"Why the Fuck Did You Just Take Me Through A History of Europe Aaron!" This is the question I imagine my sister asking when she finally has time to read this article. To which I will answer if Washington D.C was Paris in 1871 my sister would be Louise Michel. As M4BL is planning a massive protest in D.C on June 19th so too are group of leftist organizations planning something a bit more disruptive. We have a populist leader who thinks he is a Monarch, potentially being manipulated by foreign interests during a pandemic that was led to shortages. Inequality is higher than its been since the guilded age. This is the perfect moment for shit to pop off. And when it does, we will take whatever ideas are lying around and try to hobble them into some solution for the coming crisis.
So, in general I would say that protests have been massive with some cities having intense protests that shut them down and rocked whole regions but most have been normal protests happening in places where they don't usually happen. Though, with the rabid police response that typified many city's experience we could hardly describe them as "peaceful." As intense of the Uprising in Minneapolis is I do think, though I can't believe I'm saying this, it is dwarf by the massive overreaction of the cops before and after. Many journalist are pointing out that the past two weeks could be best described as a police riot.
To put it bluntly, we need trusted voices who always keep an eye towards revolution while being willing to meet young people where they are at.
Because the truth is, there is no going back to before and we should be thankful for that. Whether the path forward is full of destruction and devastation or the ashes of the old system become the fertilizer for a new and better world for Black people rests on whether we respond to what the youth are saying with healing and humble wisdom or condemnation and condescension.
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.
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.
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
“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
Two weeks ago Omolara Williams McCallister and I spoke at a regional UU conference at All Soul's that was centered around Black Lives Mater and racial justice. Also speaking that day was Alonzo Smith who is a professor of Black history. I decided to turn our talks into a podcast but unfortunately have been super … Continue reading Emerging Analysis, Relationshit and Transformative Love
**Unlike most essays on the well examined life, this essay is in response to a series of specific conversations in which specific questions arose. This essay is written for Standing Up For Racial Justice’s DC chapter as part of our own going conversations about rethinking the white-allyship role and journey. Specifically, this is part … Continue reading The Case For Inter-Personal Reparations