A Black Woman's Rant
I am on a Rant!
Humanity according to Webster's is “the quality or state of being human. : the quality or state of being kind to other people or to animals. : ALL people.”
The news of Trayvon Martin gutted me. Eric Garner's public execution took my breath away. The spirit of Sandra Bland haunts me. And, the murder of Philando Castile brought me to my knees.
I am on a Rant!
I write, live, and breath for love. I believe love is the most transformative energy on the planet and in my life. So much so that I have made love my mission. I pray. I meditate. I love! And, at the end of the day, I still want to slap the shit out of somebody! Why, because I also believe that “Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”
After 400 years of slavery and oppression in this country, my soul grieves! I grieve for the families and victims of crimes against people of color. I grieve for the reported and documented accounts of physical lives that have been taken. I grieve for the countless unreported and undocumented ones as well. My soul grieves for humanity that seems lost in the dis-ease and legacy of hatred and violence passed through generations. My soul grieves for the lives and the minds that have been lost because of the mental chains of abuse that still linger.
I pay homage to our ancestors who have carried us on their backs through this journey. I honor each of us who are working to be the best version of ourselves as we choose to rise above the hypocrisy. I see you! I hear you! I am you!
Regardless of ones background of origin, I understand that being human is a multifaceted experience. I can attest that being black in this country is also an exhausting one! It is one that requires a consistent and diligent eye of mindfulness to dismantle the negative self talk that society feeds us.
On any given day, people of color hear messages about ourselves and our communities that infiltrate our psyche and work to undermine our spirit of resiliency. We hear messages like:
“We are loud, ignorant, violent, underachieving, high risk, minority, extinct, tokens, mascots, unworthy, broken, bad mothers, promiscuous, lazy, dead beat dads, inadequate, poor, criminal, inferior”, and our lives don't matter!
There is no denying that racism is alive and well woven in the fibers of our culture. Communicated by all institutions, these messages (and many more), are highlighted in a highly recommended dismantling racism workshop, dRworks. I had the opportunity to attend one of these workshops sponsored by the beloved community of the Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Durham, NC. It was facilitated by Michelle Johnson and Tema Okun.
Through my experiences as a black woman, I have felt everything that has been projected through these messages. An empath, I cried with the realization that I wasn't crazy! As a participant in the workshop we were all a witness to the self system of internalized racial inferiority and learned about what happens as a result of this internalization: Confusion, tolerance, powerlessness, anger, apathy, denial, colorism, shame, assimilation, rage, protectionism, invisibility, and emotional numbness.
And, despite the positive affirmations we may receive at home and/or in our communities, these messages still affect our individual and collective psyche. Thus, our self concept is limited, our self-esteem is lowered and corrupted, our self-image is negated, and self-love is absent.
Exacerbating my grief is the realization that there is no real escape beyond exercising our spiritual practices and participating in the work of dismantling racism. Post traumatic slave disorder is real! May the bells of freedom ring with a fervor that has never been felt before and may it not take another 400 years to undue the damage.
I am a human Being! On a super high energy day, I feel invisible knowing that within the palm of my hands and the power of my mind there is unlimited potential to heal, to create the life that I desire, and to make a positive impact in the world. On a good day, regardless of my circumstances, I feel empowered and aligned with thoughts that I am one with the presence of God. On these days I see choices, opportunities, hope, and awaken with new possibilities. On a bad day, I may feel disheveled and tired knowing that I have some how steered off course. And on my worst day, I may feel deep sadness, hopelessness, despair, or anger. I am human!
As I participate in the evolution of my soul, my intention is to rise above unsupportive self talk so that I can live my best life and empower others to live theirs. I will work to listen to that still small voice within me and know that as I travel, each step I take is leading me to my greatest and highest good (for myself and those around me).
I am on a Rant!
“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”
Australian Aboriginal Elder Lilla Watson
Several weeks ago I had a candid conversation with my sons about their feelings about the recent accounts of police brutality and killings of unarmed black men. I should not have been surprised when the response I received was apathetic and numb. Without putting the conversation on blast in this moment, it hurt my heart as it hurt my heart to watch Philando Castile die on camera for the world to see.
Philando Castile, death by police
As an agent of love, I want to offer this:
Every step we take begets another step. If you want to get involved take a step!
If that step starts with a rant from your home- rant!
If that rant takes you to your social network-rant then step!
If that rant takes you to joining new groups-rant then step!
If that rant takes you to asking questions and questioning everything- rant then step!
If that rant takes you to signing a petition-rant then step!
If that rant takes you writing a letter to a politician in your area- rant then step!
If that rant takes you to a rally or a vigil-rant then step!
If that rant takes you to a protest-rant then step!
If that rant takes you to knocking on doors to register people to vote- rant then step!
If that rant takes you to being arrested for standing up to what you believe in- rant then step!
If that rant takes you to reading books that inspire you- rant then step!
If that rant takes you to going back to school to re-educate yourself and your people- rant then step!
If that rant takes you to becoming a leader in your community- rant then step!
If that rant takes you to organizing a boycott- rant then step!
If that rant takes you to the White House- rant then step!
If that rant takes you to rediscovering how powerful you are and helps us to dismantle racism and the belief that you are not important, that your voice doesn't matter, and that you can't make a difference, rant then take a step!
This is not a sprint! But take a step! With every step, a piece of humanity is restored.
To all of my brothers and sisters:
You are important!
Your voice matters!
Your life matters!
You are love!
You are loved!
Vigil for Justice following the death of Trayvon Martin 7-21-2013