Notes to an Activist Feeling Overwhelm and Despair (Notes to Myself to Rise Again and Again)
By Chris Crass (December 4, 2018)
We are up against the brutality and toxic culture of oppression, the sinister and devastating divisions of supremacy systems, and in our work of building and uniting a majority for racial, economic and gender justice, how we treat each other, and how we treat ourselves, is vital.
We must build what we are for, as we work against that which we oppose, and creating liberation culture rooted in our values and in our love, is key. We come together against all that wants to destroy and divide us. We continue to fight for liberation even when supremacy systems tell us we will never win. We refuse to be used, to be pitted against each other, and instead we actively create liberation values, cultures, organizations, alliances, and strategies and declare, we will all get free, together.
For white people outraged by the racism all around us and not sure what to do. For men who want to end the nightmare of sexual violence, but don’t know where to start. Overwhelm and discouragement are prevalent, and our lives as white people and as men who want equity and justice call us into action. We need sources of guidance, inspiration and nourishment for anti-racist and feminist work, for forging new identities rooted in liberation and love rather then domination and division, and for joining in multiracial, women-led efforts to all get free.
And we declare – in ritual, in protest, in organizing, in how we cry, make love, share meals, build community, raise our children, reach out and hold on, open our hearts and raise our fists – “Supremacy systems, you cannot have us. You cannot have our minds, hearts and bodies. We refuse your logic of division and destruction. We will be free!” We find courage in past movements, we gain strength in building alliances for racial, gender and economic justice, and we remember and reclaim our power through liberation cultures rooted in love and hope. We find our place, our purpose, make meaning, in the living traditions of those who have come before us. The victories, defeats, songs, poetry, insights, relationships, brilliance, shortcomings, tenderness, imagination, solidarity, and magic of our peoples’ movements.
And we ground ourselves in the knowledge, deep in our hearts, that we are the ones our ancestors fought for and we are the ones building for the generations before us. We are not alone, and each day gives us opportunities to know more fully the power we have for collective liberation.