Coming out of an emotionally-intense week, we are sending you love and comfort. It is beyond evident that our democracy needs tending.
On January 6th, we awoke to two stunning victories that were the culmination of nearly a decade of grassroots organizing and advocacy in Georgia.
On that same day, we witnessed groups of white supremacists attempt to inhibit a peaceful transition of power.
The documentation of this attack revealed belligerent rioters who yielded their white privilege to undermine the sanctity of democracy––smiling while stealing and destroying government property inside one of the most protected buildings in the nation.
After enduring four years of threats and regressive policy changes from the Trump administration, this attack is no great surprise. However, it was a slap in the face to the identity and advocacy of BIPOC and immigrant communities. As POC, our intertwined fights for the recognition of our own humanity have often been met with violence.
POC movements, actions, and identities have always been under greater surveillance and scrutiny than our white counterparts, for attempting to have our voices heard and our basic rights realized. The reality is that white supremacy has frequently reached a boiling point in our country, which has seen similar attacks by white supremacists through both a failed coup and a successful one.
Trump and his followers must be held accountable, and such violence must be condemned and prevented. We cannot see this history repeat itself once more.
The suspension of the president from various social media platforms expresses how influential his reckless voice has been. Trump has goaded and riled his supporters for years. On the other hand, Google, Amazon, and Apple’s removals of the Parler app, which rallied Trump supporters together through its “free speech” networking platform, expose the government failure to prevent this attack. The utter irony of white privilege morphing into claims of the oppression of white people can only be understood as a recognition and fear of imminent societal change.
Change is afoot, and with it, loss. Loss of the America that we have always known––that which, contrary to media and public figure’s messaging, is rife with segregation, white supremacy, and myriad forms of inequality.
Our country is molting.
Equality demands sacrifice: that of power, resources, and our fictive notions of one another. It is inevitable, but for many, will not come without resistance.
As President-elect Biden noted, Trump incites, rather than inspires. Trump has built power through promises of freedom, but we ask: when does freedom become subjective?
Liberation, alongside healing, safety, and power, is a core value at Sakhi. In our experience, these four elements should always be accessible and available to every person, and to every survivor along their healing journey.
To be free, to us, means that one possesses the right and liberty to make decisions for one’s self; to think for oneself; to live and work toward one’s goals, all without the hindrance of another person or unjust obstacle.
To Trump and his supporters, it is undeniable that freedom is an expansive concept that violates the freedom and dignity of others. Trump’s freedom is one that cares only for the self, and never those around it.
We believe in freedom, yes, but one that is stewed in compassion and thoughtfulness. We believe in a freedom that prioritizes the equality of our humanity above all else.
We move away from denial toward truth; America’s past and present are mired in inequities, but we need not repeat these cycles. We see a future in which the truth about our country––and the truth about how to change it––are widespread. Our work will continue to move in this direction, as we recognize historically-grounded truths, however unfortunate, as guides for the future.
Meditating on our country’s hard-fought gains toward equality, we feel hopeful. We are living in a moment when instantaneous results are the norm, yet the lessons of activists and leaders such as Congressman John Lewis, Angela Davis, and Stacey Abrams, teach us that, with time and commitment, change comes.