“I wanted to make this a video post but I feel too ill to talk right now. Too sick in my stomach and too uneasy in my heart.
When I started doing anti-racism work fifteen years ago and started fostering relationships with people of color, never once did some one demand that I renounce my people or my family. No one expected me to get down on my knees and repent–to beg for mercy and forgiveness. Nobody took joy in my guilt. In fact, they reminded me that I am more than the sum of my worst mistakes. No one insisted that my white skin made it so that I could never love their (s)kin. No one did that because those are the tools of white supremacy. And, as Sister Audrey told us, the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.
All they wanted was me. All they expected from me was to show up. To learn why they are loveable. They wanted me to come into their home and be family. They wanted to know that I am dependable. That I won’t run away and hide when things get hard (and things will get hard). They wanted to know if I was trustworthy. That I wound’t let white fragility be a shield. That I am willing to be called out on my shit and brought-in with love and forgiveness. That I am willing to attend to my people. That I am willing to listen. And believe. And laugh. And cry. And grieve and mourn. And celebrate.
I wasn’t deserving of this. But I earned it. It is called “grace”. And it is one of the things I honor the most. Once you start doing this work right (and it takes a while to start doing it right), there is no going back. There is no closing your eyes and wishing yourself back to suburbia. There is no turning your back on your friends and chosen family.
Here in Ferguson, there is a chant “This is what a family looks like!” The people here aren’t just fighting for democracy. It isn’t about being able to vote on who gets ahead and who falls behind. It is ensuring that every one is taken care of. That all basic needs are met. About knowing someone’s heart and what makes them come alive and flourish. The goal of this movement is not democracy. The goal of this movement is Genocracy–rule by kinship.
Today we march in downtown St. Louis. We march for all those we have lost and for all of those who have lost their own flesh an blood. We march for the little ones so that they may live a long and happy life free from terror. We march for our elders who taught us and who dreamed and worked hard for us. We march because we know the whole damn system is guilty as hell.
I am not planning on getting arrested today. I hope to avoid tear gas, pepper spray and bodily harm. Those are my hopes. But that is not to say I am avoiding the possibility. I will witness as my friends, colleagues, family and mentors will throw their bodies on the corrupt system that was never broken to begin with but was built this way in the hope of slowing the gears down a bit and hopefully bring it a halt.