Dear Black and Brown Communities in Maine
A few words are all I can manage in moments like this. We know these moments all too well.
And we know these attacks are not isolated moments, but the violent expression of a white-nationalist movement on the rise, the latest tragic expression of the systemic racism in this country. We know too well that those who make laws or take oaths to serve and protect not only fail us time and time again, but consistently embolden the adherents of a festering white supremacist ideology for social power or political gain. A few words from a feeling of rage. A few words from the depths of heartbreak.
A few words from a place of pain and grief for those taken too soon and for those who will be grieving the loss of these lives for months and years to come. Families and communities devastated for decades. I had to stop reading the stories of those lost in the attack. It was too much. Eventually, I will learn each of their names and who they were to their people, committing this knowledge to a silent prayer for healing and hope. A few words from a place of shock, but not surprise, again.
A few words to hold out space to choose – how much or how little we let in right now, how much we are able to hold off the incessant analysis on social media and persistent punditry of the news cycles. We know this moment too well already, in our bodies, against our boundaries. Today, we don’t need the analysis of why this happened. We know. We don’t need an investigation into causes and complicity. We spend our days information gathering and can tell you it’s not merely a case of individual mental illness or a teenager neglected.
For Black folks, Buffalo is Bangor, or Biddeford, or Belfast on the wrong day. Like Buffalo was Charlottesville or Charleston on the wrong day. A few words from a place of fear: well-founded and grounded in the reality of shared trauma from the legacies of violence that saturate the present.
A few words to invite the space of a deep breath, to locate your ground, and to reach-out to someone you trust to just talk if needed. Or to be silent and stay in your rest. To stay in your body and your truth. Maybe even to return to your practice of joy, if it’s available today or tomorrow or next week. A few words to call-in community, to call in care for each other and for ourselves.
A few words to acknowledge that we can no longer normalize statements of acknowledgment that offer no call to action or invitation to accountability. No more normalizing attacks that have become normal and responses that are neutral.
A few words from the heart are all that I can manage today, to Black and Brown communities in Maine. We know these moments too well.
Co-Director, Grants for Change