We’ve seen so much in the past few weeks that only last month feels like a lifetime ago.
In the black community, dealing with the systems of oppression and racism in this country is a daily task, much like brushing your teeth and yet the scars run deep. It most certainly runs deeper than a blank black box on a Tuesday afternoon.
When we say that we are striving to heal ourselves from inter-generational trauma, this is what we’re talking about. The ancestors would be both saddened and amazed with how things have changed and yet are still the same. Some of us have grandparents who are still alive watching us fight THE SAME EXACT FIGHT.
There are a lot of things that are rubbing me the wrong way right now. Maybe it’s petty but the way public-facing people are beating around the bush when referring to police brutality and the unarmed deaths of Ahmad Aubrey, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor as “everything going on right now” — Yea, I see this language as dismissive and potentially dangerous.
I’ve said it a million times and I’ll keep saying it. As a social justice organizer myself (When I say organizer, I mean that I’ve spent a number of years fighting, teaching, and leading the people to freedom. Most of that for free and now I have the privilege of being able to sustain my life from doing such work). I have a lot of thoughts on where we are in this fight, and I want to share that now. (Feel free to skip to where may apply)
To Black Folks
WE ARE ROCKSTARS.
I feel like we know this already but it’s always OK to put out the reminder.
The level of organization and turnout I have seen across the country has been out of this world. With that being said I hope that each and every one of you who risked your lives and hit the streets is now taking care of yourselves. As cliché as it sounds, self-care is so important especially now! Every day as a black American, I wake up knowing that the enemy Never sleeps. I now use this knowledge to arm myself appropriately.
Let’s continue to look out for one another.
Now I gotta pop your hand…
Stop passing out cookies and barbecue plates to these companies, corporations, and our allies until we start to see REAL systematic change. No amount of paint on the pavement, dedicated street signs, or confederate flags being removed from NASCAR is going to bring George Floyd back to his family or hold Breonna Taylor’s killers accountable.
Before I’ve even completed this piece we now have more names to add.
Say all of their names.
Two words — Rizzo Statue.
It’s been a long time overdue, but to see the Frank Rizzo statue in Center City come down after all of these years, after all of the people he brutalized, is just… wow.
With that being said and with many more statues across the country being removed, I think it’s very important to never take our eyes off the prize. These are great wins, but similar to the Black Lives Matter art projects taking place on streets across America, this alone will not bring change.
Word on the street is that Mr. Rizzo may find himself in South Philly somewhere. Figures.
Last thing: Is it just me or is Philadelphia turning into a sundown town?
PLEASE BE CAREFUL OUT THERE
If I hear one more of you declare a break from social media because you are “overwhelmed” with “everything that’s going on” I’m going to screammmmmmmmm.
Seriously, if I actually know who you are, I’m going to cut you off and keep it moving.
Imagine having the privilege to decide to take a break from racism because your “feeling stressed”.
While you’re muting and unplugging, BLACK FOLKS ARE BEING HUNTED.
Also, stop telling people that there’s so much you didn’t know about racism.
You knew, only people weren’t threatening to cancel you.
Stop telling people you don’t know what you should do or what to say. It’s literally OK not to share every thought that comes to your mind. Save yourself some dragging.
To the rest of you who are out here taking this just as serious as our lives are, keep going! Catch your breath, get some vitamin C and keep it moving. At the end of the day, yes this is a fight for Black lives but it is required that changes take place in your communities.
A few years back I had a conversation with one of my movement sisters. She said to me that the scariest thing a white person can be called is a racist. This was the explanation she gave in response to why most people reject that they’ve ever done anything that was racist.
A lot of people had a lot to say about the TikTok kids who are going to war with their parents. I walked away from some of those videos being reassured that racism can live anywhere, inside of anyone. No one is perfect, we don’t expect you to be.
We expect you to be present. Check yourselves. Check your families.
It is not black people’s job to do so.
To Myself/The Scared/The Introverts
We are still in the middle of a global pandemic.
At the time that I am writing this, they say we are in the yellow phase.
If you’re reading this, don’t be fooled.
This is not about whether or not the coronavirus has made its way out of here. This is strictly about capitalism.
I was really hard on myself at the beginning of the protests.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I made a promise to myself.
I will survive this.
I decided at that moment that I will do whatever it is I have to until this is over. Even if it means never seeing anyone in person, even if it means crippling depression. After a while I began experiencing so much fear around leaving my home, I had a week of non-stop crying at one point.
The streets started calling me.
I ended up spending some time out at a rally on the most beautiful day and got a really crazy-looking tan as well.
For those who may be feeling the way that I have, please remember that SELF PRESERVATION IS A REVOLUTIONARY ACT.
Please remember that Joy is a revolutionary act.
Please remember that love is a revolutionary act.
Do what you need to do, for you.
*Also note that there is room in the movement for everyone and everyone has a part to play. Petitions, Donations, all the things.
1619 — To Move Us Forward
With Juneteenth this coming Friday, I wanted to revisit my copy of the New York Times 1619 project. (Issued August 18, 2019)
I was incredibly lucky to have received a copy last summer at Afro Punk in Brooklyn, New York. I will admit that I have read different excerpts at different times but not cover to cover just yet. That’s what I’ll be doing this week.
The quote below covers an entire page, and I think about it often.
If one minute’s freedom had been offered to me, and I had been told I must die at the end of that minute, I would have taken it.Mum Bett
Imagine wanting to be free so bad that you would risk immediate death just to have it for a moment.
We are living in a moment of life and death as we speak. Please don’t be fooled into thinking otherwise.
This is an election year.
Trust me, I know that voting will not save us, but it is on our to-do list.
As a collective, I hope that we will continue to support organizations that are already doing the work as well as those that have newly sprung up. (Do your own research)
There are so many moving pieces around us right now. We have our ancestors behind us. I’m excited for change. It is absolutely up to us.
If no one else tells you today,
I love you.