Gleaning Racial Justice Futures: Confronting the past and incorporating plural everydays

Hillary Carey, Chris Costes, and Mihika Bansal

Visions of the future world we want to create help align people toward change. Such concepts are present within some racial justice advocacy groups. Still, we propose that the work of attaining equity might benefit from more use of future visions as an additional tool toward creating systems change. To understand how visions of possible futures show up in current racial justice work, we analysed the communications of fifteen organizations. We used website content to discern how these organizations describe the worlds they want to build—a technique to gather information without requiring any additional effort on their part. The collect future visions were a small portion of the online material, but they provided rich depictions of systems change. From looking at how organizations described possible futures, we identified themes about future objectives. We found making freedom, health, and safety more accessible for all people to be the most common intention for these futures. This analysis helps us begin to imagine how tools of futures studies might evolve to accommodate justice-oriented world-making. We found that such tools would need to account for the complexity of imagining futures from an inequitable present day: taking account of historic structures and acknowledging the plurality of present-day experiences.

Keywords: racial justice, futures, communication, liberatory futures, design justice

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Posted September 2021

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Open Access article published under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License. This permits anyone to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or form according to the licence terms.

Suggested Citation Format (APA)

Author(s) (20##). Article title. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD#) Symposium.