You are my home; i am far away from you, my community and my family. i am deeply unsettled by the posts, tweets, and media that i have seen about you. i know i am receiving a fragmented view, a refracted image seen through a telescopic lens. i don’t know the conversations taking place, the work being done or how you feel about recent events. i know and trust that there are good people engaged in transformative conversations, but i felt the need to write you, and share with you my thoughts and reflections.
i feel displaced due to distance, but also because you are my core, my grounding, and you have become unbalanced. i feel overwhelming unease creeping and seeping in. The unease of having to justify that all life matters. The unease that i feel in the pit of my stomach when i hear political rhetoric and see the way the media is framing it. i have this fear, a fear that creating public hysteria is just going to lead to a bunch of scared white folks who have internalized the institution violence that dehumanizes people of color and creates suspicion of young people. i fear that that people who are scared will react the way scared white folks all over the US have been reacting to young people of color (both presently and historically).
i don’t want Trayvons, Jordan Davises, and Renisha Mcbrides* in my community. i want to see the young people in our community not just survive, but thrive. i want them to feel loved, valued and respected. i want them to know they are an important part of the community, not apart from the community. i want them to know their voices are heard now, not just when they have the ability to vote (a ‘right‘ some of them will never have see). i want our young people to be visible, to hold space, and not to be criminalized for it. The coloniality of power has deemed the marginal as more than exploitable, we are expendable and the marginality is growing everyday. The hyper-securitization and militarization taking place in our communities means that anyone deemed a threat to power is eliminated, whether that elimination takes the form of incarceration , death, wage enslavement, bodily violence, etc.
Even in a city as vibrant as you dear Louisville, shifts are taking place, more “othering”, fear mongering and dehumanization are happening with greater frequency. We are afraid of our own, and are actively participating in the state sanctioned policing of our home. We need leadership, and i do not think we can rely on this to come from political and institutional authority. We need leadership, which brings all peoples to the conversation, leadership cultivated in the teachable moments of critical recognition, leadership which values shared vulnerability and empathy. Leadership which pushes all peoples to be agents of change, holding one another accountable for our actions and being grounded in the belief of unconditional positive regard for all life.
Recent events create many possibilities, some of which could be catalyst for true social and community transformation. You hold within you the possibility for mass critical recognition. A critical recognition of the historical legacy of Louisville, a critical recognition of structural oppression, a critical recognition that violence does not take place in a vacuum. Genuine and on going dialogue needs to take place, we need to build on our collective points of convergence while honoring the divergences, respecting peoples knowledge of experienced oppression and growing our ability to respond to the collective human existence.
In grief, love and solidarity,
Media we create last summer, powerful voices from our community speaking out. http://wforradio.org/2013/08/14/louisville-speak-out-trayvon-martin/
*if you do not know who any of these individuals are, i have included hyperlinks to very basic information about them. i would have rather connected to some beautifully written pieces by bloggers, but i wanted to send this out today, and was unable to contact them to ask for permission. Son of Baldwin who blogs on Tumblr has written extensively about the loss of young life.