By: Shani Ealey, Staff Writer
December 16, 2016
Knots and twists.
What are they? It’s that feeling you get when something is fundamentally in direct opposition with your spirit, heart, and mind. That uncomfortable turning in your stomach signaling that something is incredibly off. Not right. Your body’s internal alarm letting you know that something is up.
Knots and twists.
It is the feeling that gripped many of us as we watched the electoral college elect a misogynistic, xenophobic, white-supremacist as the nation’s leader, confirming that little has changed regarding attitudes about Black lives. The mask has been completely lifted, revealing the ugly truth that many of us had come to terms with years ago when George Zimmerman was acquitted from killing a young Trayvon Martin for eating skittles and tea– or when we saw Oscar Grant get murdered in cold blood. The ruling hand of white supremacy is alive and well. But let’s not get it twisted, our hope has never lied in the white house.
On November 8, 2016 Donald Trump was named president-elect of the United States of America. This is the same man with zero political experience, who has publicly ridiculed and mocked disabled people, has sexually assaulted women, called Latino people rapists, and has called Black people inherently lazy and thugs. Trump’s racist, misogynistic, and xenophobic beliefs are now being turned into policy as is outlined in Trump’s plan for his first 100 days in office.1 What’s top priority for Trump? Well, apparently to restore security and the constitutional rule of law. Sounds familiar right? If you are familiar with the “law and order” rhetoric of former U.S presidents Nixon, Reagan, and Bush, then you know how this goes down. Of the many attacks on our basic civil rights, according to Trump he has plans that he’s ready to introduce to legislation:
- Cancel every “unconstitutional” executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama
- Cancel all federal funding to Sanctuary Cities
- Begin displacing more than 2 million people who currently do not hold U.S citizenship from the country and cancel visas to foreign countries that won’t take them back
- Repeal and replace Obamacare Act
- Construct a wall on the southern border of U.S
- Increase funding for police departments
- Increase funding to rebuild military
All the political lingo and rhetoric aside, in essence, we are talking about wide-scale, government-approved oppression and surveillance of Black and Brown people.
Supposed liberals, progressives, and post-racialists love to talk about all the progress that has been made since the Civil Rights Movement. Always pointing to Obama’s terms as president and the supposed “Black middle class” as signs of equality. It’s an interesting belief considering the attack on Black, Brown, Indigenous, Queer, Poor, and Disabled folks has been a steady factor in the daily-goings of life here since the time Europeans invaded and stole what we know to be America. It is strange to reflect on all these conversations about progress when we are now having to wrap our brains around what Trump’s presidency means for ourselves and our communities.
Since the presidential election, the Southern Law Poverty Center (SLPC) has reported 200 complaints of hate crimes.2 According to SLPC, hate groups are encouraging their members to intimidate people. Black students in Philadelphia have been threatened and bullied. Muslim and Latinos families have been told to go back to their countries. Young Black children riding school buses are being taunted by their peers who tell them “to go to the back of the bus”. Just four days after the election of Donald Trump, a young Black 28-year-old William Sims, was beaten and shot in the head by three white supremacists in El Sobrante, CA just 30 minutes from Oakland.3
Despite the daily assaults on our communities, we are expected to go on as usual. Go on to work. Go on to school. Go on to the grocery store.
Simply go on.
As activists, organizers, educators, and community members dedicated to the empowerment and liberation of Black people it is important for us to be tuned into the injustices happening not only in your area but across the nation and throughout the world. It is important because the parallels are strikingly similar and further solidifies the horrors and impact of racism, capitalism, and white supremacy. But how do we stay tuned in without becoming drained and defeated especially as we face the reality of a future that will be a bolder assault on our people then we have seen in decades?
In this moment, when we all feel a range of emotions from fear, sadness, hopelessness, and anger, it is important that we surround ourselves with people and community who affirm who we are. People who breathe hope into our spirits and hearts. People who remind us of who we are, our purpose, and the end goal. We will need each other as we move through this– to build, to strategize, and to organize around what our next steps are. Let’s recharge. Let’s refuel. Because it ain’t over and we have work to do.
The white house, an edifice constructed by the blood and sweat of our ancestors, is not the beacon of hope, nor will it be our demise. As always the hope for our futures lies in us. In our ability to come together in love, in unity, and in solidarity we will conquer.
- “Here’s What Donald Trump Wants To Do In His First 100 Days,” NPR, 11-9-2016, http://n.pr/2fmMuDB
- “Post-election spate of hate crimes worse than post-9/11, experts say” USA Today, 11-14-2016 http://usat.ly/2fJT9KU
- “East Bay hate-crime has musician’s family seeking justice,” SF Gate, 11-23-2016, http://bit.ly/2gOlPjR
Link to source of photo