Sojourner gets its name from the radical abolitionist, Sojourner Truth. Truth was an orator, grassroots organizer, artist, political activist and spiritual leader. She took the name Sojourner Truth, a reflection of her mission to share the realities of inequity and her action to eradicate and build across the nation. The Sojourner organization strives for the same. In the spirit of abolition we illuminate systems of oppression and domination in order to aid in their destruction. At the same time we train, teach and guide the construction of new systems and ways of being based on pre-colonial, indigenous principles of humanity and the collective freedom dreams of today.
Lauren Gooden was born in St.Louis and raised in Amherst, Ma, a community that instilled in her values of social justice and equity. Her personal development was nurtured by the black, brown and indigenous in Boston where she felt belonging and found community as a black woman. Lauren has worked for equity as an activist, writer, grassroots organizer, youth worker, trainer, therapist, and public school teacher. She founded Sojourner to inspire and equip others to impact change.
In order for native species to flourish in a forest that has been colonized by other life, the forest must burn. It's counterintuitive but it is in fact the only way for the original life to grow back. At Sojourner we believe that humanity changes in the same way. Our logo is inspired by ancient West African symbols representing fire and trees and is inscribed in a triangle, a common symbol of change. Abolition as a model of change demands we burn down the systems that oppress so that we may grow new life.