“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”
— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
This week will be challenging.
Racial reckoning and healing gatherings are needed now more than ever, but they will have to happen differently this MLK holiday.
I’ve heard rumors that the KKK will be marching in my hometown on Wednesday. I have reached out for comfort from elders, those who have survived the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement. Those who introduced me to this thing we call movement work. Their once distant stories of Black bodies beaten, integration, cross burnings, lynching and peaceful marches that turned violent seems, well, all too close to home.
With domestic terror threats surrounding us, my partner and I loaded up on essentials for fear that our very existence as an “interracial” couple will offend the White supremacists who seem to be crawling out from under rocks right now.
Or, that my movement work, deemed as “radical left” leanings by neighbors would make me a target. Around the corner neighbors planned a Halloween party with round white Styrofoam balls pierced with red tees mocking the COVID-19 virus atop of a coffin for the body of then-presidential candidate Joe Biden. As if that wasn’t scary enough, I learned the following day that my husband had COVID.
I realized early in life that even when I come in peace, others may (or will) not. But no matter what stories you hear, nothing can ever really prepare you for fear of leaving your own home. I never imagined walking through a neighborhood unarmed would be an act of courage and resistance.
Nevertheless, what Americans witnessed in what was supposed to be the hallowed halls of the Capitol was not surprising for people of color and their allies. I tweeted these words in frustration: Finally, Congress and everybody can see how it feels to be BIPOC in America. We are still here, standing tall, voting to save y’alls precious democracy and not afraid. Stop acting shocked. #ThisIsAmerica
Typically, MLK Day celebrations provide me a glimpse of hope. My family dinner table and holidays were full of stories about how they resisted and worked collectively to overcome Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, and as such, is formally celebrated every January, but, truly, he’s someone we should be honoring and remembering year-round. And while many women’s names are left out of the conversation, the day is an important pause to honor every collaborator who did their part to help us move toward racial equity.
It’s hard not to think about how the civil rights activist, who was assassinated in 1968, would’ve responded to all the injustices the world still faces. No doubt, King would have stood tall and demanded justice for Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd. He would march and elevate those whose voices go unheard. He would give speeches—powerful, beautiful, peaceful, necessary ones—urging people to keep pushing for change.
For me, this is a time to heal and what I need most at this moment is to return to that feeling of hope.
Hope that this experiment deemed “Democracy” will indeed be maintained.
Hope that the first Black/Indian woman to reach the White House will be given the opportunity to right the wrongs of a nation built on the rage that looked and felt very much like a few Wednesdays ago.
Hope that every time I walk to my mailbox, I will return from a chillingly angry America.
Hope that Dr. King, in his prophetic wisdom and insight, was right and that unarmed truth and unconditional love will prevail.
Hope that I make my ancestors proud.
Extending prayers for hope, health and healing this week.
From Sunday January 17th through Wednesday January 20th, NC Team Democracy will provide a 24-hour hotline to support those experiencing an immediate threat to physical safety due to right-wing extremist violence. During this period, you can call 743-208-3563 to reach a safety team member who can assist you in developing an immediate safety plan. Team Democracy may also be able to provide emergency transportation or a temporary safe space.