Understanding Oppression – statement developed through the collective dialogue of C2C members, leaders and mentors
In 1974, the Combahee River Collective of black feminists released the following statement: “we are actively committed
to struggling against racial, sexual, heterosexual, and class oppression, and see as our particular task the development
of integrated analysis and practice based upon the fact that the major systems of oppression are interlocking. The
synthesis of these oppressions creates the conditions of our lives.” (Combahee River Collective, 1974)
Today, Community to Community Development, a collective led by women of color who have lived the reality that U.S.
history reveals; that people of color, women, and poor and low income communities have been systematically excluded
from the promise of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and have continued to struggle against oppression
through the development of an integrated analysis and practice that recognizes that systems of oppression in this
country are interlocking.
We believe that it is not only essential to comprehend the depths of this oppression but to commit ourselves to the
dismantling and undoing of the institutions, policies and cultural practices that allow the perpetuation of oppression
“The oppression of children is the wheel that keeps all other oppressions turning. Without it, misery would
have to be imposed afresh on each new generation, instead of being passed down like a heritage of disease.
Children enter the world full of expectation and hope. They are not jaded. They are not cynical or resigned. They
see clearly what custom has made invisible to us, and are outraged by all injustices, no matter how small. It is
through the agency of former children that the revolutionary potential of each generation of children is held in
check.” (Aurora Levins Morales, 1998, pg. 51)
Since its founding in 1980 C2C has consistently developed programs, projects and campaigns that address the needs
of communities impacted by U.S. policies abroad and communities at home that are left out of opportunities for
advancement because the cost of privilege in our society is the underdevelopment of vast sectors of the community,
specifically ours. We strive to address oppression by working side by side with members of marginalized communities
to support their re-emergence as leaders, self-activity and autonomy. These include, but are not limited to, low-income
Latino families and youth, migrant and local farm workers, survivors of domestic violence, LGBTQ individuals, families
and individuals impacted by immigration deportation and racial profiling and more. The fact that these communities
continue to fight barrier after barrier for employment, education, family recreation spaces, access to civic engagement,
and access to social services shows us that change has occur from within the institutions that govern and guide our
society and also from external pressure by leadership from the marginalized communities.
We will not be a whole, thriving community until we all choose to accept that some of us have opportunities because of
our privileges and undo the policies that are continuing the oppression of our neighbors and community members. C2C
actively works to dismantle oppression in its many forms including adultism, racism, sexism, classism, homophobia and
more through our action oriented projects within the three programmatic areas: Participatory Democracy, Movement
Building and Food Sovereignty. Our programs and projects are rooted in the cause of the liberation of our communities
and natural environment from the negative effects of oppression.