Halloween & Voting in 2020

It’s 2020, Halloween weekend just ended, and Election Day is tomorrow, Tuesday November 3rd. Voting poles have been open for weeks. I voted early. So did many of my friends. Over the past few weeks I have heard numerous recounts from friends and colleagues of crying, some weeping, at the polls. This year has been scarier than any of us could have ever imagined, but it may pale in comparison to what lies ahead. I wanted to spend Halloween listening to fairytales and gentle bedtimes stories, but instead I wandered through the day and most of the night, meandering through the crevices of my mind. In moments of pause, my thoughts would land on imaging what it means to live the past eight-months as the norm of existence.

The escalating deaths and illness due to COVID 19, and brutal callous and divisive politics have played out on the lives and bodies of African-Americans, the larger African Diaspora in and outside the United States, and Black, brown, and indigenous peoples. While the world holds its breath in wait of what will unfold tomorrow and beyond, African-Americans and African Diaspora communities in the United States are laboring to exhale. We know that whatever happens tomorrow, the road ahead will be rough, we will cry, weep, knowing that momentary gains can be turned quickly into losses.

In my opinion it’s been Halloween at the very least since March 2020, and it may continue to be Halloween for sometime to come. With dead bodies piled up, and piling up, like autumn leaves, the dead walk among us hungry for their burial rites, disconcerted in their struggle to find their path to whatever lies beyond.

The abruptness of these endings has made the dead and the living yearn for rites, old rites, the creation of new rites, something to light the way into unknown territories. It’s November 2, 2020, the Eve of Election Day. My colleague, head in hands, declares: “I cannot even think about the unimaginable though it feels so close. I honestly don’t know what I will do, if…”

Dance Life 14

Àṣẹ Dance Theatre Collective

What ancestral promises are Black bodies/lives fulfilling in these moments of converging crisis? How do we continue to shape hope-filled futures whilst battling daily for life, for breath, for dignity? In what ways do we infuse critical joy into horrific space and place, and plant dignity and wholeness into the present?

How Growing Food Can Change Your Life, According to Gardener Ron Finley — TIME

Gardening has blossomed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Just as Americans planted “victory” gardens during wars and depressions before, now many are planting seeds to grow their own food. Doing so comes with real benefits, like stress relief, exercise and risk reductions for many diseases as a result of eating more vegetables. In a recent episode…

How Growing Food Can Change Your Life, According to Gardener Ron Finley — TIME

Thirty Days of Thanks!!

In the midst of dual pandemics and ongoing BLM uprisings Dr. Melissa Barber has published Thirty Days of Thanks – Journey Towards Healing and Deliverance, now live and available in the Kindle store (ASIN B08C2QDL6L). The paperback version (ISBN: 9798646708770) is “in review” and is available at Amazon.

Not With Words

“Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true” Nikole Hannah-Jones, THE 1619 PROJECT.

Since the inception of what would become the United States, this landscape has been soaked with the blood, breath, and spirt of persons viewed as ‘Other’ in the eyes of immigrants who would come to identify themselves as White.  In the process of becoming White, collections of disparate Europeans used language to deceive and corrupt their way into power.  From broken treaties with the land’s indigenous communities to esteemed documents declaring and supporting these United States as a nation, language has been used to twist and corrupt the human spirit of its members and destroy the lives of those they are hellbent on oppressing.  As Nikole Hanna-Jones eloquently points out, it is the group of racialized people who would become know as Black American whose lives, blood, bodies, and audacious hope fertilized the soil of this nation and made the United States a democracy.

Charleston 9 memorial at Mother Emanuel Church 2015

As more and more private and public institutions release impassioned anti-discrimination/anti-racist/pro-diversity statement to their communities, all the while aware that these statements will be disseminated to publics beyond their institution, the air thickens with the duplicity.  I am not the only one to suspect (know) that these statements are thinly veiled emotional marketing strategies, ritual performances of whiteness and white ideology that cloak language in order to continue the rape and murder of Black bodies and the human spirit. The bringing of truth to the rhetorical deceptions cultivated in this moment will become another burden for current and future generations of vulnerable bodies. I would personally like it to stop!! Keep your statements, save the ink and paper and electronic space they are written on/in. If there is truly good will, get about the crafting of policies and laws within and outside your institutions, change your institutions NOW, not some day. Hold your people (all of them regardless of seniority) accountable to the future world of equity and justice that this present moment is laboring for and pushing to bring into life. In short, get to the work of doing THE work.