As a part of Harris Public Policy’s celebration of Black History Month, we asked what Black Radical Imagination means to members of the Harris Community. These are their opinions and perspectives, informed by their own life experiences and worldviews (and do not necessarily reflect the views of Harris).

Uchenna Offorjebe, MPP Class of 2025

One of the most incredible things about the human condition is our ability to allow our minds to wander into deep thought. In that mental space, we are free to suspend our inhibitions and dive deep into escapism that gives us the rightly deserved freedom to imagine new realities. Our imaginations turn these realities into dreams inspired by the past, our present, and hopes for a better future. For my Black Radical Imagination, I escape to a place where I see the poems, prayers, and promises of Black people before me who envisioned a radically different future. Their hopes, dreams, and legacies are stories of success and learnings that are all etched as contributions to the richness of Black history and our collective march towards a future of justice and freedom that’s radically better than those envisioned in the past. 

Our individual life experiences are supported by nostalgic models of revolution, and they are the instruments we play in the illustrious band of the global Black and African Diaspora experience. To our collective tune, we march forward toward a more perfect future that transcends our individually unique identities. The Black Radical Imaginations of today give our minds the grace and freedom to wander with purpose. In this, we find the mental reprieve that momentarily allows us to bask in the beauty of our dreams, and it gives us a renewed focus to work assiduously towards creating a future where civil rights, civil liberties, and humanity are allowed to flourish.

Inspired by leaders before us, we do what’s required to see these dreams come to fruition as our collective entries to the future of Black history. All of this is thanks to the sacrifices of the millions of Black lives who allowed their imaginations to take hold in movements like the Great Migration, which took them to places like Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Their visions of a better future were planted as seeds that inspired the imaginations of Black poets like Maya Angelou, activists like Barbara Easley Cox, and scholars like the University of Chicago’s John Gibbs St. Clair Drake. The Black Radical Imagination is a forever-growing amalgamation of dreams that have given us foundations of inspiration that drive us all toward a future that is radically different than our past and present.

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