To the grieving: you have every right to be angry. You have every right to be sad. You have every right to the space required to navigate your pain.
We pay homage to our ancestors. We recognize and give thanks to the ancestors whose names we know and those we don’t. We ask them to hold us close. We ask them to keep our spirits strong and our hearts cradled. We ask for their assistance in the pursuit of justice for our peoples. Keep safe our indigenous, black, migrant, muslim, queer, trans and femme family. Watch over the womyn; they are our greatest warriors. May we be present for each other, but most importantly, present for ourselves. Ase.
We do not deserve the emotional, mental and physical assault that our communities are facing. We do not deserve the leadership we are being given. We do not deserve leadership that does not believe in the inherent and equal value of our black and brown lives. We do not deserve a leader who ignores us and lies to our faces with ignorant condescension.
We deserve accountability. We, in fact, should be combatting the structures that have allowed patriarchal and white supremacist ideology to thrive. We should prioritize protecting the sacred. We should be dismantling the systems that continue to seek our obliteration. We have every right to a safe and fruitful existence on this earth, in each of our lives.
You deserve breath. You deserve time to grieve. You deserve respite. You deserve justice.
You have every right to be angry. You have every right to be sad. You have every right to the space required to navigate your pain. You have every right to retreat into self. You have every right to retreat to other folks of color, specifically. You have every right to define your spaces of safety and stay there. You have the right to each and every emotion flowing through your body right now.
Do not be ashamed. We are all afraid. But we are afraid together. We are also courageous as we move through our fear together. We have proven this time and time again. We keep each other protected. We have our ancestors behind us.
To my loved ones who are unsurprised, I am sorry that you have again been let down. I am sorry that you were proven right. I am sorry that you weren’t — and still aren’t — believed when you should be. I believe you. I see you. I feel you. I am with you. I am grateful that I have you to move through these terrifying times with.
I am sorry that your friends were silent. I am sorry that many will continue to be; seeking to separate themselves from their whiteness and operative privilege. I am sorry that you have been expected to hold the tears of shocked white people. I am sorry that they could not engage in true allyship, and hold yours. I am sorry that they still cannot do the necessary work of defending indigenous and black lives. I am sorry that they do not see ours as inextricably linked to theirs. I am sorry if your family cannot support you through this; thank Creator for chosen family who can hold us when our blood cannot.
I am proud of you for waking up today. I am proud of you for speaking out. I am proud of you for knowing what is right and quietly believing yourself. I am proud of you for crying through it. I am proud of you for still allowing yourself to laugh. I am proud of you for being vulnerable. I am proud of you.
It is you who keep our elders teaching. It is you who keep our front line warriors persisting. It is you who keep our healers becoming. It is you who keep our children learning.
It is you who keeps the movement alive.
Because you matter.
Without. A. Doubt.
And we matter to each other more than anything in the world.
And it is because of you, that our communities stay searching (and remembering) for our ‘thrive’; because we KNOW that WE deserve it, wherever we are on this earth.
It is our birthright. Never believe anyone who expects you to think otherwise.
With the entirety of my heart,
Featured Image: Jocelyn Reynolds