What does it mean to be oppressed?
Oppression defined: prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or control; mental pressure or distress
Who in our midst are oppressed?
What does that look like?
I would say that the most extreme level of oppression are those who are in fear of their own lives--people who live day to day in violent locales and worry about survival.
The next level are those who are without essential basic needs including love and care, health, food, shelter, clothing, and education.
Then those who are denied their rights because of prejudice towards their race, religion, body type, sexual orientation, economic class, gender, and more.
Those who are oppressed carry a large burden on their shoulders every day. This burden serves to discourage and/or enrage, and this discouragement and anger plays itself out in many ways.
How do we move beyond oppression in our world?
First, it's important to look at our own personal relationships in our family, neighborhood, and communities. Do we oppress with our language, attitude, and actions? Can we better empower those we love and live with.
Then we need to look at our teaching and learning organizations, who has the power and who does not? Who feels down and discouraged, and who is engaged and energized? How do we lift up those who are feeling oppressed?
After that, we can look at the greater society and world, and see where we can contribute to overcoming oppression.
An energized, empowered people have the potential to build and develop wonderful families, neighborhoods, communities, countries, and world. The way we contribute to this positive energy and empowerment matters. This presents a good challenge to all of us.