We Are Literally Right Here

By Jim Bear Jacobs, re-posted from social media with permission (a reflection from 2019)

Brief moment of stepping up on my soapbox for some real talk. To my beautiful friends fighting for immigrant justice. There is a popular trope in these circles. Something along the lines of “We are all immigrants” This idea just needs to stop. We are not all immigrants. This is endemic of Indigenous erasure. I have encountered it in many social justice actions over the years. Once after we had opened an event with a drum circle, the first speaker called for immigrant justice by saying “in this country we have all come from somewhere else!” And I was like there are literally 15 Native people in the same room with you.

Today I was part of a beautiful vigil at the ICE headquarters to call for a stop of injustices committed against our immigrant neighbors. I and another Native clergyman were part of the leadership of this vigil. We opened by acknowledging that we were on Dakota land. We led a prayer to the directions. We sang a song in the Dakota language. I saw one sign that said Americans are all immigrants, and one of the speakers echoed the same sentiment. I know that it might seem overused for Native people to proclaim We Are Still Here, but in this case we were literally right here. There are three of us standing two feet behind you. The smoke from our sage is literally filling your nostrils as you speak.

My social justice friends, you are beautiful. I wholeheartedly love you. I am so grateful for your passion, your energy, your devotion to the cause. We do great work, it would take only a minimal effort to make it better. When you craft your words, when you make your signs, take a moment to make sure that your shouting does not contribute to the erasure of your indigenous hosts. We Are Still Here. We Are Literally Right Here.

Mobilizing White People in Georgia

This is a compelling opportunity organized by Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) for white people of conscience to throw in with the Warnock campaign in the Georgia Senate run-off scheduled for December 6. See below for details about signing-up.

Once again, all eyes are in Georgia. After a near-tie between Senator Warnock and Herschel Walker in the General Election, SURJ is mobilizing for a win in the Georgia Runoff. SURJ members showed up to do our part in defeating Trump in Georgia in 2020 AND electing Senator Warnock in the 2021 runoff. With our growing movement, we can continue to defeat the MAGA Right in Georgia!

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Unbroken Connection

DinaFor Indigenous Peoples Day, an excerpt from Dina Gilio-Whitaker’s brilliant new release As Long As Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock (2019).

The very thing that distinguishes Indigenous peoples from settler societies is their unbroken connection to ancestral homelands. Their cultures and identities are linked to their original places in ways that define them: they  are reflected in language, place names and cosmology (origin stories). In Indigenous worldviews, there is no separation between people and land, between people and other life forms, or between people and their ancient ancestors whose bones are infused in the land they inhabit and whose spirits permeate place.

Power, Accountability and Brett Favre

By Danté Stewart, re-posted from The Atlantic Magazine

I played Division I football as a cornerback at Clemson University. The players provide America with many things. We give fans memories and celebrations, we give them a time to escape the problems of America, and we give our audiences and white teammates the illusion that we are equal on and off the field.

“I know from being in an NFL locker room for 20 years, regardless of race, background, money you grew up with, we were all brothers; it didn’t matter,” the Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre once told a reporter at USA Today.

But although Favre may be happy to declare his kinship with Black people, I’ve never heard him mention the injustices we face daily. Rather, he has publicly criticized Black athletes for kneeling in protest during the national anthem. He said the athletes’ demonstration “created more turmoil than good.” Recently, we learned that he has been accused of misusing funds intended to help the poorest residents of his native state, who are disproportionately Black. Read the rest of the article here.

Upstream

By Tommy Airey

“There is no bad luck in the world but whitefolks.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved

Last weekend, I hiked with friends on traditional land of Watlala people, about fifty miles southeast of Portland, Oregon. At the trailhead, there were a half dozen Chinook Salmon swimming in the cold shallow water below. They were traveling upstream, from the Pacific to the Columbia to the Sandy to the Zig Zag to Camp Creek. The females, returning to the place of their birth, were preparing to lay their eggs – and then die four days later. Despite all the dams that have been built, there are still a few of these Beings, so sacred to Native people here, who have the strength to swim against the current, teaching us how to give up our lives for the next generation.  

On my two-hour drive back to the Deschutes River, I was pondering the contrast between Chinook Salmon who swim upstream and those who built the dams, white people conditioned by conformity, always moving with the current, not against it. I was thinking about the white people I know who now refer to “wokeness” as a bad word, as a kind of far-left cult that is extreme and dangerous, existing only to shame white people. The conservative talking points are penetrating the language of white moderates and liberals. Right-wing strategists know what they are doing! Wokeness is the perfect pinata for people unwilling to swim upstream and shed their own whiteness.

Continue reading “Upstream”

An Open Letter to Brittney Griner

By Robert Jones, Jr., the author of the New York Times bestselling novel The Prophets, re-posted from his website Son of Baldwin (August 4, 2022)

Dear Sister Brittney,

Had you been properly valued in your own country, it would have been unnecessary for you to travel to another. But here, in the land of the “morally superior” but severely degenerate, to be all Black, woman, lesbian is to be thrown a spite that you never asked to receive. For them, it is like: How dare you not be delicate, docile, diminutive, domesticated, dainty; not wait for some man to throw down his coat over a puddle so that you might giggle as you stepped on it, careful not to get your feet wet. They cannot feature you, Sis. Or how you can defy gravity and so there is no need for some white knight to guide you pass waters that you could leap over in your fucking sleep.

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Hope Will Spring

From the concluding paragraph of Imani Perry’s exquisite South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation.

If America is to be salvific, it can only be so because underneath our skyscrapers lie the people who have tasted the red clay, the loamy soil. Lashed, hidden, running, captured. Crucified for gain, bloodying the soil. If their dreams can became “we” dreams, hope will spring. “Greatness” is such an egotistical and dangerous word. But in the land of big dreams and bigger lies, we love greatness anyway. And if we want it, if we aren’t afraid to grab it, we have to look South, to America.

Which Side Will We Be On?

By Lindsay Airey

White folks, how will we drain the poison from our communities?

Repent?

Take the assault on Black Life personally, be mobilized to grief and rage that takes action?

Get at least as passionate & dedicated to rooting out the cancer of white supremacy as many of us get devoted to fighting the biological cancers that take our loved ones?

Protect & fight for the rights & dignity of our siblings being unaccountably targeted, imprisoned, displaced & massacred like we fight for our own families, our own children?

Continue reading “Which Side Will We Be On?”