Radically Inclusive Community Building
Tending and nurturing community.
Creating radically inclusive and safe-to-be-brave spaces.
Facilitating transformative justice in relationships.
This is our work, together.
Hi, I’m April Cheri. I build communities – both online and in-person.
I create and nurture radically inclusive community spaces for transformation to take place in individuals and collectives. Whether I am co-chairing a nonprofit board, co-leading a behavioral health clinic, co-hostessing sex positive events, hosting weekly community care calls, or facilitating transformative justice in relationships, my mission is to create and nurture cultures of belonging where everyone is welcome.
I am doing this work because I don’t fit in a culture that demands repression of self and oppression of others to belong, a culture that thrives on exclusion. I desire to find the alternative to making exchanges for belonging. I believe radical inclusion and transformative justice are the answer.
There is a beautiful saying among the Xhosa tribe in Africa, Ubuntu, that says, “I am, because we are.” Our sense of self is directly related to the depth of our being known, being an integral part of the whole. This philosophy guides my work and my art.
I believe radical inclusion and transformative justice are paths to positive change between individuals and collectives. Radical inclusion is choosing to evolve beyond the outdated, fear-based fight and protect instinct of our primitive brain in relationship to other humans. Radical inclusion is when we welcome and respect the stranger, no matter how they are different from us.
When we are radically inclusive, there is no “other.”
Radical inclusion begins with the self and radiates out to our circles of community, from family and friends to acquaintances and neighbors to cities and nations.
Radical inclusion begins with including all of ourselves in our experience of life, embracing our shadow selves and the weird, quirky, awkward selves that our culture tells are inappropriate and unwelcome. Radical inclusion means accepting all of who we are – everything about our human bodies, brains, hearts, and souls. It means accepting where we came from; what we look like; the ways we name and feel our identity; our gifts and talents; our illnesses, neuroses and addictions; and how we cope with the hardness of life. It means accepting our kinks and fetishes, our gender expression or lack thereof, and our love for whomever or whatever brings us alive. It also means accepting our failures, our regrets, and the pieces of ourselves we’d rather forget. Radical inclusion utilizes transformative justice in order to continue including people after hurt and harm are caused.
Radical inclusion and transformative justice are not light and fluffy and do not always feel safe, although they do take safe-to-be-brave spaces in order to be cultivated. They call for the vulnerability of facing ourselves in a mirror. They demand looking into the shadows of this being human and pulling out the pieces of ourselves that were dismembered and thrown away for the sake of being included by a culture based on conformity. From there we hold space for others to do the same.
Radical inclusion often requires radical transformation. It requires transformation in order to accept the “other” in ourselves and the “other” in people who are very different from us. It requires transformation to continue including people who have hurt us. It calls us to dig into our judgments and the ways we are conditioned to believe that repressing ourselves and oppressing others are the only ways to belong. And radical inclusion creates transformation because people become their best and truest selves when they accept all of themselves and feel a sense of belonging.
In these pages you will find ways to work with me as a consultant in facilitating community and transforming relationships, participate in my research for a book, learn about radically inclusive practices and ways to tend conscious communities with intention, and follow along with my creative experiments in gift economy and non-transactional community relationship.
I hope you’ll find a way to connect with me.
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“We are all longing to go home to some place we have never been – a place half-remembered and half-envisioned we can only catch glimpses of from time to time. Community. Somewhere, there are people to whom we can speak with passion without having the words catch in our throats. Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power. Community means strength that joins our strength to do the work that needs to be done. Arms to hold us when we falter. A Circle of healing. A circle of friends. Someplace where we can be free.” Starhawk