Justice is a Language of the Heart

This post is mostly addressed to my white followers but could hopefully resonate with anyone <3

Like all of you, I have been bearing witness to the pain and injustice of Black lives lost these last few weeks and the swelling response that continues to grow. The recent senseless deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and now Rayshard Brooks have set off waves of movement across the world and we are really feeling it. In between moments of taking action there is a lot of time looking inward. While I have been diving deeper into my own passive and often subconscious upholding of racist systems and ideologies and contemplating how I can affect real change in myself, my immediate circle, and my community, I have found it can often be challenging to find the right language. Even writing this is a challenge because there is a lot that I want to emote, but I’m not sure what words to use. Justifying the basic right to live freely is not something that can be dignified through the flat landscape of words alone. This process of antiracism work is an inward excavation, and the energy that’s required is coming from both the light and dark corners of the heart. There is no intellectualizing this movement, or cutting it short with one liners or trending hashtags. 

We are being called to sense through our heart center so we can finally see and feel the truth and the weight of the world we are living in. Words may have to be bent, molded, and laced together. When chosen purposefully words can be like a life raft for those stuck in oppressive waters. If we are going to support and defend Black people then we have to also free ourselves from any oppressive language and symbols that we allow to permeate our thoughts and surroundings. 

As we continue to walk through this movement and dismantle racist systems, we will need to make a lot of art. We will need to write poetry, songs, and letters to our city officials. Sculpt, paint, cook, dance, and build new alliances. We are going to have to burn distorted historical texts and bring back the wisdom of the storytellers. If it wasn't already, voting and ending voter suppression is now a part of our creative practice. 

Everything we do and everything we create now has to be from the heart, because that is where the real language of justice lives. While the upheaval of old ways can feel vulnerable it is also very, very exciting. I’m so very hopeful about this new world that we are creating together, and the new world I'm creating within myself.

A simple exercise for when you want to feel more present in your body and heart space: Place both hands on your heart and take three slow, deep breaths. The vibration of your hands touching your heart is a gentle reminder that you are here, loved, and loving. I often use this tool when I've taken in lots of information, or when I'm feeling overwhelmed and a need to show myself some compassion and remember that I am a powerful and loving spirit.

Much love to you all during this time of deconstruction and rebuilding,

 

 

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There are so many amazing organizations and thought leaders who are doing the real labor that is antiracism work. Here are just a few that I've been learning from and maybe you could too:
Black Lives Matter: was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, we are winning immediate improvements in our lives.
Black Visions Collective: committed to a long term vision in which ALL Black lives not only matter, but are able to thrive. What we know to be true in order to create this world is that oppressed people, especially Black people, need to build collective power in order to create systems transformation. Through the development of powerful strategic campaigns, we seek to expand the power of Black people across the Twin Cities metro area and Minnesota. 
Black Women's Blueprint: taking action to secure social, political, and economic equality for every Black woman in American Society
Movement for Black Lives: a national network of over 150 leaders and organizations creating a broad political home for Black people to learn, organize, and take action.
Faire Fight: We promote fair elections in Georgia and around the country, encourage voter participation in elections, and educate voters about elections and their voting rights. Fair Fight brings awareness to the public on election reform, advocates for election reform at all levels, and engages in other voter education programs and communications.
Layla Sayaad: author, speaker & teacher on the topics of race, identity, leadership, personal transformation & social change
Rachel Cargle: Rachel Cargle is a public academic, writer, and lecturer. Her activism and academic work are rooted in providing intellectual discourse, tools, and resources that explore the intersection of race and womanhood.
Hannah Mayree of The Black Banjo Reclamation Project: The Black Banjo Reclamation Project is a vehicle to return instruments of African origin to the descendants of their original makers. Our theory of change is tied directly to re-appropriating our own culture by receiving banjos in the form of reparations and over time, gaining skills that will advance individuals and communities for generations to come.
Rachel Ricketts: her mission is to help heal the collective divide by dismantling racist heteropatriarchy, supporting healing for Black + Indigenous womxn+ and helping us all reclaim our freedom - mind, body and soul.

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