Musings / My Thoughts

Finding Your Place In The Resistance

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Muslims. Black Folks. Survivors of Gun Violence. Immigrants. LGBTQ People. The Poor.

These are just some of the many groups of people who are facing the indignities of discrimination, oppression, harassment, and an alarming uptick in state sponsored and supported harm.

In an era marked by viral videos, sharable media, and hashtags many individuals are becoming increasingly aware of the injustices others are facing in their own communities as well as beyond their cultural, state, and national borders.

The reality that we live in means that many of us are as informed as we are exhausted as we take in story after story of the individual, communal, and systemic harm being navigated by members of our human family in addition to the marginalization(s) we may personally be facing.

It’s a lot and whether we’re new to all this or experienced activists and organizers, many of us find ourselves asking the same question:

“What can I do?”

While many people will tell you that the work of justice and resistance is comprised of X number of things or is somewhat prescriptive, I don’t think this is the case. Resistance work is highly contextual and is tempered by one’s identities, privileges, oppressions, capacity, commitments, social location, and giftings. This means that not only will everyone’s work for justice look different, the work that *you* can commit to in different seasons may look different as well.

Some days this means you may turn up in the streets and proclaim that #BlackLivesMatter or call attention to the need for gun control after yet another shooting has taken place via protest. Some days this may look like hosting a community healing circle after an instance of violence has rocked those you share affinity with. Some days this may look like watching someone’s children or preparing them meals so that they can commit to their own work more fully.

The work justice requires of us means that we all have different roles to play in different seasons so that we can sustainably work towards our collective liberation.

I don’t share this flippantly but do so reflecting on my own sense of capacity and what I can give as an offering to those whose hearts are inclined towards what is just and equitable.

As I write this piece, I do so face down on my phone because I am 4 days out from eye surgery that has me on pretty strict bedrest. I can’t march, I can’t do my work as a facilitator or space curator but interrogating what I can do showed I can write as my recovery allows. I can pass on what others have written and signal boost things like arrests and hospitalizations colleagues and co-conspirators in the work are navigating. I share this to say that even in a time of illnesses and recovery, my resistance work has not stopped but instead shifted to fit what I am able to offer right now. What I offer up may be different or limited by my capacity but I realized that I still have something to give.

I hope you come to understand that the same is true for you and if no one has ever said the words to you, allow me to be the first…

You have something to offer to efforts that resist the injustices faced by members of our human family.

Whether it be resources, time, art, space, relationships, social media shares, physical presence, spiritual counsel, emotional support, bail money, blogging skills, lobbying experience, caretaking, conflict meditation, free/low cost professional support, voter mobilization, or something you can name that falls beyond the scope of this writer’s imagination, you have something to lend to those working towards our collective liberation. It will take all of us combining our varied gifts to creatively dismantle prejudice, inequality, and the complex social and institutional systems they lurk behind.

That said, I want to invite you to take some time to consider the following:

Knowing who you are, the realities you navigate, and the resources you have access to, what is your place in the Resistance?

This may be your first time thinking this through or you may need to hold this question considering who you are in *this* season of life. Regardless of where you are in your journey, I encourage you to pause and think through what forms of justice work are calling out to you.

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2 thoughts on “Finding Your Place In The Resistance

  1. Pingback: Singing Resistance and Healing

  2. Is it possible to discover what we are to “do” – prior to uncovering our voice and where it fits? I’m wondering… our DO is impacted by our WHO… but… what does it look like to find a voice that fits into your specific context where you can join the fight for justice?… for that season, for the location you are in, for the person you are… 2 people can say or do the same thing and have a different impact because of who they are… so what does it look like to find your voice and thus find your place in a justice movement? How do you know your words are helpful when you are still measuring them to make sure they are creating life and not violence for others in the justice movement? How far does our responsibility extend when we take on a mantle of “justice fighter” and how do we know if our helping is actually helping or hurting?

    These are the justice questions I wrestle with. Thank you for your words here… “Resistance work is highly contextual and is tempered by one’s identities, privileges, oppressions, capacity, commitments, social location, and giftings. This means that not only will everyone’s work for justice look different, the work that *you* can commit to in different seasons may look different as well.” — despite my questions, this is liberating 🙂

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