Live forward

Every time there’s turbulence, I hear the same refrain: “this isn’t normal.” And then: “I can’t wait for it to get back to normal.”

The first part, I believe to be true. It’s not normal for people to be killed, harassed, tormented on a daily basis because of their identity. It’s not regular for nine miles to make the difference of 30 years in life expectancy. It’s not healthy for information in an organization to spread via whisper network, rather than transparent direct communication. These are all signs of sickness, of a community fractured and weakened because of it.

The second part, always makes me laugh sadly. I recognize it as an attempt to put heads back in the sand. Back to a time before we realized what this smog was in the air. This racism. This sexism. This oppression.

I don’t seek a return to “normalcy”. I live forward, because I know there’s no going back to “normal”.

more food for thought

People are aware that they cannot continue in the same old way but are immobilized because they cannot imagine an alternative. We need a vision that recognizes that we are at one of the great turning points in human history when the survival of our planet and the restoration of our humanity require a great sea change in our ecological, economic, political, and spiritual values.

Grace Lee Boggs

meaningful actions you can take

  • Look for local social justice organizers and support their work with your time and money. Follow them to keep up with relevant legislation.
  • Pay attention to state and local policies. When legislation is in session, read up and speak up. On the latter, you can do that via meeting with your elected as part of an organizing group (~1 hour + prep time), personalized calls or emails to the relevant government officials (~15 min), witness slips (~1 min).
  • Get to know your state and local elected officials. Check out their voting record on key progressive bills (it’s all public!), reach out as a constituent with specific asks to support legislation. Share your personal story if you’re comfortable.
  • If you are someone who has historically been marginalized and you’ve been holding a lot of tension in your body, breathe. Give yourself the space to get re-grounded. Living through white supremacy is a real trip. Remember: this is not your fault. Find community. Resist through joy. You are beautiful, wonderful, and deserve to thrive.
  • If you are white or a man, especially a cis-gendered heterosexual able-bodied white man, do the fucking work. Learn about the characteristics of white supremacy, push through your discomfort, and reflect on how you show up in the spaces you have power. Be ready to apologize when you screw up (we all do!) and then do better. And whatever you do: do not demand that your friends or colleagues or employees or neighbors or acquaintances who belong to historically marginalized groups explain to you all the ways you perpetuate harm and how society got here. Pay an anti-oppression professional for training and coaching; don’t expect us to get you up to speed for free.

published March 18, 2021