“We didn’t want this to happen; I’m not saying that. But we wanted something to happen. We all understood, consciously or otherwise, that the life we have all been living, the global economy we have created, was not sustainable. “
As the people of the world are in degrees of lockdown, we initially circulated not-always or wholly-true but most definitely uplifting information about a world that has healed itself in our absence.
We imagined that we would emerge from our sheltering in place to find a beautiful world where neighbors still sing to one another, the air is clean, animals have returned to regions from which they have long ago been displaced by humans.
But the world has far from healed itself. Abuses of power, of systemic racism, of racial capitalism did not magically disappear as we stayed at home. For black people in the US and for people around the world, stepping out of their homes – to shop, to jog, to eat – and sometimes even when they are sleeping in their homes, is a risk to their lives so much more pervasive and immediate than the virus that keeps us inside.
And now we begin to step outside, not to a healed idyllic environment, but to find ourselves on the streets. Demanding justice. Demanding humanity. Protests around the world in support of Black Lives Matter bring us together to demand that we transform into a just society.
How we get there is something that is our responsibility – every day – to get our heads around and take that next step. To make the time to learn about our history and to identify and dismantle the white supremacist frameworks that we inhaled with the air we breathed. To feel that in ourselves, to recognize it, and to act differently.
In acting differently, it may require making amends, but it definitely requires taking action in solidarity with organizations that have been fighting injustice all along.
These issues are not new, and those of us who are newer to them must follow the lead of those more experienced, and of those who are negatively affected by systemic racism in more aspects of their lives. Especially if we have always been a leader, this experience of getting in line and taking direction is part of the change we need to make in our world.
Sprout the seeds for what will be created next like a caterpillar in a chrysalis.
We will learn, rethink, reimagine.
Stand up. Support. Every day. As long as it takes. Even when we are tired. Because someone else has been fighting longer and is more tired.
Staying home for 3 months won’t reset the planet’s ecosystem. Being on the streets for a month won’t reset entrenched systems of injustice.
A combination of long-term commitments and perseverance is the only way.
To emerge. Better. Together.