The forces of fear and ignorance are alive in Portland. The Portland State University Board has authorized arming security forces with weapons that can kill. Check out Rebel Metropolis. As our children of color face persistently experience threats of violence and disproportionately pay the ultimate price of #whitesupremacy, the choice to put more guns into our education learning environment demonstrates the corruption of leadership.
We are blessed by the #BlackLivesMatters movement and efforts of Don’t Shoot Portland and communities of color working for a world where all people have the rights, recognition and resources to thrive. It is notable that the activists are directing the growing energy towards concrete systemic change and we should be thrilled to see young people of color and allies organizing direct action at PSU, the Capitol, and other places of power and influence. Not for a minute can we buy into the mythology that the status quo will serve all of our communities fairly. It is a ruse to believe such nonsense, but one that will have ample resources and influence behind it.
Our leadership must be in the spotlight and we must organize for the long-term if we expect any significant change. There are many roles to play, and no individual can know or play them all. As we muster ourselves to the goal, let us not only call out the evil, but to expect that those who we are in relationship with are doing the same. And then to ask “why” when there is silence. We can all benefit when we take time to reflect, not just be the first to share something on social media, or to tweet or like, but to more deeply contemplate from the inside out the meaning of what is happening around us. Share that seed with the world, and let it flourish.
On a related note, from what I consider my liberationist, progressive, justice-centered viewpoint, and to quote a colleague, “we cannot just be the left, we must build the left”. We cannot just be individuals in the fight, we must continually build working relationships, trust, respect. At the center of this is the value of accountability, to the values we share, and to one another. We have work to do to address our own internal strife, where we sharp elbow and blindside one another, seeking to be hard, righteous, and to lift ourselves up at the expense of others. We have difficultly giving feedback, engaging in process, bringing others up with us, building structures, asking and receiving support, and continually clarifying and renewing the values that bind us.