We have faced over 400 years of RACISM in this country, therefore it is our duty to fight. It is our duty to create pathways for change. It is our duty to work and build the paradigm for the REVOLUTION. It is our duty to show up authentically, our best selves. It is our duty to pay homage to our ancestors because their strength gives us strength and propel us forward. I truly believe the ancestors are screaming at us from the grave to fight, to stand and to build. It is the strength of their breaths giving flight to our dreams. It is beyond time we realize being BLACK is more than enough. Or are too many of us stuck believing the hurdle is too great for us to get over? Has the white normative boxed us too tightly into an impossible corner to get out of? From the grave, our ancestors would say NO!!! Ain’t that healing?
Ask yourself, when was the first time it felt normal to be BLACK? When was the first time you accepted your Blackness for what it is, regardless of consequences? When did you have an epiphany that your blackness was more important to your/our survival than to white comfort? And in those moments of revelation, I hope you know there was no ship that could break us; starvation didn’t weaken us; chains didn’t bind us; guns and dogs didn’t stop us…..FROM FIGHTING TO SEE ANOTHER DAY. Ain’t that healing?
The reality is the RACE for the Great White Race and white domination was built on colonialism, chattel slavery, capitalism, Christianity, the English language and patriarchy. Combined these tools of white supremacy have been instrumental in the control and domination of Black bodies for the entire history of this country. In understanding the gravity of these combined powers, we have to also understand the mind-phuck that took place in order to condition, distort and manipulate how we, as Black folks move in this world.
We are not American, because historically America has not claimed us. To a high degree, we are not African (even though our DNA says otherwise)…..because Africa lost us. We are BLACK though. Now with that being said…..the fact of us being descendants of slaves makes us uniquely orphaned and the burden that comes with our survival has created mental hang-ups we have to be consciously working to get over every day. The layers of who we are will forever bind us to Africa, and truth be told, America is our muther-phucking birth rite/right. Now, ain’t that healing?
We can dwell on the fact that our language, religion, and culture were stolen from us…..Toby; or we can address the facts that anti-blackness and colorism have been a smear campaign to assassinate the connection descendants of slaves have to Africa and Africans. By extension of "who" our DNA says we are, none of the trauma should ever stop us from loving the very essence everything represented in the African diaspora and what blackness brings…..WE ALL WE GOT AND WE BLACKITY BLACK BLACK. That’s healing!!!
The obvious divide in the Black community and globally for that matter is by design a tool perpetuated by the white power structure. The intent to keep us apart in our communities and worldwide feeds into the reality that melanin is a threat because it will always be dominant. The trauma gets perpetuated and the pain lingers with every anti-black propaganda campaign. We are in dire need of a collective Black voice and agenda hell-bent on DESTROYING white supremacy at its core.
Since October of 2015, when BLM Sacramento officially became a Black Lives Matter chapter there have been TONS of intentional efforts to bridge intercommunal divides, squash anti-blackness sentiments and offer safe healing Black-only spaces for and by design of Black leadership within this group. Our core values and goals are to instill and foster the love and support of one another; and not for show or play either. Trust and believe me when I say there is power in Assata’s words and it can change lives if we live every word, every day. Don’t you want to be healed?
“It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win.
We must love and support one another.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.”
– Assata Shakur
In thinking about the greater good of the movement, it baffles me that we are contributors in perpetrating the destruction of our own progress. Yes, Black folks are complicit in mocking white supremacy tactics by alienating certain segments of our community based on respectability politics, education, socio-economic status, incarceration status, political affiliation, gender norms, intersectionality, employability, and even the shades of our beautiful melanin. Yes, Black folks hurt each other, and it boils down to the trauma we have experienced….. “hurt people hurt people.” Yes, Black people argue over the pain we have experienced as if we are looking for awards naming “who’s been hurt the worst.” Yes, Black people blame other black people because we are closest in proximity to each other. But truth be told and listen closely…..ONLY BLACK PEOPLE CAN TELL BLACK PEOPLE ABOUT THESE BLACK ISSUES and effectively encourage sustainable healing and change. I want to be healed, don’t you?
The movement for Black lives is more than a focus on STATE SANCTIONED AND SPONSORED VIOLENCE AT THE HANDS OF THE POLICE AS THEY OVERSEE, USE EXCESSIVE FORCE, GUNN US DOWN, MURDER US AND CREATE FALSE NARRATIVE ABOUT US. It is about addressing systemic oppression in order to heal, educate, gain equity, receive reparations and be liberated…..with JUSTICE. With every death and traumatic experience Black folks survive through, we have to continuously deal with how the trauma shows up in our lives. And then heal that shit.
Trauma by definition is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience, like but not limited to death. It is synonymous with injury, damage or wounds. We also have to look at how psychological trauma manifests itself in our own lives and the lives of others. Sufferers may develop extreme anxiety, anger, sadness, PTSD, or they may have ongoing problems with sleep, physical pain, and even relationships and self-esteem problems. Many people in other racial groups can and will overcome trauma, but Black folks typically don’t heal from trauma because the wounds stay open, bleeding, oozing with mucus and infected; because wounds on Black folks are more than likely compounded, reopened, unhealed causing more bleeding, oozing of mucus and more infection. It’s time to heal.
The Black community here in Sacramento, throughout the state and country, have historically been suffering from what I call, “open wound syndrome.” The compounding trauma in effect changes our DNA. Systemic oppression and racism protect the white power structure that makes this reality ok. From killing us in the streets and in custody, via broken hearts and open wounds…..we’ve gotten used to the pain, the sight of blood and the lack of treatment to the infections that have us hog-tied to the very systems that are killing us. And yes, everyone depended upon said systems are complicit in the brokenness that is killing us and HUMANITY. We are long over-due for healing.
I challenge everyone to agree for the sake of argument that Black Lives have not mattered as white lives have mattered. This is evident in the historical foundation of colonialism, slavery and white supremacy, which today looks like white privilege and generational wealth. Both of whom perpetuate and exacerbate all of what is wrong with the two starkly different Americas in which we live. In these starkly different Americas, one protects white privilege and the other perpetuates oppression and death. We have to connect the dots and be willing to understand concepts like lynching, genocide, colonialism, taxation without representation, etc. In facing these trues, it is our duty to give voice to the legacy of TERRORISM experienced by our ancestors because they are speaking to us loudly from the grave. The Black American nightmare is real and must be seen for what it causes – legitimate rage and unhealed pain on borrowed time…..if we don’t confront the root (white supremacy), then we all lose. And no one gets healed.
Trauma is the reality that you are no longer safe or sacred. Trauma is the result of what has been done to us, what we do to ourselves and what we fail to do to heal. If we don’t tell the truth about trauma, we cannot get well. In a real way, healing has to be tethered to JUSTICE. JUSTICE and healing go hand in hand. For example, the world recognizes and honors the trauma of the Jewish holocaust, but it ignores and tells Black folks to forget about slavery. It is this cognitive dissonance that justifies the behavior while holding contradictory information and perpetuates hypocrisy. Thus we fight and need for white folks to be uncomfortable with facing the truth about chattel slavery because the playing field has not been leveled yet. And healing is only part of the equation.
We have to realize our internal issues are ours to work out. And white folks, be you an ally, comrade or accomplice…..YOU CANNOT AND SHOULD NOT OVERSTEP BOUNDARIES OF FIXING THINGS THAT ONLY BLACK FOLKS CAN FIX. Sacramento is in many ways unlike other cities with Black Lives Matter chapters, in that we have so-called “progressive” folks always wanting to claim SOLIDARITY to movements for marginalized people. It's like an unspoken obsession with the struggle for those who struggle and you forget about the actual people who are struggling…..when you co-opt our pain to be a part of this movement. I/we need white people to be courageous enough to understand the historical ramification of slavery and oppression, learn some more, check your sensibilities and fragilities so it doesn’t become centered, and then check other white folks who you know especially well and even those who you don’t know. That is your job. Encourage white folks to make monetary donations, to donate their time/skills/resources and give away their talents for the benefit of those who don’t look like them. Because that will help Black folks heal.
Recently the members of BLM Sacramento had a very authenticly candid and organic conversation on JUSTICE and healing came up. I know we all went away feeling a sense of knowing healing is important to the feeling we get when justice comes. It is in the little wins, be it a change in ordinances, state legislation, the punishment of folks who do us wrong, etc.....the outcome fosters HEALING. I don’t know about you, but when JUSTICE comes in my lifetime the weight will be lifted, my breaths won’t be belabored, clarity will color my dreams and the ancestors will be able to rest easy. And that’s healing.
We know we need more than freedom’s liberation, reparation, and equity…..we need healing too. I refuse to let misunderstandings, pettiness, power struggles and movement pimping squander the progress we have made in the past 4 years because of personality conflicts and unhealed pain from the trauma that is inherently embedded in our DNA. It’s beyond time we big-picture this shit…..remember the Panthers and Malcolm and Garvey and Medgar and Stokley and Mumia and Assata and Martin. Let the journeys of our predecessors speak life over our healing. Have we not learned that when one of us goes down, all of it was for nothing? And what good will that do us, if there is no more BLM Sacramento? The next time Black Lives Matter Sacramento comes out of your mouth, it is my hope you stand in SOLIDARITY with the work. Your SOLIDARITY to this work is about every challenge, every push back, every win (big and small), and the very life of every member of Black Lives Matter Sacramento to live and not die…..THAT IS HEALING FOR US ALL, ESPECIALLY WHEN WE FIGURE OUT HOW TO FIGHT AND HEAL SIMULTANEOUSLY!!!
May 1st @ 2pm - Justice for the Macon Family!! Court Support - Superior Court of California County of Sacramento, 720 - 9th St
May 4th @ 1pm - Cop Watch Grand Opening - McClatchy Park
May 11th @ 5pm - ABOLISH & REBUILD: Our Streets, Our Systems, for Our People - McClatchy Park
May 11th @7pm - Black Out 2019: For Us, By Us - Classy Hippie Tea Co
May 29th @8:30am - Court Support for Tanya Faison - Superior Court of California County of Sacramento, 720 - 9th St
July 17 - 31 - Let's Recall Scott Jones! - various locations