by: Cassandra Warren
I don’t know how old I was, but I distinctly remember my dad pressing his pointer and middle fingers over my heart and saying, “sometimes in life you are not going to see the end to your path, but sweetheart, if you do what’s in here (pressing over my heart) when the fork in the road comes, you’ll always end up in a place you’re happy with.”
Trying to live as a queer, radical activist has its moments where it seems the changes we work towards may never happen in my lifetime. When friends are raped by police officers, when you get called a faggot walking down the street alone, when you know that while you’re fighting for policy change what really needs to happen is ending racism, sexism, and transphobia, all this weighs on your spirit a bit. And I have to reach deep inside my self, feel my dad’s fingers pressing on my heart and say, I may not have the power to change everything, but there are ways in which I do have power, in which I do have a voice, in which I can create. And in this way, the things I do become more important for the things we can do together, how we can learn from each other, and how we can support each other.
A very dear (and wise) friend of mine recently said to me, the moment has arrived, it’s time to join the revolution. We talked about how this meant that we needed to not be bogged down by the things we had not yet changed, and start living our daily lives in the way of the revolution: to occupy our own lives to enact change and create support for our communities. That by doing this with our communities, we can support each other’s cause, strategize and skill-share together, and through this take a stand and create change. That we can move towards a place where we reply on ourselves and our communities for resources, support, and strength.
And in this way you don’t have to sit a table with the president or at the picket line (though these things can be powerful and good). In this way you can sit around a kitchen table, you can ride your bike, you can teach someone something, you can smile, you can accept, you can challenge, you can be brave, you can be useful, you can create, you can give, you can plant, you can grow, you can and do make a difference. I have witnessed my community- those living in Kentucky, Chicago, Amsterdam, Austin, Oakland, Buenos Aires, Nicaragua, Berlin, Barcelona, Budapest, Washington DC, New Orleans, Montreal, and Providence- and I know what they are capable of, I know their strength, their skill, their intellect, their performance, their art, their spirits, and this is powerful. This is what I will hold on to in 2013, and this is what I will put my faith into: to all you beautiful, fierce, hungry, lovely, creative souls. Don’t forget the power you have, that you have a voice, that we all do it differently, that we all make mistakes, that we don’t “win” every battle, but that we try and (as Joe reminded us) we trudge on. Together.