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Radical Alphabet

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This Amazing Poster Turns the Alphabet Into a Tool For Social Justice

The "L is for Liberation Radicalphabet" turns the building blocks of literacy into the foundation of social justice.


In the Spring of 2011, a small group of Chicago-based friends shared a meal around a kitchen table, discussing gift ideas for a friend’s new baby. Coming up with a gift that reflected the social justice politics of the family and their community proved to be a difficult task, and through our conversation the idea to create our own, radical version, of a childhood alphabet poster emerged. We all agreed that the language, images, and concepts we use to teach our children provide not only the building blocks for literacy, but also communicate ideas about what is note-worthy and powerful in the world around them. We envisioned a poster in which each letter of the alphabet would be represented by a social justice concept, and so the seeds of the "L is for Liberation Radicalphabet" were planted.

After brainstorming multiple words for each letter, we had an immense list to select from. Through an intentional, dialogic process, we developed some guiding principles. We wanted the poster to celebrate resistance to major forms of oppression, and therefore chose words and phrases like "Disability Justice," "Prison Abolition," and "Immigrant Justice." We set the intention that all of the words included would be representative of the world we want to see, not the oppressions we want to eradicate; hence words like "Fat Positive" and "Consent." We also wanted the poster to be people-centered and inclusive, and thus chose words like "Elders," "Gender Bender," and "Workers." Additionally, we wanted to emphasize a process-oriented approach to social change, and therefore chose words like "Nourish," "Teach," and "Healing."

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