The Anniversary of Michael Brown’s Death
(Why am I naming days?)
08/09/15, Day 14,340 (Mercena Day 359): The Anniversary of Michael Brown’s Death
Yesterday was a beautiful day. I spent the morning with my family, then travelled into the city to host Flux Sunday, then walked through a bustling and sun-drenched Washington Square Park on my way back home to Mercena’s bedtime. After she slept, I worked late again, planning for NET’s next board meeting, and working on Flux’s Breathe Free, #SpeakUp (more on that soon), and FluxForward.
Yet the beauty of the day had an unsettling and painful doubleness, for this was also the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death, and the launch of the Ferguson Moment, #BlackLivesMatter, and the heightened awareness of the black lives lost to state-sanctioned violence Every 28 Hours. It’s impossible now for me to un-see how every good thing in my life is inextricably linked to systems of oppression and exclusion; and so this doubleness of love and anger, of gratitude and grief, infuses each day and especially this anniversary.
Each day that doubleness becomes a little more difficult to endure, and I wonder how my loved ones who have lived with this awareness all their lives, who have had this awareness forced upon them as a matter of survival, continue to move through the world with such grace and hope. And as the pain of this doubleness grows, so too does my urgency to do more, to weave racial justice into every aspect of my life and work. I’ve come to believe that anything less than a total commitment to racial justice will result in the perpetuation of violence. Ignorance is no excuse, indifference is not an option, and the disruption of oppression must be personal and systemic, lifelong and every day. The sickness is at the root, and so that is where our cure must take hold.
I’ve shared these feelings less frequently here and on social media out of fear that doing so was a release or escape valve when I needed the steam of that pain to drive the engine of action. Also, I fear how social media so often leads me to gestures of action and the performance of ally-ship, rather than the thing itself. I worry how my whiteness, even with my very best intentions, can warp the conversation to be about the preservation of its own centrality rather than the end of its privilege.
But it’s been a year since his death, and for all the inspiring progress made in that time, it’s nowhere enough. It’s life and death, every day. So I’ll do my best to talk about it here, every day, and trust that conversation, even online, is its own form of action. If nothing else, this blog is one of the best ways I’ve found to hold myself accountable.
So on this anniversary of Michael Brown’s death, I recommit myself here to the daily work of racial justice, and to bring that work to very root of who I am, to the very foundation of the places I call home, in the great hope of seeing the beloved community brought to pass in my lifetime.
Categories: Naming Days