When I think that humanity can create healing medicines, antibiotics, and vaccines; create music and art; study the stars and explore the depths of the oceans; but also drop bombs on hospitals, rape and pillage land in the name of technology and progress, and divide people along arbitrary lines like skin color or religion I wonder, “What is to become of us?” We have the ability to form our world any way we see fit and we chose this? Avarice shrouded in the lie of noble pursuit leaves the world broken, bleeding, and on fire.
I don’t have a large online platform. I don’t even have a large network of influence offline, but in the spaces and influence I do have I want to be very clear about how I view the world and what is important to me. I want there to be no doubt, whether people see this writing today or ten years from today, of what it is that moves me and what I strive to see in the world even if all I can do is live by example. I am a Black woman currently living in the United States of America. I’ve had my share of privilege and struggle. I don’t know every struggle, but I think anyone with a compassionate heart and a desire to see equality and genuine cooperation in the world doesn’t need to know every pain and slight in order to know when something is unjust.
From Sudan to Palestine, from Congo to Burma, from an apartment in Louisville, KY to a city street in Nanterre, France; Ukraine, Lebanon, Armenia, Xinjiang, it seems like every inch of the Earth knows pain, turmoil, and needless suffering. Displaced indigenous people the world over from my ancestors to the Romani people, from all the people of Turtle Island to the deepest villages in the South American rainforests to the farthest reaches of Oceania: we all know what it’s like to have our histories and ways of life dismantled or destroyed by those who believe that simply because they exist with different skin or live a different way of life that we are of no consequence. That we are not wise enough or capable enough to take advantage of the natural world around us for the gain of power and wealth. From my understanding, it’s just that for most of us, wealth doesn’t come from the ground at least not in the form of gold, diamonds, coltan, or cobalt. It comes from the connection we have with one another. Respecting the lands we live on. Settling disputes diplomatically as often as possible. When you live in a land of abundance everyone can be wealthy. Food to eat, shelter to protect us, medicine to heal us – there is no need to hoard things away. It doesn’t matter the religion, the color of our skin, the languages we speak, and so on. We are all people that bleed the same red blood and cry the same salty tears when we are hurt.
I know that violence begets violence and at least in the structure of our world today it seems that peace also cannot be had without violence. A very strange equation indeed. Words don’t seem to be enough and yet here I am. Writing to express my anger and deep sadness. Throughout my life I’ve been told that things are better than they ever have been. I should be lucky that I wasn’t born a hundred years earlier or in a different country. I should be grateful for what we have now – should I, should any of us, be satisfied with things today simply because it used to be worse? It’s not that there isn’t gratitude, but for me, it is a false premise to begin with. My people should have never had to suffer in the first place. No one should have. What am I to be grateful for? That we weren’t completely destroyed? No, I’ll save my gratitude for the day we move past our hypocrisy as a species. A day, I will surely never live to see, but for as long as I’m alive will do my best to bring about. A day where we don’t genocide each other, starve each other, deny housing, and dignity from each other. Where every color, creed, disability, gender, and sexuality is treated with kindness and consideration. That day where no human is seen as an unfortunate though acceptable casualty of a war that should have never been waged, a pandemic that could have been contained, or policies and laws created in the best interest of those who have the most numbers in their bank accounts.
I stand on the side of true freedom, justice, compassion, and kindness. None of us are free until we are all free.