It’s been just over 1.2k days of writing to you and I’m finally done with the polite “Dear President Trump” salutation – you never deserved it, but for the longest time (a seriously very long time) I couldn’t bring myself to address these letters to you in any other way. I’m over it now, though. And I checked, scare quotes require the double, not single, quotation marks and from now on, that’s how I’m going to write the word “president” when it pertains to you. You’ve been illegitimate from Day 1 and it’s only gone downhill from there.
Yesterday Laura came up with the idea of putting an antiracisim sign in our upstairs front window. We decided this one needed to convey a longer message than we could easily fit on poster board we already had so we ordered a 2’ x 4’ sign from Office Depot, having settled on the words:
“end systemic racism now”
We originally wanted to quote Killer Mike (of Run the Jewels) because his speech to the people of Atlanta enjoining them not to burn their neighborhoods down was brilliant, but it ended up being too many words and wouldn’t read well from the street. However, because this is what we need to do to end systemic racism and oppression generally, I’m going to quote him here:
“come up with real solutions; plot, plan, strategize, organize, and mobilize”
I did double check that I had all the words in there, but it’s such core wisdom that I memorized it after just one pass through his speech.
We couldn’t get the actual poster until today because the store closed early yesterday (and will again today) due to Seattle’s 5pm curfew. Like most other major cities in the US, portions of the protests turned violent and people were getting hurt so the mayor opted to impose an early evening curfew. The poster is up now, though. It’s just above the rainbow. We moved the “End Gun Violence Now” poster to another window so any and all passersby who bother to look up at the house will have a pretty good sense of what we stand for. I’ll admit that I feel a little nervous about being on a busy arterial and having our politics so out there – the specter of someone shooting at the windows has gone through my imagination more than once, but if that happens, we’ll replace the window and the signs. We’re not in any real danger – our whiteness continues to protect us, our privilege shelters us, our disproportionate wealth continues to buffer us – we can’t help those things at this point, but we can help whether we hide behind them.
Yesterday I listened to an August 2019 conversation between Alicia Garza, one of the founders of Black Lives Matter, and Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to be an Antiracist (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73idH6hAqAY). Toward the end Dr. Kendi talked about the path forward being largely through legislation because people’s individual attitudes tend to shift when more progressive (or regressive) legislation is enacted and that it doesn’t work to essentially wait until we’re all singing kumbaya together before we try to change laws. He told us that we need to measure new pieces of legislation and efforts to repeal old legislation by the yard stick of whether it is antiracist to enact or to repeal it (and I would add that we also need to measure laws by whether they are antisexist, antitrans, antihomophobic, antiageist, etc.). This totally makes sense to me. And to circle back to Killer Mike, take note – we are plotting, planning, strategizing, organizing, and mobilizing to get the vote out in November and we will put people into office who will enact antiracist, antisexist legislation for all of us.
Don’t let the door hit your backside on the way out. Or do. I don’t care as long as you’re gone.
May we keep our spirits safe and free from harm.
May we plot, plan, strategize, organize, and mobilize for the greater good.
May we prioritize making all of our communities, all of our people, healthy and strong.
May we believe in these righteous eventualities.