Our ancestors did not have the resources or avenues for resistance that we have today, and they still resisted, however they could, even if it was in subversive ways. It was their resistance that made it possible for us to have more rights, however minimal those rights are, we have more than they had.
For that, we owe them. We are obligated to look at our participation in the violence of our world. I am not accusing anyone except Mr. Wilson for the direct death of Michael Brown. However, we have to look very deeply and honestly at ourselves and ask, HOW DO WE PARTICIPATE IN EMPOWERING THE VERY SYSTEMS THAT OPPRESS AND ASSAULT US? We certainly didn’t put these oppressive structures in place, but how have we contributed in making them as powerful as they are?
Black lives matter. Not just in Ferguson, not just in America. Black lives do not exist in a vacuum.
Black lives matter in the Congo, where children, men, and women die from mining the very minerals that create the LCD screens we so enthusiastically use on our smart phones and wide screen TVs.
Black lives matter in Sierra Leone, where we indirectly support deplorable child labor conditions from the mining that yields the very diamonds we wear on our engagement rings and necklaces. No, there really isn’t such a thing as conflict-free diamonds. How is it that diamond miners can be some of the poorest people on the planet?
Black lives matter in Guatemala and El Salvador where companies like Oceana Gold displace people from their homes to mine gold and silver, contaminate the waterways with arsenic, and make millions of dollars in net revenue
Black Lives Matter in Brazil where thousands went missing to “clean up” the streets for billion dollar stadiums, while the rest of the world indulged in their nationalism and bought national soccer jerseys made at the expense of some brown Indonesian child.
Across the world, we live in postcolonial societies under systems that were created to protect and empower those who believe in the colonial system. This is not just about NOT shopping on BLACK FRIDAY. It’s about critically analyzing the kind of world we want to continue to participate in, and the kind of world we want to create. What choices will we continue to make? Not shopping for one day will not change the corporate power structures in this country. In America, 80%, eight out of ten people, own seven percent of this country’s net worth between them. That means, that our economic freedom, even if we own our home, have a healthy retirement stash, and a decent wage, is an illusion. Under this system, as long as we continue to use our money to fund corporate growth, we will continue to have no economic leverage, no political leverage, and frankly, very little moral leverage.
So to insist upon a system that functions under capitalist and colonial principles that Black lives, or Brown lives, or any lives matter, is simply ineffective on its own, unless we participate in actions that will resist and transform the systems that are backing us into a wall. Capitalism is not to improve society but to maximize the personal wealth of the capitalist. The only real power we have, is our social leverage – the ability to organize ourselves, and mobilize with a collective purpose to create systems that benefit all individuals within the good of the whole.
“We are constantly being astonished at the amazing discoveries in the field of violence. But I maintain that far more undreamt-of and seemingly impossible discoveries will be made in the field of nonviolence. ” Mahatma Gandhi
We are entering tough times. Probably no tougher than our ancestors had it, although the pain and injustices seem to be much more far-reaching. I don’t know how we will navigate through this proliferation of injustices and violence, but I hope, collectively, however we decide to do it, it is in a way that we don’t dehumanize each other any more than we already have. I hope we come out whole at the end.
We start there, with ourselves first. Rather than only insisting that those in power understand our collective humanity, that we come from the same source, first we have to live intentionally based on that idea. For as long as our very own actions do not recognize that we are all connected, whole, than how can we insist on it to someone else? Our actions must be intentional. We must #stayawake to how our financial choices devalue lives, not only here in America, but across the world. In a global society, where those in power drive an economic machine that operates on supply and demand, cutting costs for greater efficiency, growing profits, and net revenues, our financial choices are vital, if we are to overcome. It is not just about political awakening to institutionalized racism; it is about a spiritual awakening to institutionalized human exploitation.
The world has been created with the illusion of division, violence, and inhumanity. Any action we take that promotes these very illusions that have been set in place to keep us fragmented, will only serve to perpetuate the conditions we are living in now. Our responsibility now, is to imagine a different way, a different world, a non-violent world. We created this world, and through our intentional or unintentional actions, we have sustained and maintained it. The opposite of violence is not peace, it is creativity. It is time we start thinking differently, and create another kind of world. Creativity requires that we let go of the past thinking and behaviors that no longer serve us. “We cannot look behind us for answers. They do not live there. We must imagine ourselves forward, envision the world we want to create, and feel the new reality in every cell of our being.” – Jan Phillips Peace will only be an outcome of this.
We must speak our ideas, even if we fear they will be criticized and resisted. We must dare speak, even if in what we speak there only lays a fraction of an idea, for these thoughts are the only building blocks we have to a loving and safer world. Audre Lorde once said, “We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for language and definition, and while we wait in silence for the final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us . . . The transformation of silence into language and action is an act of self-revelation and that always seems fraught with danger. We fear the very visibility without which we also cannot truly live . . . and that visibility which makes us most vulnerable is that which is also the source of our greatest strength.”
Now more than ever, the greatest question we must ask ourselves along every process we engage in is, What are we living for, and why?
Post Blog: My thoughts this morning after more meditation and reflection:
If the strategies and solutions come from the same place the problem originated, unconsciousness – then the conditions that brought us to where we are now will persist. We have to ask ourselves, “What are the thoughts and beliefs I’ve been conditioned with? Are they serving me, the world? Leave no answer unquestioned. Violence has never yielded peace, capitalism has never benefited the masses, and yet we keep moving forward under these false premises. It is time to let go of what no longer serves us. Time to look at new ways of being. #Stayawake means to become conscious of who we are, recognize our wounds “and call up the courage to transcend the limitations these wounds place on us.” said it before, the greatest revolution I have ever embarked in has been my self-healing. It’s time to transform within. The external work will mean nothing if we don’t awaken to who the person observing all of this is. Who are we? What are we living for, and why? What do we want? The solutions will always be temporary if we don’t embark in the journey within. Don’t look to the past…look within.