“The fact is, White supremacy defines our current reality. It is not merely a belief that to be White is to be better. It is a political, cultural and economic system premised on the subjugation of people who are not White. That subjugation takes on an infinite number of forms and is enforced with varying degrees of physical violence, mental abuse and robbery. White supremacy is the voice in our collective heads that says it makes civilized sense that one group of people gets to annihilate, enslave, incarcerate, brainwash, torture, sterilize, breed and terrorize other people. White supremacy establishes, upholds and normalizes hierarchy based on the premise that the less Black you are the closer you are to God.”
“[T]his is a book about freedom dreams. We’re well aware of the problems we’re buried beneath. We can feel the weight of them on our limbs, the heft of them in our abdomens as our second brains gnaw on the indignity of it all. But what does it look like for Black people to claw our way to fresh air? What does freedom feel like? How does it taste on the tongue? For some folks in this book, it feels like raising kids who gleefully take up space for themselves. For others, it looks like providing the tools we need to triumph over race-based trauma. There’s the pastor who envisions a day when following his radical, dark-skinned Jesus who always sides with the dispossessed will lift us out of this hole, and the organizer who can almost smell the sharp aroma of reforming the nation’s political system. And we can’t forget the professor who dreams of the day when we can bring our full selves to every table.”
Excerpted from “How We Fight White Supremacy: A Field Guide to Black Resistance” by Kenrya Rankin and Akiba Solomon, available now.
While I was aware that in recent years Shange had been ill, battling to recover more fully from a stroke she had a decade earlier, I was nonetheless surprised with her presence: at once vibrant, bubbling and tenacious, and unabashedly delicate, vulnerable, and uncomfortably revealed.
Like many, I fell in love with Shange’s work during my adolescent years, and as a young adult she gave voice to my confusions and questions and outright frustrations and anger about the world around me. In her work, Shange’s work gave me permission, not that I needed permission but it was nice to have it nonetheless, to belong to myself in this world and be fully present in navigating the various paradoxes of the particularly spaces/places which I inhabit and encounter.
On that May 17 morning, I was invited in to a day of paradoxes deliciously laid out on the altar of love for a good friend. On October 27, 2018, less than six-month later, Shange joined the realm of the ancestor. And, her death, made having witnessed May 17th an even greater honor and a deeper reminder of the role love and true friendship in living meaningful lives.
With a life that encompassed many intersections, Harriet Tubman articulated a robust type of spiritual agency eloquently evident in her numerous walks between northern and southern United States to free as many of her people as possible. Tubman did what was considered the impossible, and became known as the Conductor – the most famous of freedom fighters on the Underground Railroad. Tubman’s Black, female, disabled body offered more resistance to enslavement and captivity than the society at the time could image or bargained for and her fierce determination to safe her own and the lives of her people made her a legend in her own time. Having lived a life of courage and audacious hope, Tubman passed to the realm of the ancestors at (+/ -) ninety-three years old. Tubman’s enduring legacy now inspires twenty-first century activists in their hunger for freedom from new manifestations of enslavement infrastructures wreaking havoc on the lives of African Diaspora peoples in and outside the borders of the United States.
Today, March 10, 2019, on the 106th anniversary of Tubman’s death, African Diaspora women everywhere (and those who love, respect, and honor them) are invited to take walk to reduce and ultimately eliminate the clutches of early death that plague Black women in the United States and elsewhere. Take a walk to reduce stress, cardio vascular diseases, cancer, auto-immune diseases, diabetes, mental health challenges, and isolation. Take a walk to find your wild side, your labyrinth of peace, your inner divine, your way to Grace, your deep mission, your love for self and others. Take a walk to hold the hand, heart, and/or peace of someone else. Take a walk to find yourself, care for yourself, be yourself, to remind yourself that you and your community have spiritual agency and a fierce drive for freedom. Join GirlTrek on their mission to have one million women walking by 2020. It’s a matter of your life!