This Restorative Justice Life

Confronting Our Mortality (The Last of Us Episode 7) [Restorative Justice Reflections]

March 01, 2023 David Ryan Castro-Harris
Confronting Our Mortality (The Last of Us Episode 7) [Restorative Justice Reflections]
This Restorative Justice Life
More Info
This Restorative Justice Life
Confronting Our Mortality (The Last of Us Episode 7) [Restorative Justice Reflections]
Mar 01, 2023
David Ryan Castro-Harris

This week on Restorative Justice Reflections Kala Mendoza and David examine the restorative themes found in Episode 7 of HBO's post-apocalyptic drama "The Last of Us" including:

  • the trade-offs characters make in fascistic FEDRA vs. revolutionary Firefly ideology and practice
  • the importance of staying faithful to our values even when working within oppressive systems
  • making the most of our time and resources in desperate circumstances & so much more

Join David and Kala on Sunday March 19, 9am Pacific/12pm Eastern for a LIVE workshop on Freedom Dreaming a Thriving Community (even under apocalyptic circumstances)

Kala's Instagram
Support Nonviolent Police Force

Send us feedback at

Join our Mighty Networks platform to connect with other people doing this work!

Rep Amplify RJ Merch 

You can connect with Amplify RJ:
Email list, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Website, Reading list, YouTube, and TikTok!

SUPPORT by sharing this podcast, leaving a rating or review, or make a tax-deductible DONATION to help us sustain and grow this movement

Support the show

Support the Show.

Send us feedback at

Join our Amplify RJ Community platform to connect with others doing this work!

Check out our latest learning opportunities HERE

Rep Amplify RJ Merch

Connect with us on:
Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Threads, YouTube, and TikTok!

SUPPORT by sharing this podcast, leaving a rating or review, or make a tax-deductible DONATION to help us sustain and grow this movement

Show Notes Transcript

This week on Restorative Justice Reflections Kala Mendoza and David examine the restorative themes found in Episode 7 of HBO's post-apocalyptic drama "The Last of Us" including:

  • the trade-offs characters make in fascistic FEDRA vs. revolutionary Firefly ideology and practice
  • the importance of staying faithful to our values even when working within oppressive systems
  • making the most of our time and resources in desperate circumstances & so much more

Join David and Kala on Sunday March 19, 9am Pacific/12pm Eastern for a LIVE workshop on Freedom Dreaming a Thriving Community (even under apocalyptic circumstances)

Kala's Instagram
Support Nonviolent Police Force

Send us feedback at

Join our Mighty Networks platform to connect with other people doing this work!

Rep Amplify RJ Merch 

You can connect with Amplify RJ:
Email list, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Website, Reading list, YouTube, and TikTok!

SUPPORT by sharing this podcast, leaving a rating or review, or make a tax-deductible DONATION to help us sustain and grow this movement

Support the show

Support the Show.

Send us feedback at

Join our Amplify RJ Community platform to connect with others doing this work!

Check out our latest learning opportunities HERE

Rep Amplify RJ Merch

Connect with us on:
Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Threads, YouTube, and TikTok!

SUPPORT by sharing this podcast, leaving a rating or review, or make a tax-deductible DONATION to help us sustain and grow this movement

David: Welcome back to Restorative Justice Reflections, the show where we analyze what's happening in news media, pop culture, and ask restorative questions to help us make sense of it all. I'm David Castro Harris, and I'm here again with Kala Mendoza to take a deep dive into the themes of hbos the last of us episode seven.

Left behind. As always, the thoughts reflected here and not a critique of the story. Choices are production choices of the creators, but we hope to make connections between the themes present in this story where we can co-create a world where people and communities have what they need to survive and thrive.

If you wanna learn more about how to do restorative justice work or get connected with mutual protection work, links to do that are in the show notes, but let's get to it. Spoiler alert for everyone listening. for this first part of our conversation, everything that's happened in the H B O show, the last of us through episode seven is fair game.

You've been warned, and we will talk about things that happen in the greater scope of the last of us universe at the end of this episode, but we will give you plenty of warning before we get there. So episode seven, this is Representation of the dlc, the downloadable content left behind from the last of us video game gives us a little bit more background into Ellie's story.

Kala, how did this land with you? 

Kala: Yeah, I mean, it was a really great kind of like pause moment, I guess in the plot for us to see the a flashback of. Who Ellie is and what are the experience that, she had gone through in order to inform how she moves in the world?

Yeah. What'd you think of it? 

David: Yeah, it's always like, this, this episode, like really didn't inva advance the plot a lot more forward, right? It was just Ellie making decision whether to leave or go back to help Joel. But like knowing all that about her history is so important. And I think, you know, something that we learned from all shows that we watch or many shows that we watch many.

Much of the media will we consume is you never know what's going on for someone as they're making their day-to-day choices. All the things that have happened in their past that have informed the decision that they're gonna make in a given moment, whether it's like the fight that they had with their partner in the morning before they got to your workplace, whether or not they're properly caffeinated, or whether it was something that like traumatically happened in their history.

people are making choices, not just based off of the information that you see in front of you, but all the things that have happened before. Right? And we can even think about. in Ellie's case, right? Her Fedra training, the way that she grew up in school, the way that she was socialized as a young person who was parentless and conscripted into Fedra military school from the jump that had a huge impact on how she sees the world and how she navigates the world, what she values, right?

We saw a lot of representation of a lot of what schools look like right now. Right? You know, bullies mean girls. People forcing you to be in places and do things that may or may not be what you're most interested in. What were you thinking as we were seeing Ellie go through, you know, a typical high school medical, middle school experience in the post apocalypse?

Kala: Yeah, it's really interesting how the same indoctrination that happens in fedra schools happens within our own schools, right? For a lot of folks I know in the Bay Area we had a R O T C program. We were very much like going to the military, this is how you're gonna pay for college. So seeing that more, much more blatantly in a, you know, fascist world order it was a little bit scary about how many parallels there are, but also that.

Bullying, unfortunately seems to be a never ending problem regardless of whether we're in pre apocalypse or post apocalypse. Yeah. 

David: Right. And when we think about the, the root causes of that insecurity not being fulfilled in the. We're not, we're not being recognized in the ways that you want to be recognized are the reasons that Bethany, Riley, Ellie our adopts not having healthy ways to deal with anger or express those feelings is a way that we can definitely start to like, or finding ways to address those feelings of anger, insecurity, fear, is a lot more healthy way to do that.

And if you want to think about the ways that you can get involved with restorative justice and education spaces, again, links in the description. also like when you're speaking to, you know, the caring adults in a space, like, I think you can make an argument that Captain Quang was somebody who demonstrated.

Some level of compassion in that space as the maybe principal, headmaster, drill sergeant, or whatever you wanna call him in, in that space where he did show compassion. And, you know, we kind of do see like the both sides of fedra versus the fireflies fed dressing. Like, Hey, we're providing safety because.

Safety and security, and we've talked about that on previous episodes. The difference between like enforcing security where it's, instead of generating safety from a community perspective. But when we think about, you know, Fedra is providing like some kind of needs for a community so people can at least survive.

And the fireflies are looking for something a little bit more liberated. Not necessarily using the healthiest means to get there. We can talk about that in a bit. . I think this is a parallel argument to the police state, right? Where you can have compassionate people who, or people who demonstrate compassion in the roles of law enforcement and the thing that they're perpetuating, the security state at the expense of violence sanctioned by, you know, in our case the state in Fedra's cases, I guess fedra having like,

Really shitty consequences for everybody who lives under that. Right? both of course for the citizens who experience that violence and while Boston might not be at the same level of police violence as what they talked about Kansas City being in episode, what was that? Four and five? Yeah, four and five.

There are lots of ways that the people within the city of Boston, in the Boston qsi have been harmed and, you know, fedra officers not having the greatest life either. Right. Thinking about the Fedra officer in the first episode, who Joel was selling drugs to, right? Thinking about the life that Riley might have led as a fedra officer, as a fedra security person.

Supervising people's shovel shit, right. Or supervise people burning bodies. Right. That's not, that takes a toll on people too. And so like, when we're thinking about compassionately building these oppressive structures, it's great that there's compassion, but like, what if we imagine something different?

And I think that's what the fireflies are doing, and Captain Quang just doesn't see that. 

Kala: Yeah. I think that it, I mean like that's the issue with. Fascist states right there were nice Nazi. . Right. there was this one image, I rem I recall of a group of I think that they were Hitler youth.

They were just like having fun in the park. It's what it looked like, but they were in Auschwitz. And I think. That you can uphold an oppressive system and benefit from it and still be, you know, you can still consider yourself a nice person, but do we need nice people or do we need people who care about the collective wellbeing that isn't just in a state of survival mode?


David: Right. Yeah. Like I think about a framework that's come up a lot in the show of like, endure and survive, right? What what comes to mind for me is like, you know, conform and survive, right? And it's not about thriving, it's about like, What is the thing that we need to do to get to the next day?

And like, we definitely understand, and I'll speak for both of us, like we definitely understand like the day-to-day choices that people make that are upholding systems of white supremacy, domination, and patriarchy. Right? We all participate in those systems and it is our everyday choice to decide like when or when we're gonna betray the system or not.

Right? we both pay cell phone bills, right? And the cell phone companies of choice, right? Spend part of what they do, send part of their. Revenue on like helping build satellites that are used for drone strikes.

Right. We both pay taxes. Right. And so much of our, both local and federal taxes are to operate the US military industrial complex, which neither of us are okay with on like moral level. And we still do it right? what are the active steps that we're doing to betray the system?

Like for some of us it might look. Allocating resources that we get from our jobs or whatever streams of revenue that we have to people, to communities, to causes that we care about. It might look like how we're spending our time on the day-to-day. It might look like, it might look like having those moment to moment conversations with colleagues, friends, relatives, about life being a different way. But you know, in a lot of ways we are trapped being, you know, some version of a compassionate Captain k Quang, 

Kala: Yes. I think you. We are trapped in a system, but that doesn't necessarily mean that we can't etch away at the corners. Right. I think what we've seen in the last 20 years with groups that have really been thinking about doing more local work, whether it's like mutual aid support groups folks building out pods you know folks sharing prepper tips or whatever were trying to.

reimagine and also work towards a world in our day-to-day that is outside of the the grasp of capitalism, white supremacy, colonialism. because I think if we don't do that, then we can divert into Kansas City, city if we are able to infuse our everyday practice with. theory rooted in liberation, black, indigenous feminism, decolonization.

I think that's, that's one way that we can resist in this, living nightmare that we find ourselves in. 

David: Yeah, absolutely. And Before we started recording, you had mentioned that like, you know, representation isn't everything and I think like Captain Quang is is a good reason why, right. Captain Quang, I believe is the only like named character of Asian descent other than like the people in Indonesia where like the outbreak might have started.

and, you know, both of us being Filipino, right? Like we are not Chinese Quang being a Chinese last name. But when we think about, you know, the ways that someone in that position had to, or, or chose to assimilate chose to conform, to survive, to make the best if he could with like this world, like, I think about like the ways that.

You know, that might have been harmful for him as an individual, but also like not absolving him of, you know, and we don't know this is what happens. Right. But, you know, you take the black character in this situation, we know that like she did not fit in well within fedra schooling, but like how much of that anti-blackness was baked into, of course, like fedra curriculum and procedures.

But like even. As an Asian person, seeing a strong black woman as a problem, right? And say like, you know, we're gonna just like, put you over there and having to like, not having to deal with you and not having to deal with your opinions and the ways that you want to reimagine the world, like, you know, Supervise people on trash duty.

And that's that, like, we can't escape those things as view. I can't escape those things as a viewer, even when we're looking at a fantasy world. 

Kala: yeah. We definitely can't escape those things as we look at a fantasy or sci-fi world because like, that's it. The, these narratives are. By the realities that we find ourselves in. But I think it's also an invitation to us as an audience to reimagine not being complicit and not being an accomplice to a, a system of oppression.

Like what does it look like to resist, what does it look like to resist beautifully and not just in ways that, involve the tactics that the fireflies use? So, Yeah. These are all the things that kind of in the, in the pale moments of the show that I like to kind of like, think about and ask myself.


David: Yeah. When you think about like resisting fascistic, oppressive forces in pop culture or in like sci-fi world or nerd culture, right. The thing that most often comes up in my mind is like the empire, the Galactic Empire, or the first order in Star Wars. And, you know, you and I are both super fans and excited for the Mandalorian coming out tomorrow as of the day of this recording.

But before we were recording, you and I were talking. the role of people who have betrayed the empire in many different situations. So like in the last trilogy, like general hx, like both out of self. Interest in self-preservation, but also seeing the way that Kylo Ren was leading the first order, like was no longer aligning with his values, like fed information to the rebels.

Right? When we think about the animated show Rebels, we think about agent Callus. I guess this is a major spoiler alert for those who have an engaged in rebels. So apologies, but like Callous ends up being an agent for the, for the Rebel Alliance or the newly formed Rebel Alliance. Betraying the empire, like using his officer status.

And so when we think about, you know, the pathways that Quang is putting in front of Ellie is like, you could like be a grunt and have like a really hard life. Or you could be an officer, like in whatever you choose to do with your role as an officer could be different. people I know who have chosen a life of safety, security that comes with, you know, six figure jobs with like multiple six figure jobs within corporate within other industries that are not necessarily about the liberation of our people. Like that feel like golden handcuffs. You can feel trapped even though you go in with these ideals.

Saying that like, I can make these changes. Those ch changes are really hard to make in these systems that are set up. And, you know, arguably Fedra being a less than 20 year old institution might be on some shakier ground and like more apt to change. But, you know, where's Ellie getting her radical political education in order to be conscious of making those changes.

You know, that's not what gets presented to us in the show, but like those are the things that young people making career choices, people who are my age or older your age right, are constantly making about am I gonna continue to keep the safety and security or like the predictability of these conditions that I've built?

Built, sustain a life for myself, or are we gonna do something different? And I'm not, this isn't an argument for people to, you know, quit your jobs and, live in a commune . Right. That's not necessarily an argument for that. Right. But like, what are the trade-offs that we're making to make those trade-offs consciously?

Kala: Yeah. I, I mean, definitely not telling folks to join a commune or, you know, start going that direction, but I think, how can we think more collectivistic like how can folks, do what you are inviting them to do? I mean, like, most folks can't go into a commune. But I think people do recognize very intrinsically that we are all interconnected. That our, our lives and the lives.

everyone on this planet is interconnected. How do we reinforce that in our day-to-day practice, in the way that we live our lives? Because I think subscribing to the white settler, colonial myth of in individuality that the individual is all that matters has brought us to this crisis point now.

So, I think it's like really getting folks to think about how do we support one another in the ways that we can. 

David: Absolutely. Absolutely right. And I think, you know, Riley plays a really interesting role in this where, you know, We're dealing with teenagers, right? A 17 year old and 14 year old who are, you know, best friends.

Like Riley might not have the mentality of like, you know, I'm going back to Ellie so I can like recruit her. She the fly fireflies. she says that's not her intention and it doesn't seem like that's actually her intention, right? She's just wanting to really say goodbye to her friend, but like what she does is open up Ellie to a new way, a different way, right?

Even though that there. , you know, violent trade-offs, right? That you might have to make in order to be a different way, learn a different way. Those conscious choices of caring for people who you are in relationship with and allowing them to know what's going on with you are, is really important at like, and it happened at great risk to.

Both of them. Right. And again, most of us don't live in conditions where we have to risk our lives in order to have those type of conversations. But it does come with emotional risk sometime, right? It can't, like, we can't feel like we are risking relationships to have conversations with folks who we perceive to have different values or different beliefs about the world.

I'm not saying that we should turn every interaction we have with those people into moments to like proselytize about like mutual protection, collective liberation, interconnection, restorative justice, et cetera.

Right. But like, Strategically thinking about the opportunities to invite people into experiences or conversations that might help them see the world a little bit differently and right. So much of what that can look like is through play, right? So much of what Riley. , introduced to Ellie, like very intentionally, was about like, Hey, like, this is a really amazing experience.

I know you, I thought of you and this is the world that I want to live in. We can get things back to where they were before, maybe through Firefly ideology, not necessarily as subscribing to Fedra. I might be reading too much into what 17 year old Riley marvelously played by Storm Reed. Was thinking, but like those were the things that were spinning in my head.

Kala: Mm. Yeah, I mean this show I had some different thoughts primarily cuz this show is one of the most queer shows about Postapocalyptic, the Postapocalyptic world. And I. I can pretty much guarantee you that every single queer person that has watched the five, you know, there were the four wonders of the world date that Riley had organized.

Like, how many of us have done that in our own lives, you know, in that moment in, in that moment in our lives when we are, may or not be. either out to ourselves or others, but we want to show such deep love and, you know, appreciation and care. For someone. We may not be able to articulate it because of the internalized hate that we have had to absorb, but we will go, above and beyond to do that.

So, yeah, it was , I was just having flashbacks of myself as a baby queer going up way, like, way extra for unavailable my unavailable straight friends who I was in love with. But, in this moment in time when. , gay marriage hadn't passed. They're living in an apocalypse.

Right. I wonder like what have they been missing? Either growing up or within the fedra education system where they're not able to communicate Right. Where they're not able to. Speak their truth to one another and to like really share that. Yeah. What, what, what's your take? 

David: Yeah. Well, cuz like this happened, the, the outbreak happened in 2003.

That means Riley was born in 2006. Ellie was born in 2009. Lots of things within the queer liberation or, you know, I'll call it queer acceptance tolerance, for like where we are, our country movement has, has progressed to and like, Like sad as it's to say like when you're thinking about fighting infected and like getting food and water and electricity and all these things, right?

Sanitation. , those things aren't necessarily front of mind to the greater public. That might mean that people just don't care anymore. Right. It's just like, whatever. As long as we're surviving, love is love, it might mean that, but I imagine , I imagine because of the ways that they both seemed to feel repressed or insecure or like closeted for.

for some reason, right? Like that might not have been the case. Like what kind of like comprehensive sex ed was happening in Fedra, like military school? Probably not a lot. Right? And ? No. It's just funny to think about like all the. Things that have been missed, right through media representation. While, and like, you know, both you and I are like, representation is important.

Representation isn't everything, right? There's a lot of media over the past 20 years that would not have existed for these two people to make connections. Like, oh, these are the feelings that I'm feeling. And like, this is normal. This is okay, this is acceptable. I can be who I am out in this world.

I mean, and like, and then like the other part of that is like, you know, 14 and 17 year olds just trying to figure out like dynamics between each other. was there anything else that you had on the date? 

Kala: No, it was just adorable. I mean, like, there's nothing I don't have an in-depth take necessarily. Yeah. But it's it, it's just heartebning to know that even in apocalyptic times, we are hardwired to show love and care for one another and how beautiful that was in the short time that it was 

David: happening.

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

so we get to the end of this date where Riley tells Ellie that, you know, she's leaving to join the fireflies. Ellie gets really, really upset, walks away, but ends up coming back. They do. Make up share a kiss. Riley in a moment has agreed not to go and they would figure out what comes next. But their joy, Alisha and newfound love and acceptance of each other is cut short by attack, by an attack, by a runner, right, who had been living in the mall.

And we can question the fireflies tactics of, you know, leaving a teenager in. obviously not thoroughly inspected mall. But what happens is Ellie ends up killing the runner, but both of them are bitten. And you know, I think the major difference between Ellie and Riley in this world is that Riley grew up with a family and lost that family.

Ellie has never really known her family. And so when we see Riley's response of just like being sulan reserved, And sad we see Ellie raging because this might be one of the first times that she's experienced loss on this magnitude. You know, as this was happening knowing what, knowing that Ellie survives and Riley doesn't and that's not a spoiler because, you know, we've watched the show and Riley's not present.

You know, what was coming up for you as you watched their two reactions to, you know, their now sealed fates or perceived sealed fates? 

Kala: I mean, it just once again showed how I don't, so I don't wanna be like, Riley was so much more emotionally mature, but I think the way that they were processing. Mortality, right?

They're processing the inevitability and already kind of like thinking through like, here are the options that we have. I think that that was all happening in those few moments. And Ellie was clear that Ellie didn't have that support network that helped to kind of like foster that sense of I don't wanna say acceptance, but to be able to process things and that's, there's no judgment, right?

If you need to break stuff because like you're feeling this rage that you got bit by a, you know, infected do what you gotta do. And also it's just like a interesting juxtaposition between their two responses and how do we respond in times of crisis, right? What are the what are the resources, capacities and lived experiences that we have to support us in coming up with our path forward?

So, yeah. Right. 

David: Yeah. Even in this case, we're like, , there is no like problem solving to save themselves, right? Like there's no cure to get right. Like what's done is done and right. The options that they have are take the easy way out. Suicide, Riley has a gun, or to, you know, wait to see what happens. Lose their minds together, right in the way that.

The infection takes over their bodies seem to be the two options. We, we know that like the third option is live, like wait to see what happens and find out if one of us is immune, which ends up happening. But yeah. I just wanted to go back to what you said a second ago where it's like, And it's not even necessarily a reflection on Riley's age or maturity that like that's how she chooses to process. Right? But when we're in those moments, what are the ways that we can move to acknowledge process, move through or hold space for the emotions that we had, you know, at the beginning of us recording together for this series, you and I and many people in the Asian diaspora were in, in intense moment of grief, right?

Where we just experience another act of violence within our community, or two acts of violence within our community. Right? And, you know, we, there are lots. Episodes in this feed about, you know, grief space and like the importance of doing like holding space for that, not moving past emotions so quickly into problem solving mode.

But you know, when you have maybe two hours or two days till infection takes over your, your calculations about like what you're gonna do is gonna be different. Mm-hmm. . And, you know, I love what Riley says, right? Two options. You know, easy way out or we keep going. and Ellie comes back with like, what are you talking about, Riley?

It's over. And Ellie Riley comes back with, it will be right, but not yet. It ends this way for everyone sooner or later, right? Some of us just get there faster than others, but we don't quit. That was definitely the, the line of the episode for me because while you and neither you or I are bitten by mushroom zombies, right?

We are living on borrowed time, right? All humans are gonna die. We're living in suboptimal conditions. . When I was thinking about this, I was reminded of the words of, you know, one of the leaders of the Black Panthers, Huey p Newton, in his book Revolutionary Suicide, when he said, you know, the first lesson a revolutionary must learn is that he's a doomed man.

And not in a morbid way. Right? But he was thinking about like, you know, you're, we have finite time, we have finite resources. We are up against forces that are not. for us, right? That are actively trying to suppress the ways that we are trying to live the world that we want to manifest. So what are you gonna do with your time?

Mm-hmm. , right? And again, you and I are not dying in the next two hours or two days and being taken over by a mushroom fun fungal infection. But, you know, we are working in a world where, there's a lot that we have to do to build the world that we wanna see. And we have finite resources. We have finite time.

how do you move knowing that, you know you're a doomed person? 

Kala: One thing I learned early on is by accepting the fact that all compounded things decay, everything passes. basically meditating upon the fact that, you know , everything isn't permanent. There is almost like a sense of freedom to be able to say like, what do I want to do?

Right? Mm-hmm. , with the time that I have, I may not have the. Quantity of all the time in the world, but I, I can make it quality. And I think it goes back to kind of those choice points that are deprived from us by systems of oppression when we're able to make choices about how we live our lives, how we don't just survive, but how we thrive.

Right. I think that's kind of what I feel like, many revolutionaries and thinkers since time in Memorial have invited us to do with the, the limited time that we have. Yeah. 

David: Y yeah. This is a spoiler. Like you can just like skip forward 15, 30 seconds if you don't wanna hear this. Right. Fedra and the fireflies don't last forever in this world.

Right. And so End of spoiler. When we think about making. Change. Right? It's not necessarily that we're relying on institutions or organizations to make that change, right? I think about the words of Miriam Kaba when she talks about, you know, hope being a discipline, right? Not necessarily relying on institutions or the organizations that we're creating or a part of to like be the end all, be all of our movement work, but, Staying faithful to our principles and our values, knowing that generations to come will feel the effect.

And of course, thinking about you know, the principle of seven generations. Yeah. From indigenous people across the world, specifically from the Hoho and you know, this case, thinking about the lessons and wisdom learned from people. Three Generat. For us to make decisions that will benefit people three generations.

To come right is really important when we're thinking about how we're spending our time, how we're allocating resources, not just for what is gonna benefit us today, tomorrow, the next year, the next 10 years, right? But what is setting us up for long-term success, even if it's like beyond. , the memory of the name David, beyond the memory of the name Kalya'an.

Right? We have so much that we can contribute and simultaneously holding, like how are we taking care of ourselves in the process? So, you know, we're not burning out spending every waking moment doing organizing work, right? Doing radical political education, not doing. Citizen protection app protests, right?

Like doing that 24 hours isn't the thing to do either , right? But it is a invitation to make, again, really intentional, conscious choices about how to allocate time and resources and who to build with Beyond organizations, right?

Fedra, fireflies, both out for protection of people. But you know, who do you organize with? Who are the people? Who are the people who are values aligned with you? That will help build the world that you want to live in.

This episode is bookended right at the beginning and end by Ellie In this abandoned house that she's taken Joel to, right? So at the beginning she's making the choice whether to leave or stay with Joel to save herself or to, you know, try to get Joel better. And at the end of this episode, she makes the choice to, forego trying to go back to Tommy for safety and figure out what she can do to help Joel in that moment.

You know, again, plot wise, this was something that happened probably within minutes. But like it was backed up by this knowledge of Riley's words, like, you know, that we don't give up. I don't want to give up, right? We don't quit on the things that are important to us. We don't quit on the things that we love.

And so she does make the choice to, against Joel's wishes, against Joel's, like telling her, take the gun, go back to Tommy to, you know, find some unsanitary. Medical equipment and do premature sorry, not prema. Do amateur surgery on Joel to do her best to help him survive. I think this like leads us to College Prepper Corner.

When we're thinking about like, you know, what we do in circumstances of crisis, how do we ask for help? How do we respond? So take it away. Yeah. So 

Kala: this is really inspired by a practice that a. Friend, colleague in comrade Robin Ayers really taught me. And this has been something that I've used you know, in some form or another, but really in like the last few years is one, when we are offering support, it's important for us to be able to do a self-assessment to see what our capacity is following that.

I'm trying to figure out what can you do to actually support, what are the things, because like the last thing you want to do is to put the onus or the burden on the person or the community asking for support to be like, oh, hey, what do you need? They may not be in that space, but by assessing, okay, so I have the capacity to hold space for someone.

Capacity to you know, buy them dinner, have the capacity to take care of their kids for the weekend, whatever it is. To be able to have that and to offer that those who have been directly affected by violence or who are going through a crisis moment. And I think Ellie had done this in the in the show.

Right after making the decision to stay with Joel is like, okay, so what can I do? They probably had some basic first aid training, so that's, that's what their offering was. So by doing an assessment if, if we want to be someone that. Offer support in a collectivistic way reinforcing someone's agency and autonomy.

It's really important that we do that self-assessment to identify our capacities, resources, and what our offerings are, and then to offer those to those that need it. And those that have asked for it. Otherwise we continue to put the burden on on them. And I think the more we get into this practice, the easier it is for us to articulate and to Make it very clear to others, like, how do we show true community care?

When it isn't like offhanded, like, how are you? It's so loaded. Right? Yeah. So, yeah. 

David: Yeah. I mean, like what this requires, right? Is is a couple things, right? When we think about restorative justice being about relationship, the first relationship that you have is the relationship with yourself. So you know, again, proactively how are you taking care of yourself.

So like you are able to be functioning on the highest level that you can be of the most service that you can. Also because you just. Deserve it and you're a person worthy of self-love and self-care. But like in those moments of crisis, like it's the whole, like, make sure that your cup is filled before you're going to like, pour into others or, you know, put your oxygen mask on before you're taking care of, of other people.

And you know, Everybody makes those calculations on a day-to-day. I think the, there's a, there's a myth of balance that like, you know, spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, like you're always, you can get to a place where like you're at a hundred with all of those. I don't think that's realistic.

, it might be if you reached, you know, enlightenment in that sense, holler at your boy , right? But you know, doing, taking the moment to like self-assess about like, what can I do with the limited capacity that I have with everything, not being at a hundred is really important, right? Are my knowledge and skills best suited for addressing this?

Maybe not. Maybe it should be someone else. Even if you are like firing on all cylinders, you might not be the person to handle that particular situation. The other thing that it brings to mind though, is when we're thinking about, you know, who are the people that we're reaching out to? What are the things that we can, what are the conversations that we can proactively have with them, but like, when this happens, this is what I need from you.

This is when this happens, this is what I can do to support you. Right? We don't have those conversations very often and it makes the process of responding to crises, to violence, to trauma in whatever way, shape, or form. Right? A lot easier if we've had those conversations proactively, even if like, we don't follow the plan to a T right?

At least we have a framework for how we can be together rather than just trying to figure it out on the. . Yeah, exactly. 

Kala: Exactly. I mean, like how many times have listeners to this show? We have gone through a collective moment of grief, moment of pain, and we have well-intentioned folks reaching out and being like, Hey, you know, how are you doing?

What can I do to support? I think the more that we can, Help support folks into really making these frameworks as widespread as possible, the healthier our communities are gonna be. Because the reality is we're not gonna be seeing a reprieve from the violence that we have been experiencing for all the centuries that our, you know, communities have been.

In this country. So how can we now proactively really look out and cultivate and build that community care and incorporate this collectivistic approach into our day-to-day practice? So, 

David: yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Like super, super practically right? What are the conversations that Joel and Ellie had about like, Hey, if I get shot, if I get stabbed, if I get bit, what are we gonna do? Seems like they didn't really have those conversations. Right. And so like if you think about like the intimate relationships that you have, right?

With your partner, with your friends, with your close work colleagues who, like the people who you are spending the majority of your time with. Like what are the plans that you have for if and when things go wrong, right? You're not gonna be bitten by mushroom zombies. You're probably not gonna be shot by you.

Raiders, but like what are the things that you might come up in your life that you should have plans about communicating about? Whether it is like California folks, earthquake, preparedness, fire all this or the things in your day-to-day life about like, Hey, I got a flat tire. Who's gonna pick up my kid?

Yep. Those are conversations that We would often benefit from having proactively so people don't feel like you, they have like expectations, like flung on them in, in any given moment. 

Kala: Definitely. And I think you're inspiring me. maybe in the next couple podcasts I'll share how to do a threat assessment so folks can.

Be able to identify likely threats and like move through that framework so that way you can communicate it with your pod, with your family and with the folks that are around you who you built this community of care 

David: with. Yeah, definitely. And I think, you know, there is definitely a major threat coming in that next episode.

So we'll have plenty to go off of there. Alright, so that concludes. You know, not super spoiler conversation. We'll be back in this feed with another conversation with someone living this restorative justice life on Thursday of this week. And we'll be back either probably next Tuesday, maybe Wednesday, depending on our production schedule with another episode responding, reflecting on, episode eight of the last of us.

But I wanted to share again that on March 19, we're still on for that, right? On March 19, Kala and I are hosting an event. Freedom dreaming what a thriving community looks like. Links to that are in the show notes. So if you want to spend time with us and others who are really thinking about what building thriving community looks like, what are the things that we want?

What is the intentionality that it takes to build those things? What are the obstacles that we might have to overcome? Show notes are where you can find all the info to sign up. Any parting words, Carla, before we do super spoilers? Nope. . All right, well then 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. It's on you. If anything that we say in the next couple minutes is spoiling the rest of the show for you,

I wanted to really quickly revisit the fact that, you know, by we, the time we get to game too, like neither Fedra or the fireflies are really around right? As organizations, right? And so when we're thinking about. Security and safety, especially like when we're tying things to organizations, like thinking about how fragile those things are.

Like we live in the United States where the, our government as we've known it has existed for. , you know, 200 plus years in, in some way, shape or form. And, you know, empires rise and fall. Yeah. Right. Like arguably the United States is on its downward spiral. Right. The, OR on a downward trajectory.

Right. There have been revolutionary movements over the years with attempts to overthrow or. Overpower the US government specifically thinking about the Civil War, but also like lots of other upstart militia attempts to topple powers like that haven't had staying power, but their ideals have hung on for a long time.

Right. And so like when we're thinking about. ideals of movements like existing beyond like a specific organization. I think that's really important for us to keep in mind, right? Both for good and bad and like you and I are making like moralistic judgments about like whether they're confederacy was like good or bad, but like also like people can make moralistic judgments about like whether like.

the Black Panther Party, right? What, while like it still exists in some way, shape, or form, like isn't what it was in the sixties, right? And those, but those ideas have continued to like permeate the culture. And so like when we're thinking about, you know, hope being a discipline, right? Building the world for future generations, staying aligned with your values beyond.

An org a specific organization, right. Amplify rj Nonviolent Peace Force. Right? Like these are just framing, these are just frameworks that in some way exist to like, employ people to like do work that is rooted in these values and like, that's what's the most important. Yeah, I I'm wondering if there's anything there that like specifically speaks to you.

Kala: Yeah, I mean like Kind of the centerpiece of our work is around unarmed civilian protection. Basically using nonviolence strategies to protect and protect communities, deter violence and build lessened peace. We, as an organization, we don't own unarmed civilian protection as a, as a concept.

Like that's something that's been practiced by our communities since time in Memorial. I think. The the importance of organizations is really being containers for it. Mm-hmm. And for containers for these concepts. So I think when folks are trying to think about like, how do I get involved and what can I do, you know, really look at it look at organizations as those containers.

But as David was. being able to find organizations that you are aligned with in terms of values, in terms of not just intention, but also impact is extremely important, right? Because like, I'm sure fit, well, not, I'm not sure, but Fedra probably had a nice intention in the beginning to protect folks, but look at the the negative impact on communities.


David: yeah. Yeah. Even thinking about, you know, The wolves and scars. Right? So like the Washington Liberation front in the second game, which is like in some ways like a mix of the fireflies and fedra, when it comes down to it, right? Fedra collapsed. But people who were fireflies also joined this organization for like security and safety.

And what did they end up doing? Like creating like a pretty fedra. type organization, right? Mm-hmm. And, you know, the scars as they're pejoratively called, or like the seraphs who were like the followers of this one se seemingly enlightened prophet, right? Who was looking for like a way to, I guess, return the world to the way that it was through like purity and like repenting.

sins and like, well, I think like that person might have had good intentions, like the ways that she, and like then her followers corrupted like her message and her vision right, led to like a lot of harm for a lot of people. . Within like nonprofit world. And I think even within the context of you know, corporate space, like the idea of Mission drift exists. And I think like knowing the difference between mission drift and like adapting to the times and adapting to context is really important. But I am not sure of a way to like fully delineate between those two things. I don't think I'm in a position to do that with Amplifi RJ as the founder. Right. But also like when I like look at the different organizations that I see in like, could maybe be critical of when they're doing like quote unquote justice work.

Right. , you know, you don't know the context until like, it's hard to ascribe like, quote unquote mission drift to those things. Yep.

So I think that's all we got as far as super spoilers. Again, we'll be back in this feed. I'll be back in this feed with another episode of someone living this restorative justice life.

Really excited for that conversation. And we'll be back a week from now. Debriefing the last of us episode eight. Only two more to go. Take care of y'all. 

Kala: Be safe, y'all.