Theory + Mapping + Analysis
The core mission of the Department of Theory is to develop Radical Queer Black Feminist (RQBF) theory in concert with an environmental justice and human rights framework as a means of understanding the existing world and the world we are building together.
In pursuit of this mission, OHRD engages in research and the systematic and scientific mapping of that research; develops theory, history and lessons for the benefit of the collective community and social justice movement; cultivates theory and lessons into a coherent tool (e.g., curricula, toolkit, memes, etc) for a broad range of the general public, organizational membership and movement leadership; and directly documents community and organizational history and practices.
As such, the Department of Theory works in four (4) programmatic areas:
Freedom Papers - The flagship program in the Department of Theory are the Freedom Papers, a series of documents articulating Radical Queer Black Feminist (RQBF) theory. The Freedom Papers range from brief takes on current events, such as blog posts or essays to longer theoretical pieces, such as books.
Research and Mapping - In addition to traditional research of history, theory and ideas, OHRD is implementing democratic forms of direct community based research, or community based participatory research. This research is designed to gather specific sets of information about the local communities in which we organize, either through cooperative economic ventures or through coalition building, such as the number of vacant homes in a neighborhood, or the types of businesses in an area or the availability of fresh produce in walking distance to a community. Equally as important, community based participatory research is designed and conducted by actual community members and stakeholders, not just academics. This process allows community members to make connections between research and the process of social transformation as well as build on existing skill sets.
Leadership Development - Political education and leadership development are important to the success of grassroots organization; the development of these programs are highly specialized and resource intensive. Our leadership development program organizes community members to become movement leaders.
History - While our history has the potential to offer great lessons and insight, it is most often documented and curated by our oppressors or those with interests that do not necessarily align with our own. As such, Black people are erased from history and womxn and queer folks are erased from Black history. History, then, is an attempt to document the experiences, lives, struggles and triumphs of working-class Black womxn and queer folks.