She is Breathing: Listening for Another World and an End to Empire

iluminadoBy Lydia Wylie-Kellermann. Printed in Geez Magazine.

“Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness – and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe… Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

― Arundhati Roy, War Talk

I think of myself as a generally hopeful person. I’ve always believed in Martin Luther King’s long arc bending towards justice. But being in Detroit, the city where I was born and raised, over the last 5 years has crushed me. In a blink of an eye, a place filled with community leadership and creativity was steam rolled by an illegitimate government and the banks. We’ve gone from a city facing transformation by thousands of gardens to facing gentrification by tens of thousands of water shut offs. Black and poor folks are being pushed out fast. The stories are too painful. The work too big. The struggle for survival too real. The powers and principalities seemingly unstoppable. It’s all too much. Continue reading “She is Breathing: Listening for Another World and an End to Empire”