Running and Reckoning

caitBy Cait De Mott Grady, kicking off the virtual Peter De Mott Peace Trot, an annual race in Ithaca to honor the late Plowshares activist on Father’s Day

Greetings from Detroit!

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Cait De Mott Grady. I’m Peter De Mott and Ellen Grady’s second daughter. I live in Detroit, MI where I work as a felony public defender and organizer.

It’s so good to be with all of you virtually tonight, though I long to be with you all in person.

We mark this 11th year of the Peter De Mott Peace Trot in the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic that continues to ravage communities and lay bare staggering imbalances of power both in the United States and around the world.

We mark this 11th year of the Peter De Mott Peace Trot in the midst of national and global uprising and rebellion in response to the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others, disproportionately Black and brown and poor, who have been murdered by the police.

We mark this 11th year of the Peter De Mott Peace Trot as US military spending continues to outpace any other nation in the world while 40+ million people in this country have filed for unemployment. We spend on war and weapons of war while our schools go unfunded. While people in Detroit and across the country fight for access to water. While people fight to keep their homes. While people fight, every day, to put food on the table. While Black people in this country fight to breathe.

We mark this 11th year of the Peter De Mott Peace Trot as the Trump administration rolls back environmental regulation after regulation while global temperatures continue to rise at a rate that puts human survival in the balance.

It’s fair to say that we are in a moment of reckoning:

Reckoning with militarism as we see tanks roll down our city streets, teargas fly, drones circle

Reckoning with white supremacy as we see again and again and again how the police murder with impunity — how Black and brown lives are constantly in the crosshairs of state-sanctioned violence

Reckoning with limitless consumption as our planet screams for us to stop

Reckoning with a loss of community and connection, amplified by social distancing and quarantine and fear

And in the midst of this reckoning, we’re seeing the impossible becoming possible. In the streets of Detroit, the energy is palpable and infectious! Young people, especially young people of color are leading. the. way.

Who knew that in 2020, we’d be having a real national conversation about defunding the police?! Sit with that for a minute. For decades on decades on decades we’ve seen our schools defunded, our infrastructure defunded, our healthcare system gutted. All while police budgets grow, while more prisons and jails are built, while more and more laws are passed to criminalize poverty and Blackness.

This rebellion is making space for us to reimagine what our world looks like. It’s posing big questions: What does safety actually mean? What would it mean to respond to harm without putting human beings in cages? What would it mean to provide health care, housing, and education to all?

It’s in those spaces that I feel my dad’s spirit most alive. In the fearless confrontation of these interlocking systems of oppression. It’s in these spaces of possibility that I want to live.

May we all, each and every one of us, find our place in these spaces of possibility. May we organize and march and chant and put our bodies on the line, may we cook and share food, may we divest from white supremacy, may we be open to hard conversations, may we love and support each other, and may we find beauty and joy along the way.

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