Breathe. Take a deep breath in. Let the air fill your stomach. Hold for a count of 4. Exhale. Shit is real. Donald Trump was just elected President of the United States. You are currently feeling all the feels. Allow yourself to feel it. Ask yourself, where does it hurt? Even if you are only … Continue reading Where Do We Go From Here?
An old SNCC organizer once asked me if I knew the difference between spark and combustion. He said the Movement for Black Lives [M4BL] has learned how to create big sparks, starts fires and get attention through direct action and protest. Yet, in order to get free, you need combustion. Combustion is what happens when a spark is tied to an engine. Engines allow you move things and consciously shape change rather than just demand it. Our protest and shut downs were creating fires all over the world but where was the engine? “I think that DAT is how left organizers, activists and leaders are re-inventing human possibility in real time and creating different ways to navigate terrains of power in order to end human suffering.”
The truth is my actions and inactions hurt people I care about. I’m sorry that I have disappointed Schyla, an organizer who I respect, who has defended me and who I have defended to others. I’m sorry that I did not reach out to Melanin Uprising earlier. I’m sorry that I let some of you down and that you feel that my actions did not live up to my rhetoric. This is objectively true. I talk about learning to hold each other, to care for each other, being vulnerable and loving each other in order to get free. I talk about supporting Black women. A lot. Like all the time. I’m never able to live to my own standard. I don’t believe that I say that I do, I think that I try to be clear about my faults and complicity but clearly not enough. Learning to love people in a world that only teaches you how to hate is difficult. Learning to express and receive that love is even more difficult. I love Chichi. I loved her when we argued over process and I loved her when she walked away from me in Virginia. I wish that she could have heard me in those moments when I told her I love her. I did tell her though. And I did try and show that to her by trying to come up with a process to resolve our conflict in the park that day. That was not how Chichi wanted me to show my love and that’s real. ... I am beautifully flawed human being. I do dope shit. I do dumb shit. I make phenomenal things manifest. I open minds and change hearts. I also hurt people. I let people down. I do strategic things. I have a lot of privilege which I need to be held accountable for. I do amazing things that most people can’t while somethings everyone else does are a real honest to god struggle for me. I put in work. My work, our work, is flawed. If you can do it better then do it better. I’ve always believed my work was necessary but not sufficient. If you think I should stop trying to organize for liberation and you are putting in work [seen or unseen, organizing, art, child care etc] then please reach out to me. The last thing that I want to say is, I joined BLM DC because I didn’t see anyone doing the kind of organizing I wanted. I hope that this criticism removes whatever pedestal folks have placed us on and cause more people to join the movement to organize how they think it should be done. Transformative accountable community power exist in abundance, it is all of our birthrights. Going forward I will try to hear the criticism that folks are making about me and my work. I will reach out to people to hear your thoughts. Please remember that communication works both ways. I won’t have the time or energy to reach out to everyone. I don’t know who all feels some kind of way. I want to do better. I will do better. But I will always falter. That’s what community is for. Thanks for bearing with this long post. Aaron
**This poem was composed based on my reflections during a workshop called "Undoing Patriarchy and Unveiling the Sacred Masculine" at the Brooklyn Zen Center this weekend. ** stone silence warmed by depth of earth firmness beating heart rested softly on steel He held me in honor caressed me against the grain of manhood … Continue reading Sacred Masculinities : A Poem
We must ask ourselves, in what ways does our relative silence assert consensus with the state over what bodies and lives are disposable? Why are we still holding on to the hope that there is enough justice in this system for it to absolve itself of the blood of the most marginalized among us? Why are we so hesitant to admit that we are in a deadly struggle for the very soul of humanity in which the slow, obscured genocide of Black people by the state is merely one devastating front.
Last weekend I got the distinct privilege to go on a leadership retreat in the Bay Area put on by the Buddhist Peace Fellowship which focused, in part, of their Build/Block/Be framework for spiritually in-tune social justice work. Below is a brief overview [at least of my understating] of that frame work and poetic reflection … Continue reading Building-Blocking-Being [or things I learned from Buddhists]
When we return in the whirlwind we will burn everything. Burn the police stations where they strap their guns on Burn the corner store where they get their coffee Burn the laundry mat where they wash our blood off their uniforms Burn the bank that foreclosed on our mother’s house and where they cash … Continue reading Eulogy for the parts of us that died with #AltonSterling
Context of the Need for a Liberated Culture We now live in a world in which corporations are finding new ways to make money off of our private lives. This is clear through apps like task rabbit, which show that some workers are so busy working that they have to outsource their errands to workers … Continue reading Preliminary Elements of a Liberated Culture
“Identity politics are political arguments that focus upon the interest and perspectives of groups with which people identify. Identity politics includes the ways in which people's politics may be shaped by aspects of their identity through loosely correlated social organizations. Examples include social organizations based on race, class, religion, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, ideology, nationality, … Continue reading A Brief Defense of Identity Politics and Intersectionality
Please closes your eyes, make yourself comfortable and reflect on these words. Forget any misgivings or preconceptions you may have about meditation. This is intended to help folks trying to process today's violence. As my friend Marybeth says, it’s not that serious. Just make yourself comfortable. Relax and reflect upon my words: Honor … Continue reading Meditation for Queer Bodies