0: An Introduction

To listen in on your iPhone, go to bit.ly/libertypod. To listen in on your Android, go to bit.ly/libertygplay. To listen on your computer, go ahead and scroll down!

The week this show releases, it'll be the week of the 4th of July, 2017, the day my country celebrates it’s independence. I chose this timing, not in a spirit of celebration, but in a spirit of defiance. 241 years ago, the founding fathers of these great United States signed off on a document stating: “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

That was written when my ancestors were still in shackles and were hardly even considered human.

And today there continues to be systemic and cultural conditions around the idea of “Liberty and Justice for all...” unless you’re black, undocumented, disabled, indigenous, muslim, poor, queer, transgender or gender non-conforming, and so on.

But this isn't so much about the Declaration of Independence, the Pledge of Allegiance or the history of the US, it's about true liberty and it's even more so about liberation. How do we get to a way of being with each other that does not impose oppressive restrictions on our humanity?

So I, a fat black queer able-bodied, young, cisgender woman with a middle-class background, decided to start a show called Liberty. This will be a mix of interviews with folx who are committed to creating change plus personal check ins from me on my own journey of unlearning, remembering, growing, healing and taking action.

Here are a few of the questions I'm going into this project with:

  • What does it mean to be free? What does it look like?
  • What does it take to get free as a collective and as individuals?
  • What are the challenges we must move through?
  • In our everyday lives, what can we do to resist against systems of oppression and the mindsets that fuels them as well as liberate ourselves into more just, intersectional, life-affirming ways of being with ourselves and each other?

The question you'll be hearing a LOT of (especially in this first season) is “what is your vision for liberation?”

One of my intentions with this show is to name and amplify the ideas that people have when it comes to creating the world we want.

Often when we’re aware of the sociopolitical and environmental issues in our world (whether directly affected by them or witnessing them from afar or both) we obviously think “this isn’t right, this needs to change” and some of us do what we do what we can to take action. With this podcast, I hope to create a space where we can take some time to envision what that change really looks like. To get in touch with our creativity, imagine new futures and do what we can to make them happen. While we’re talking about dismantling, we also need to be talking about what we wish to build, create and transform. And there are so many wonderful human beings and organizations that are doing that work! In this show, we’ll be hearing from a few of them.

Now what I'm not interested in doing with this podcast is sharing stories of triumph, where the hosts or the guests talk about how they started from the bottom and now they're here, they've arrived, life is good. This show isn't like that. Every guest and I are in it. Liberation work is lifelong work and it’s within every moment so I try to make sure we share what we’re being challenged by, what feels risky and what we’re still learning. Because there is no such thing as “arriving” when we’re talking about Liberty and liberation.

So when you listen in, I hope you’ll see yourself or folks in your community in the stories and experiences that are shared here. I hope you find nourishment, healing, ideas, questions, tools, resources, challenges and new visions for yourself and your world. I hope you’ll use the pieces that resonate or rub up against you as a catalyst for change. I hope you'll use this to start conversations and dialogues with those around you. And I hope you’ll see this as a conversation and the start of a cute little relationship! I don’t want this to be a one-way kind of thing. I definitely want to hear your thoughts and visions as well as your ideas for new episodes (which by the way – the episodes coming up are amazing, we’ll be talking about alchemy, decolonizing the way we travel, spirituality, fat phobia and so much more in this season, so stay tuned).

To close out, I should probably share a little bit more about who I am and where I'm coming from:

My name is Andréa Ranae. I've been obsessed with freedom my entire life. When I was a toddler, my favorite outfit was no outfit and that honestly hasn’t changed. What has changed is my understanding of freedom – it's expanded and grown in so many ways and now it sits at the foundation of everything I do in my work as a coach and facilitator. I work with folks and organizations who wish to create change in their communities and our world and I support them in doing the inner work necessary for our current situation to shift in a liberating and humanizing direction.. So things like unlearning toxic/dehumanizing beliefs systems, social/emotional intelligence, sharing privilege and reclaiming power, inclusive business practices, and so on.

My work has been informed by so many leaders, teachers and human beings (the kind that I know personally and the kind that I've never met, but whose work and/or life has touched my soul). People like Audre Lorde, bell hooks, James Baldwin, Adisa Stewart, Paulo Freire, Javiera Benavente, Alok Vaid-Menon, Natalie Sowell, the Combahee River Collective, Jamila Jackson, Marsha P. Johnson, Laura Greenfield, the water protectors at Standing Rock, Janet Mock, (of course, Mama and Papa J, my parents), Kimberlé Crenshaw, Alina Ortiz Salvatierra, Cara Page, Beyoncé, Solange, June Jordan, Alexis Morgan, Jenn McCabe, Cece McDonald, Sonya Renee Taylor, Renisha McBride, Islan Nettles, Korryn Gaines, Khalief Browder, Rekia Boyd, Sandra Bland, Aiyana Stanley Jones, Eric Garner, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Jordan Edwards, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Trayvon Martin, and many of the people I'll be talking with on my show. And if you'd like to find out more about these people, I encourage you to go the thelibertypodcast.com/0.

For more little details on me, at the start of this podcast, I am 22 yrs old, from Chicago, IL, recently graduated from undergrad. I’m a Leo, depending on what mood you catch me in, I’m either an ENFJ or INFJ. And if you’re familiar with the Human Design System, I’m a projector.

I truly expect to be changed and challenged by this project. I hope you'll join me on this journey.

Now go listen to the next episode and tell me whatcha think! As this show goes on, you'll be able to find every episode at thelibertypodcast.com

You can also find the show on the social medias on instagram and twitter, @thelibertypod and my personal account @andrearanaej.

On facebook, you can follow me at facebook.com/andrearanaej

And if you’re really excited about this show or after a few episodes, you’re loving it, I’d love for you to share it with someone else who would appreciate it!

Thank you so much for listening and until next time, I wish you love and liberty.

Andréa Ranae