We know yesterday was rough. We heard and experienced stories of pain and disbelief from our students and last night we watched as our young people said, “oh hell no” and marched through the streets of American cities.
Yesterday I fielded the same question over and over again, “what do we do now?”
We go through the stages of grief and as educators we allow our students to feel this. We allow ourselves to feel this. It has only been, what 36 hours since this became, official? Some of us are stunned and our students devastated, so let’s take a breath and engage in some self care activities, especially as educators so that we can better care for all of our students, our own children and each other.
And take heed, there are next steps after self care.
The CREAD “we gon’ be alright” educator as activist stay woke plan for demolishing white supremacy, patriarchy, and institutional racism in the pursuit for freedom and liberation for Diasporic people.
Whew! Mouthful. You know this is the first version so expect changes. 🙂
1. Feel. It’s ok, it’s necessary to rest, to take a break. We have a long hard walk in front of us. We must rest and take mental, physical, emotional and spiritual care of ourselves. “Caring for myself is not self indulgent. It is self preservation and that is an act of political warfare.” –Audre Lorde
2. Educate ourselves. Part of the reasons we feel so much despair is because we are so disconnected from the ways our forefathers and foremothers overcame dire circumstances in order for us to be where we are or thought we were. Our history has been so diluted, white washed, pacified and made impotent that we are lost in the wilderness and we are afraid. But fret not, fear runs away when confronted by love. To educate ourselves about the lives, stories, tactics, successes, triumphs, will, determination and immense amount of love that our ancestors had for us will ensure us our path to liberty. “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” –George Santayana
3. Build, Seek, Commit to a Community. We must come together in small and large communities. This is NOT an individual act kind of thing. We need to gather with those who are like-minded, those who are focused on liberation, and those who are action-oriented. Yes, we can build community online but we must also build face-to-face communities. We have to be physically together. We have to learn, laugh and love together in order to ensure that we are liberated together. We must ACT together. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” African Proverb
4. Be disciplined in our actions. We must be committed to our chosen action(s) with consistency and unapologetic focus and pride. We have all chosen to be educators and chosen to our educate our kids. That in of itself is one level of action. The question becomes, what have we chosen to educate them about? Are we teaching racial and ethnic pride, unapologetically? Or are we teaching them self-hate, white supremacy, patriarchy and passiveness? That’s one area of disciplined action. But what else? We dismiss protest, mostly because we don’t really know the power of protest because we don’t know our history. However, protest is not the only action. You choose what best speaks to you and you become disciplined in executing it and you do with a community of folks that hold each other accountable, provides comfort and ensures safety.
“I for one believe that if you give people a thorough understanding of what confronts them and the basic causes that produce it, they’ll create their own program, and when the people create a program, you get action.” — Malcolm X
5. Love. We have an uphill war, this is no longer just one battle. We are surrounded. There are many battle fields and if we’re not careful, we will allow hate and fear to overtake us. But we know that the righteous war we’re fighting is based on love and freedom. It is now our turn to love ourselves, our ancestors, our progeny and all humanity with a clarity and righteousness that can never be defeated. Love is not passive and love is not easy. But love is simple. It’s the most powerful weapon in our armory. In actuality, it is our only weapon. Love does not mean peace and tranquility and coming together for the betterment of maintaining a system of inequality and oppression. That is NOT love. Love means justice. And justice is the only way for peace to reign. Love is based on hope and hope needs help through action. “When evil men plot, good men must plan. When evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind. When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love.” –Martin Luther King Jr.
6. Unapologetic, unabashed,unflinching, unrelenting love of Black people. Ooooh, this one is going to be tough for you. We’ve been raised up in a white supremacist society so to declare unapologetic and unflinching, wholehearted love for Black people feels, uncomfortable. It’s like saying Black Lives Matter and someone saying All Lives Matter, your mind is saying, love for all. Our question to you, is why do you think saying love of Black people means not loving all people? We have been socialized in a world to ONLY love whiteness and in order to prove love of whiteness we must reject blackness. In order to maintain a system of white supremacy you must maintain a system of anti-blackness. The two go hand in hand. Decolonize your mind of Black inferiority, so that we can truly love everyone “I won’t rest until Black children are taught to love themselves as themselves” — Dr. Frances Cress-Welsing
This may be overwhelming for some of us but that is all the more reason to feel, stay enlightened, draw closer to your tribe, be active, and lead with love, always. There are young faces and eyes we must look into everyday and they are looking back at us and thinking as gospel artist, Brian Courtney Wilson says…
You claimed because I was made for so much more.
I am Your child and I’m worth fighting for.
Though heavy with the weight of my mistakes,
You carried me and refused to let me sink under the
pressure. You meant for me to soar. I am Your child
and I’m worth fighting for.
These are our children, they are our charges and they are always worth it. The work is not easy and the years ahead will test and try our mettle, but if we remain committed together we are all better for it. CREAD is here to ensure that none of us go it alone.
Peace & Love