Like most people, I’ve been thinking a lot about darkness. From the murder of an anti-fascist warrior in Charlottesville, to the endless prison sentences of loved ones, continual assassinations of black and brown people by the police, the brutal murders of trans people in the streets, and generally living in a world where white supremacists feel they have free reign to enact violence against people of color, the world seems like a grim place. The upcoming solar eclipse will blanket much of the world in darkness in the middle of the afternoon, and in preparation the sky is darker by the day. We’re now several weeks past summer solstice, and our nights are getting longer.
But last night as I was sitting on my fire escape, the sky like a gray light-pollution blanket, I was trying to understand what lessons come from darkness. I then realized how lucky I am to be alive in this moment. Darkness ultimatly reveals the light and the power of what is in resistance to it. Darkness does not exist by itself, it is always in relation to light. The white supremacist violence we are seeing didn’t arise from nothing. It’s rooted in our country’s violent history, and its current manifestation grows as it is more and more threatened by the powerful fight for black lives, against the police, to abolish prisons, to live fully in whatever gender we choose, to destroy anyone that gets in our way. And the struggles of today remind us of those in the past. Whatever progress we live in now is thanks to slaves in revolt, abolitionists risking their lives to fight white supremacy, the heroes of the black power movement who invented completely new ways of being and caring for one another despite enormous state violence…this history is also being brought into the light by our continued resistance.
As much as monuments to slavery rear their hideous heads, they are just as easily torn down with the power of our collective strength. In these moments of darkness and returns to the past, we are called to remember the strength of those who have come before, and the healing power of the current resistance and will to liberation. People all over the world are fighting fascism and capitalism against all odds, and August 19th is a day of resistance against prison slavery.
I invite you to join in the collective resistance, and to do so with compassion for ourselves and respect for our ancestors. In resisting what is out to harm us, we find completely new ways of being, and our healing-both collective and individual-is all the more strong as it fights its way through the unbelievable challenges ahead.