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It Is Time to Reclaim Our Future

“The road to economic recovery should not be across women’s backs.”

This is the first sentence of the feminist economic recovery plan put forward by the State of Hawai’i. Released last month, the state’s commitment to center the voices of marginalized communities as it rebuilds post-COVID is a central theme of the plan. They define these populations as those who suffer from the overlapping impacts of sexism, racism, and classism, with a focus on Native Hawai’ians and immigrants.

The plan’s approach is inclusive, and its vision bold. “We hope to make space for community ideas that speak not only about response and recovery, but also of repair and revival: repair of historic harms and intergenerational trauma playing out as male domination, gender-based violence, economic insecurity, poor health, and mass incarceration,” it reads. “It is clearer than ever that capitalism could not care for us during COVID-19. Now is the time to prioritize a revival of place-based practices and knowledge, and self-determination.”

If fully implemented, Hawai’i’s plan will be nothing short of revolutionary. 

Meanwhile, on the other side of America, in my home state of New York, there is similar rhetoric about the need to reimagine society. Except in this case, the ideas are not just less inspiring—they might actually help uphold the status quo.

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