We are in the darkness now, oh. And while we yearn to grow back toward the light, we must familiarize ourselves with this darkness. It is terrain we have walked before, but blindly. Let’s begin to see.
In the wake of the massacre in Orlando of my queer and trans and black and brown siblings, I feel called to share some things with you all.
I am queer. Some of you know this but probably most of you don’t. The fact is for many years I felt that I couldn’t claim a queer identity because I am a cis woman married to a man. The fact is I was afraid to because as a brown woman I’m already subjected to plenty of harm, and I didn’t want another reason to be targeted. It wasn’t until this year that I felt grounded enough to stand in my identity as a queer femme. It took so many people in my life who love me, seeing me, seeing my queerness, and helping me out of the shadow. It took me seeing what a queer love could do.
This is the year I came out. This is the year in which 50 queers were murdered while celebrating our history of resistance - resistance to silencing, resistance to state sanctioned violence, resistance to erasure, resistance and rebuilding - our own families, our own lives, our own bodies. Our siblings who were gunned down dancing, they were dancing on the floor of memory, celebrating the very fact of our existence.
The love I have to give is a queer love. My family is a queer family. My oldest child, at the tender age of 7, came out this year as non-binary. In response, and not even at his request, one of his sisters has started interchanging the pronouns he and she when she talks about him. This is what queer love can do. We can be seen, even when we aren’t asking to be seen, in a queer love.
We all need queer love, even if we aren’t queer, and do you want to know why? Because everything that has been, is falling away. It’s failing, and it’s dying. It is that queer love, that love from the margins, that love that has survived in spite of all of the systems design to kill it and erase it - that is the love that we will build with. There is no other answer.
That is not to say a straight love is bad. It’s rather to say a straight love needs to be queered. And if you want to stand here, hand in hand, in freedom and liberation with me, you better learn some queer love.
Good people, if you think this moment isn’t about you, or your love, or your family, you are wrong. We are all on the front lines right now, whether we believe it or not. We ARE the front lines. Stand with me. Stand with us. Don’t fall asleep. And don’t be afraid. Turn in the darkness. We are together now.
If you are going to be at the Allied Media Conference in Detroit this week, I would love to have your support and participation in the spaces and workshops I am holding.
Friday June 17th
A Healing Circle for Orlando and Beyond, 2-3:30pm
MacGregor Room I
Our community has sustained another horrific tragedy, and yet we are. Systems of oppression and colonization try to erase us, to murder us, to white wash our tragedies, and yet we are. The machine of war tries to use our queer, trans, black and brown bodies as tools and as weapons, and we resist, and so, we are. Come join a circle of grievers, to hold each other in love and rage. Join us in building an altar of Return to remember those in Orlando and beyond whose bodies have been taken by state sanctioned violence, but whose spirits burn within us. Come with your body and your heart: there will be space to sit in circle and speak the things that need to be spoken, time to sing our grief together, and time to feel and move grief through our bodies. All remembrance and spiritual practices welcome.
Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines, 4-5:30pm
Student Center, Room 285
"Revolutionary Mothering" places marginalized mothers of color at the center of a world in need of transformation. Mothers from marginalized backgrounds create a generous space for life in the face of oppression and activate a powerful vision of the future while navigating the tangible concerns of the present. Join us for a panel discussion of movement shifting committed to birthing new worlds.
Sunday June 19th
Holding Space: Strategies for Anti-Oppressive Facilitation Part 1, 1-2:30pm
State Hall, Room 118
How can facilitators hold space in ways that are truly anti-oppressive? We will explore strategies for facilitation that center the needs of Black, Brown and Indigenous people, disabled people, LGBTQ folks, survivors and others. We will examine how various approaches and activities can build solidarity and safety in group settings. We will deepen our existing skills and leave with effective new tools for liberatory facilitation. This is part one of a two-part workshop.
Holding Space Part 2: Anti-Oppressive Conflict Intervention for Facilitators, 3-4:30pm
State Hall, Room 118
How can facilitators intervene in conflicts and oppressive behaviors? We will build on Part I to equip facilitators with mediation and intervention tools. Drawing on group wisdom, we will test and explore options for creating safer spaces through addressing microaggressions and interpersonal conflicts. Folks will leave with toolkits to support healthy and just group dynamics in social change settings. Participation in Part I is highly recommended.