“Thoughts and prayers are blasphemy when there is no aligned action behind them.”
Today, on the two year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, 11 days after ten Black beloved family and community members were gunned down in a Buffalo grocery store on a Saturday afternoon, one day after 19 precious children and two teachers were slaughtered at school just a three days shy of summer break, it is impossible to capture the shock and horror of this moment. Truth? The possibility for legislation to stop the next horror is bleak: Washington cannot break the deadlock caused by the pursuit of money and power rather the pursuit of justice and repair. It’s a hard day. Hard, shocking days have culminated into hard, shocking years. The end is not in sight.
We are not the first generation to experience the onslaught of failed leadership and greed culminating in the loss of innocent life. But we are a generation inundated with so much information that we are not only grieving. We often feel small and overwhelmed. It is times like these where our only option is aligned action.
We are seeing the many directions that our beloved Inclusive Life community members are moving in despite their pain and trauma. We are seeing grief, poetry, analysis, calls to action, donations, prayers, the sharing of resources, the potent moments of stepping away to tend to self, the daily calls to focus via oracle cards and calendar messages. We see you doubling down.
This is what we do. This is why we are here – together – at this moment in time.
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At Inclusive Life, we ground ourselves in frameworks to help us make sense of intractable realities of racism and other forms of systemic oppression. We use them to better identify our individual and collective roles. And then we move into aligned action. And even though this suggests a linear order, this process is dynamic, layered and iterative. The frameworks guide us to action that is well-paced and consistent, albeit imperfect.
Dr. Bernice King writes, “Love is essential. But love is not a passive, weeping bystander. Love puts in work.”
The work ahead is not going to get easier. Being fearless is not required, nor is knowing exactly how you – and we – are going to do the work. We will all develop the skills needed as we go.
Spend your time in response-ability. Each and every one of us has the ability to respond. Each of us can urge and demand our communities band together and respond to the clear and present dangers facing us.
While this is a moment where we might feel as if we are the victims of our own trauma response, we may also be able to reframe rather than numb or bypass. Perhaps we can utilize this narrowing of focus today to make (or renew) our commitment to our aligned action. Write down your commitment so it’s tangible to you. Keep it present.
With escalating violence, distraction and numbing seem like the only course for relief. I encourage you to stay present even as other events, and life in general, remain challenging. Keep renewing your commitment to the present moment and speaking truth in these difficult times. Maintain that focus, following the threads of your aligned action where they lead.
Love without action is anemic. Action without love leads us astray.
We will find our way together.
In community and love,
P.S. Should we gather virtually soon?
In times like these it can be helpful to be in community with like minded people. We ask you who are our community, if a virtual gathering would be nourishing at this time.
Let us know by responding here.
Possibilities for Aligned Action
Our dear Inclusive Life member Shawn Moreton shared some important resources today that may help you as community members, parents and teachers to focus:
“A Profoundly Masculine Act”: Mass Shootings, Violence Against Women, and the Amendment That Could Forge a Path Forward by Yasmin Issa
New research finds armed officers increases likelihood of mortality at school shootings by Riham Feshir
From Slavery to School Discipline: Envisioning schools that affirm and protect Black students means reckoning with a long history of racist punishment by Anoa Changa
For political action:
Do Not Lose Heart, We Were Made for These Times by Clarissa Pinkola Estes (originally entitled: Letter To A Young Activist During Troubled Times: Do Not Lose Heart, We were Made for These Times.)