closed captioning. Live spaces tend to be scheduled in US timezone evenings during the week. 1:1 Coaching is more flexible with times available on coaches calendars at various times and days of the week for you to select from.
If you would prefer to receive coaching in Spanish, email [email protected] requesting coaching for the TJ course in Spanish. At this time our content and resources are all in English - we are working on a translation of our workbooks to Spanish in 2023. You can request translation to other languages by emailing [email protected], with the subject "translation."
Spring Up is a collective of care workers, transformative justice practitioners, liberatory educators, and coaches practicing and teaching the liberatory arts here at bluelight academy. We cultivate a culture of consent and liberty for all through storytelling and popular education.
Curriculum Designers: The lead designers for this course are Spring Up co-founders and co-directors Stas (they/them) aka the imaginatrix, and Leander "Lea" (they/he) aka the mythematician. Stas is a nonbinary BlaQ Italian storyteller, and Leander is a transmasculine European American facilitator and lifelong learner.
We are a couple that has been in relationship, collaborating and healing together for the past 10 years. You will see us in videos, get to read essays we wrote on this topic, and get access to worksheets and tools that we developed in community over the past 10 years. This course comes out of our personal and professional experiences trying to practice accountability in our relationships, families, communities, and organizations. It is rooted in our formal and informal study and lived experience of race, gender, and structural/ historical systems of oppression as well as liberatory practices. As organizers and consultants the two of us have worked with(in) dozens of organizations and communities around North America and Europe.
The wisdom and tools we share throughout this course came out of long conversations filled with tears, anger, and laughter, long nights reflecting on hard truths, mistakes and harm we have faced in ourselves and our loved ones, and spaces to imagine, create, and play with abolitionist and anti-violence comrades. These are practices that have worked for us and the people we have trained and coached, and we are so excited to hear about practices that have surfaced in your life.
Coaches: Your coaches this term will be announced by April.
How does Spring Up define Transformative Justice?
We believe in Transformative Justice as a framework to pursue our collective liberation through addressing violence and its root causes. Transformative Justice supports us in moving away from punishment and toward healing, accountability, and equitably distributed consequences.
Transformative Justice is a fundamentally abolitionist philosophy and toolkit. Abolition is a continuation of the abolitionist movement to end slavery. Abolition is about an end to the prison industrial complex (including police, prisons, immigrant detention, nonconsensual psychiatric confinement, child protective services intervention, and associated systems), and building up the presence of the skills, resources, and relationships necessary to address violence within ourselves and our communities without relying on the state.
Three core types of Transformative Justice include:
- Transformative Organizing: organizing to address root causes of violence (like access to housing, food, mutual aid)
- Community Accountability: collection of strategies that use pre-existing relationships and community to prevent, intervene in, respond to, and heal from instances of violence
- Liberatory Visioning: using creative writing, art, poetry, movement, conversation, and building organizations to transform trauma into radical truth telling and visioning an abolitionist of being