New Book ‘Imagine Freedom’ Teaches The Importance Of Advocacy Without Burnout


In her latest book, “Imagine Freedom: Transforming Pain into Political and Spiritual Power,” esteemed journalist Rahiel Tesfamariam delves into the strategies available to Black Americans for advocating social justice while avoiding burnout, anxiety, and depression.

Tesfamariam shared with ESSENCE that the idea of writing a book had been simmering within her for the past 18 years. However, it was her transformative experience living in Africa for three years and collaborating with freedom fighters that truly sparked her inspiration.

Central to Tesfamariam’s book is the concept of freedom, seen as both a journey toward healing and liberation. She stresses the importance of seeing freedom as a continuous process spanning the past, present, and future, urging readers to draw wisdom from their ancestral heritage. Tesfamariam encourages a reassessment of values, advocating for a departure from mainstream ideologies and an exploration of communal African systems and indigenous healing practices.

In her book, Tesfamariam delves into the toll of striving for collective liberation, admitting that she, too, struggles with the temptation to overwork, a sentiment shared by many. She emphasizes the significance of recognizing external influences shaping behavior, cautioning against self-blame and shame. 

“It’s important that we understand the forces that are at work that control and to avoid engaging in self-blame and shame,” she said. “It’s something radically different to understand that your practices are shaped by a system. I remind myself that I am a product of a system, a system that wants me to work myself to death and that treats me as disposable.”

She champions radical self-compassion and self-preservation as acts of defiance against oppressive systems. “I constantly try to offer myself radical self-grace, and radical self-protection,” said Tesfamariam. “Because if I’m going to resist white supremacy and capitalism from a political and ideological level, I have to resist it in my own life. So for me, in some ways, it’s daily acts of resistance, and sometimes rest is an act of resistance, for and by the people.” 

According to Tesfamariam, education is key to liberation. She underscores the importance of ongoing self-education and self-awareness to effectively navigate and challenge societal structures. 

In “Imagine Freedom,” Rahiel Tesfamariam offers Black Americans a roadmap for advocating justice while prioritizing their mental and emotional well-being. Her insights serve as a rallying call for radical self-compassion, resistance, and collective empowerment in the pursuit of liberation.

Purchase a copy via Amazon.

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