When I think about movements of progress and innovation, I picture courageous leaders. These women, men, and even young folks that are passionate, or inspired by their communities, the wrongdoings that overarching systems of power have weighted on them, decided that enough is enough. They may have been fearful, but they took up their arms of power, their voices, their bodies, their writing, their minds and showed up for their brothers and sisters. We all make a choice every day. Do we want to stay silent during this pivotal time, where our rights are being stripped? As a Black queer woman, I feel like it is my time to stand up (as we always have). I may not have that much money, but my words are rich. When we get up to serve, with conviction, dignity, selflessness, and intellect individually, we make a decision to use our power and talents to see progress. We do this to elevate ourselves out of poverty, out of degradation of our image by our families and culture or by media perpetuations, from flawed institutions such as religious spaces. For example: How can you be a part of a religious institution that is supposed to be your home and comfort when you cannot bring all of yourself to it? Checking your struggles at the door for a spiritual session that forces hurt people, scarred people, broken people, to join you, only if they have to dress up their problems with a smile and a suit, or force themselves to feel a spirit that is just simply not there. Why would a person want to contribute to that divide that patriarchy brings, when we are just a fraction of the way for progress for all women in America, and globally? Religion should be rooted in peace and healing; we really come to religion because we are afraid, or broken, or damaged, to cry out and seek comfort. But what we end up with is shame and short-lived bursts of hope. Without social action we will continue to give into the failed system that is leaving us so disconnected, forgotten, angry, and without abundant good.
Being completely honest, when I held my demonstration against this Trump administration in 2016, I advertised all throughout my diverse campus. My demonstration was a safe space for students to write, vent, and be supported in their emotions after the election of an unqualified candidate. Who showed up to the demonstration? All women, but in particular all women of color. Who showed up in opposition in "battle inspired gear" in support of this unqualified presidential elect? White men. It's the same story: the Black queer woman galvanizes the community in peace and love for all. This is often met with fear and hate from White men strapped to the chains of the past, or to fear of a future that neglects them? I can only speculate. But what I do recognize is that it requires selflessness and power to show up for anything that you are in support of. So that is why I showed compassion to these two male Trump supporters. At the end of the day, we belong to the same community: the human community. If we are busy fighting each other, then we will be distracting ourselves from finding common ground, and building a world where we are all truly free. A quote that I recently heard from a very wise woman is "Love is the only law." That mentality and a realization that what we crave is almost identical. We want justice, peace and love, we want a safe community, we want to be healthy, we don't want to be hungry, and we all want a chance at this beautiful dream of what America should be. This country could be a Mecca for all human beings to have a shot at truly fulfilling our human needs, and most of our wants. But what is in the way is fear of the unknown. There has rarely been a time in history when folks of European descent were not capitalizing, colonizing, or oppressing a group of color, whether that was intentionally or not. Why does it seem more arduous to get our White sisters to show up for peaceful demonstrations that serve all people and not just themselves? Why does it seem that we Black women are fighting more, but still earning less? We are still less successful, and ending up at the bottom of the totem pole for resources and a flourishing community.
These questions are troublesome to hear, but this is reality. It is going to take the most disenfranchised folks stepping up, telling their truths, being aware, donating their money, and getting serious about an issue that bothers them to mend what this Trump administration is trying to break permanently for progressive people. It is also going to take all of our sisters and brothers in all cultures and communities to show up for people that may be unconventional, prejudiced by family members, or that we have never been friends or neighbors with, and treat them as they are our own blood we are fighting for. Simple ways that we can all show up to the myriad of social issues that we face are to: Bring your passion, bring a friend or family member with you to struggle together, utilize your talents and gifts as a tool for active change, learn how to work as a team, learn how to listen, and most importantly, know how to break down what you learned to your community and the people that look up to you. Think about a time when you were most afraid, you felt panic maybe or doubt and anxiety? But two outcomes are critical from these experiences: they are unforgettable and you made it stronger on the other side. So I am encouraging us to get up, get away from your TV screens, read, get educated, get into your communities, or tap into your skills to help people other than yourself. It is truly satisfying work, and I can say one hundred percent that everyday it is worth it.