( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) The Liberation House Uplifts Marginalized Communities and Confronts Systems of Oppression
ENSPIRE Contributor: Abby Ladner
At The Liberation House, joy is celebrated as a radical act, healing is a cornerstone of justice, and barriers are meant to be broken. The Liberation House is a group that advocates for the rights of Black, Indigenous, and queer communities. They work to create safe spaces for such communities so that they may live without limitations while confronting the systems of oppression that obstruct the health, happiness, and safety of marginalized peoples. Through creative expression, direct action, and education, The Liberation House is transforming the social, political, and cultural landscape of the nation.
The Liberation House was founded by Jonathan Lykes, who is no stranger to activism. Lykes has taken part in protests all across the country, advocating for the rights of Black, Indigenous, and Queer communities and for the end to the oppression of marginalized groups everywhere. As executive director of The Liberation House, he combines the artistic expression of anti-oppression work. His work is centered on ending systemic oppression and helping marginalized groups forge communities in which they are safe and celebrated.
As part of The Liberation House’s commitment to creativity, Lykes works as curator for the Black Joy Experience. The Black Joy Experience combines the work of Black organizers and activists throughout the United States into a musical album. The music created by the Black Joy Experience is a compilation of Black freedom songs and liberation chants centered on joy, love, healing, and resilience, themes which Lykes believes are crucial to resisting the dehumanizing effects of oppression and white supremacy.
The Liberation House is also part of the Keeping Ballroom Community Alive Network, a group of House and Ballroom Community (HBC) participants that emphasizes the history of protest and radical organizing within the ballroom scene. The HBC has historically been an avenue for self-expression, especially regarding gender and sexuality in Black and Latinx communities. The Liberation House combines the history and cultural importance of the HBC with activist work, using their ballroom community to uplift and advocate for the liberation of youth in the ballroom scene.
Besides their creative programs, The Liberation House works to improve the practices of businesses and organizations with their equity and liberation training services. Their training program is meant to bring the group’s mission of anti-racism to other institutions to promote the further spread of equity, justice, and liberation. Their work includes training about the foundations of racial equity, fighting structural racism, addressing implicit bias, and incorporating intersectionality into the workplace.
For more information on The Liberation House, including the Black Joy Experience and their House and Ballroom Community, visit their website here. To hear more from Jonathan Lykes, find him on Instagram and Twitter. Learn more about the Keeping Ballroom Community Alive Network on their website and on Facebook.