Keep Your Heart Open

I’d like to apologize for the radio silence these past few weeks. It’s been a hard few weeks to be a person here in the world. Our hearts have been heavy in response to the violence in Orlando, Tel Aviv, Turkey, Istanbul, Baton Rouge, Minnesota, and I’m sure a few more places that I am missing. There is so much to say and yet so few words are forthcoming. I don’t know what I have to offer in response to these tragedies.

I am sad. I am tired. I am doing my best to help in my own small ways though it does not feel like enough. There is always a voice in my head asking “what else can I do? what else should I do? what else do I have the responsibility to do?” I am scared often for the people I love, in this world where people die because of ideological reasons, for their identities, for simply existing in public.

Sometimes I am reminded that despite the breadth of human history, there will always be questions that don’t have neat answers. I wonder if my ancestors felt this in response to the tragedies of their time. I wonder if they chose to act, or if they turned their eyes and closed their hearts, to protect themselves from the confusion and pain.

I hope to keep my heart open, even in these heart-breaking times. To be affected by injustice, even when it is not close to home. To not allow myself to be complacent. To keep helping in my small ways, and hope that if enough people chose to act in small ways, it can become large scale change. I hope that you will too. I hope you will keep talking (and shouting) about injustice, keep donating money and time, keep being kind to those around you, and choosing to accept when you are wrong.

I’ll leave this small post with some articles and a poem that I have found useful these last few weeks.

Love and peace to all of you.

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Full Transcript of Jesse Williams BET Awards Speech 

Racism in America FAQ

Philando Castile Was A Role Model to Hundreds of Kids

In Praise of Latin Night at the Queer Club

#PulseOrlandoSyllabus

LGBTQ People Can’t Have Safe Spaces But We Still Need Community

After Attacks on Muslims Many Ask: Where is the Outpouring?

Mourning on Ramadan: Breaking My Fast With Queer Muslims After the Orlando Shooting

Grateful

November has been rough.

It’s become hard to look at a computer or open a newspaper without finding a new example or terror and hate, a new story to grieve. Our hearts here are going out to Baghdad, Beirut, Paris, the students of Mizzou, the families of the Black Lives Matter activists who were shot this Monday night, the continuous plight of the Syrian Refugees, and the staff and patients of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, as well as Planned Parenthood offices all over the country.

Honestly it can feel like  a lot of places for a heart to be at once.

How do we as feminists and social justice advocates cope with living in a world where it feels like we are facing a new tragedy every day, some of which target our personal identities? How do we sit with the grief for ourselves and for humanity in general? How, this Thanksgiving, do we find anything to be grateful for?

I haven’t found an answer that feels good for me yet. Often I feel split between the desire to join the dialogue and the understanding that my voice doesn’t need to be the most elevated one. Sometimes the only way it feels possible to stay sane is to disengage, but I don’t want to be someone who is apathetic in the face of tragedy. I also know that being able to disengage, especially for issues surrounding racial injustice and Syrian refugees, is rooted in the privilege I have as a white American.

Despite all the terror we have seen or experienced this year, I do feel we have a lot to be grateful for. I am thankful for my communities, where I have found love and support during my own hard times, and anger and solidarity during large scale tragedy. I am forever grateful to my friends and mentors who have educated me and inspired me and taught me how to better my own understanding of social justice.

I am thankful for the activists. I’m thankful for the folks who create apps and petitions and organize protests, and who believe in a better world. I’m thankful for the folks who have reported the facts about injustice being perpetrated, whether it was on Twitter or in newspapers. Without them none of the revolutionary work we have seen this year could have been possible.

I’m also thankful for grief and for anger because feeling them means I have loved. I have opened my heart to the idea of a just world and I continue to believe it can exist.

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Below are some ways you can get involved with some of the movements discussed in my blog post.

Write to your Governor and members of Congress to support refugee resettlement: http://cqrcengage.com/theirc/app/write-a-letter?0&engagementId=146418

Download Share the Meal to provide meals for Syrian refugees: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/11/app-lets-users-share-meals-syrian-children-151112200450748.html

Get involved with Planned Parenthood: https://www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/?_ga=1.148159799.1098778570.1448726367

Get involved with Black Lives Matter: http://blacklivesmatter.com/getinvolved/

Show up for Racial Justice (SURJ): http://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/stand_with_blm_mn?sp_ref=162720005.300.17012.f.71716.2