I know how it feels to receive the news… to hear something that reminds you we do not live in a just world. We do not live in a society of equality, equity, or fairness. We do not live governed by systems and laws that are created, upheld, and executed in a well-balanced manner. We do not have the right to rebel against injustice, and we do not have the safety to blow the whistle. Our metaphorical house is filled with demagogues, appealing to a demographic majority that would oppress and wipe out all those who they don’t like to “see” because of our colour, poverty, language, gender, sexuality, history, or whatever else they deem repugnant.

In the cities they hunt us down. In the country they scorch the earth, poisoning our wells and river banks …all for some indirect piece of a greedy pie. Its all greed. Greed and carelessness. We are like bitter corn to them, our bodies ripe for harvest, ready to be ground into something for livestock. And this is how we grow up…their stink on our backs like a thick film on top of all that is beautiful. It covers the plants and butterflies… the deer and the broad leaf trees… the moon and the constellations, which still dance around the north star- that star of freedom. It burns like hot grease on the brows of all those who work for a life, and do the best they can for their kids- try to give them good things, fill their minds with strong ideas, fill their bodies with tasty food. And it cuts, like a shear cuts away the softness, leaving us naked and exposed, and endearing us to the evil eye of a careless gun, or an imposing knee.

I know how it feels to receive the news.

And as recipients of the news, we become unwitting bearers of the same. Our bodies as repositories of problematic information written on our skin. And we regurgitate what they tell us in the form of shrill cries and clenched fists only to be mocked as mere rioters. As if lashing out against oppressors can be rightly compared to a sports mob. Rioters. We take the insults because no matter what we do, they come. And those of us who are Zion inclined remember that it is better to be ridiculed by an oppressor than praised. So we sing while we are mocked, and our heart beats become drum beats, and our gestures become chants. Our whole lives become a missile in the system, shattering it to bits. And as we shake them, they rattle so hard that when they take aim, they miss.

Our willingness to care for one another is what sets our actions apart. We fight to help our kids grow into leaders, with strong hearts and minds, able to move their generation past our turmoil and into their own idealised peace. We fight for our elderly, to hear their stories so we can be bridges between generations. We fight to know and share who we are with each other before the obituary. We fight not just with our words but with our lives, so that our very breath becomes resistance.

I know how it feels to receive the news.

But, this time I am going to remain honest with myself, not just about the problems. Because problems are like yokes, fastened tightly around our necks, demanding that we carry on, but it is so, so hard. No, this time, I am being honest about the solutions- that which they keep hidden from us with violence and fear. The solutions aren’t things… they are people. They are us.

And this is where we stand tall. When we see each other and raise each other, and know each other. When we find our solutions in each other and with each other. When we fight for each other. This is what we do, and this is how we win. And this is my honesty as best as I can, that I know how it feels to receive the news, that I know how I’ll take a stand.

© Saying Sooth 2020

Photo: Lorie Shaull, https://www.flickr.com/photos/11020019@N04/49972844598/