At the Close of November

Among the post-election clamor, beyond the chattering of pundits and the patronizing call for acceptance of immense political loss, there is a simmering heat – a rise in minority voices unchained from the hold of respectability politics. We – I say we, us, because I am not removed from this and count myself among those ready to let the sun shine brighter on our skin than ever before – we are ready to pick up our machetes, sharpened to a point in our songs, our words, our art, our costumes on the stage, and excise the snarling tendrils of racism pervasive in every aspect of our society.

We are ready to stand in formation while our fellow man, after dropping casseroles on the front porches of the sick and praying for the widow’s needs, then stands on the sidewalk spewing hatred, spittle collecting in the corners of their mouths while we march by.

The attempts by media, by old folk who we must respect, by the ignorant who swindle us into believing that there is nothing to rage against, cannot hide the surge of the rip tide that is drawing them in, eager to overtake them and push them below with the other dead and forgotten things.

Our collective minority voices shout our readiness to eschew the boundaries that have kept us locked up tighter than the majority who instituted them, that made us second guess when and how we breathe.

We are ready to break loose, to let our hair float on the wind, to scream and let our voices be feverish and overflowing with our fear and our concern and our anger where we were once told to keep them locked up. It’s not polite. It is not real. It is our time.

We are not asking for permission, no, do not sweep your arms wide to let us pass on by. Do not hold the door open that you previously shut. We do not ask for your permission or even look for it. We are doing it our way now, unfettered and unfiltered.

We are raw.

Our ancestors are rising through us. Those whose hands let the sweet, rich African earth slip through their fingertips in the sunrise. Those who stood in southern cotton fields to stretch the tightly wound muscles of their backs, sweat seeping through rags, body radiating with heat of a whip’s harsh kisses. Those who ran from fire hoses and police dogs. Those who sat in and stood firm. Those whose feet hurt and voices united and raised fists ignited. And, yes, even those who are now and yet to be.

The movement rising beneath the surface is one that longs not just to be heard, but to make you feel. To awaken you to what we have known all along.

We are royalty.

We are loved.

“[We] is kind. [We] is smart. [We] is important.”*

We have claimed our stage. Hear our call to action.

You have ignited the match and now we will burn brightly.

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