You know that feeling of when you wake up and realized your dream was only just a dream?
I feel like that, and I have been feeling like that since the election, November 8, 2016, and what jolts me out of my dream is when I see articles about T, our president-elect on my social media feeds.
Honestly, I want to avoid these articles. I want to avoid the realization that the most racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist, islamophobic, xenophobic person I have ever met will be the President of the United States of America, and let us not forget T’s Vice-President, M. The two of them together are literally people who have done and continue to do awful things to individuals who are not white, not straight, not cisgender, not able-bodied, not rich – pretty much everyone who is not in their inner circle or in spaces of privilege & power.
I don’t want to face this reality, but I force myself to.
Because if I don’t face it. If I ignore T, M, and every other act of violence enacted in their names, I become complicit. I become complicit in the violence and oppression of my family and friends, my k’é.
I keep hoping that the electoral voters could ‘save’ us from an oppressive presidency and replace them with C.
And if I am being honest, I laughed because I realized something . Why am I hoping for a system that is the very reason that T is going to be the president ‘save’ me and my k’é?
Why should I continue hoping that a system that is literally built and founded upon the enslavement of Black people and the genocide of Native & Indigenous Peoples ‘save’ me from T’s reign of terror? Why?
And I think it is because I am more afraid of T than I am of C, and that is why I hope.
Which is awful because even if C was our president-elect; racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia would still exist and still persist. Electing C wouldn’t have solved everything. C’s election would have just prolonged the inevitable that is T.
Last week, in one of my classes, I defended the people who voted for C and was prompted to call out those who voted for T. I was annoyed that a bilágáana had the audacity to blame the ‘minorities’ for the election of T. I stopped them and said, “It is your peoples’ fault. Don’t be blaming us. The majority of Black women, Black Men, Latinx women, Latinx men, and every other ‘minority’ voted for C. We were trying to save us and you from a T presidency, and yet, who voted for T, who was the majority for T? Your people.”
The reality is ‘minorities’ knew the danger of T and we tried to stop T’s campaign to the White House, but the media and the majority of bilágáanas allowed T to become our president-elect.
After I said that, another bilágáana asked me a question. They asked, “If C was elected, would there still be protests across the country? Would peoples’ fear still be as apparent as it is now?”
I looked them in the eye and said “Yes. Yes, people would have, but would you have been listening?”
My final words to the class were telling them what they can do and what they should do. As bilágáanas, their whiteness, their proximity to whiteness shields them from the brute force of T and M’s & the US government.
“Go out in the streets and join the protests against T. If you don’t want to, then donate! Donate to Planned Parenthood, donate for #NoDAPL, do something or anything that involves defending and calling out racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, islamophobia, ableism, etc. There is so much that each of you can do. Just listen to what we, the ‘minorities’ have been saying this whole time because at the end of the day, each of one of you are protected and will not have to live your life in fear.”
This fear is something that Muslims, Black People, Immigrants & Migrants, LGBTQ+, Native & Indigenous peoples, etc. have been living with and continue to live with since 1492, but it has not stopped people from going to the frontlines and protesting against T. If anything this fear has spurred many of my k’é.
After I offered these instances of challenges that bilágáanas could do, I realized something else. I don’t know how I can support others because I am constantly afraid for my safety and my family & friends’ safety, especially if I refuse to believe that T is going to be the president-elect.
I was in this space of not knowing what to do and trying to figure out what I should do next. The fear and hurt that I felt last week still persists and has become a constant companion of mine.
I decided to read some of the teachings of my ancestors and remember what my mother taught me, and the answers I was seekign were tere, not openly, but interpretively, yes.
Doo ách’į’ ni’jódlíi da – do not carry around expectations of negative circumstances.
Each day, I am going to recognize that T and M are president and vice-president, but I am not going to expect that that world is a negative awful place. I am going to imagine and fight for a world where liberation from my own trauma and my peoples’ trauma has been reconciled with and liberation from violence is attainable.
Doo t’áadoole’é bich’į ni’jílíį da – do not be hesitant.
When I encounter violence towards my family & friends, I am not going to hesitate in challenging it and stopping it. I have given myself the space to heal and care for myself, now I must uprise against an ever closing tyranny that has been establishing and building upon itself since 1492.
For those interested in finding ways and spaces to heal and confront/challenge other people. There is this great article on Everyday Feminism on 20+ Resources To Help You Process the Election of T.
Additionally, here is an article on The Huffington Post – If You’re Overwhelmed By The Election, Here’s What You Can Do Now.
Finally, if you’re a college student (like me), there will be Campus WalkOuts across the ‘Nation’ for #SanctuaryCampus and #OurCampus on Wednesday, November 16, 2016. For those on Brown University’s campus, here is a Facebook Event for what to do and where to go.
K’ézhnidzin – acknowledging and respecting kinship and clanship.
I am also going to continue to love, to support, and to keep my friends and family close to myself. Creator knows that I am going to need to lean on them and others in the coming days.
Ádá hozhdílzin – respecting the sacred nature of the self.
I am going to continue to be angry and continue to uprise and refuse to accept the so-called president-elect because I am respecting myself as a person. I am someone who does not need to be afraid. I should not have to feel the need to survive. I should be thriving. I should be living.
In order for me to do that, I need to respect myself and fight for not only myself but also fight and respect the sacred nature of others.
I use to believe that my existence is a form of resistance, that does not cut it anymore. My survival, our survival, our fight against oppression is now more so than ever our resistance.
Last week, I said that my mother told me that I needed to heal myself, to pray for strength and resilience because she knew that I was going to need that to ensure mine and others survival & healing.
I ask of those that read this post to join me, and others in this uprising against T and M, against the system that has allowed their elected positions, because, we’re going to need each other, now more so than ever.
The Diné Aesthetic involves healing, surviving & fighting. It is encased with the strength and resilience of a people who have been pushed to the edge, and who refuse to be pushed further.
Don’t allow Donald Trump (T) & Mike Pence (M) to have a smooth transition into that forsaken White House.
Don’t allow people to dismiss your anger, your fear, your feelings. They’re very real and valid, and they are pushing you to survive and live.
I am afraid not only for myself but for others.
Doo ayóo níjíldzida – avoid being fearful,
My ancestors tell me. I end this post with a poem I wrote:
Fear stands before me.
In all of its glory.
An old enemy of mine,
A now constant companion.
I stand before them
Looking at them in the eye,
And I shake. I shake. Damn, do I shake,
And I begin to cry.
The water stings,
Purifying and cleansening my soul, or so I hope.
The hurt bleeds.
Pouring from my every pore and being.
Leaving me raw and vulnerable.
Fear stands there.
In all its glory.
Gleaming and smirking.
Waiting for me to fall,
And I close my eyes.
Clench my fist, and continue to cry.
It reaches deep within
Past my heart, towards me soul.
I shimmer and I shake.
Lord, do I shake.
First my legs.
Then my hands.
Now my head.
Fear stands before me.
In all its glory. Gleaming and smirking.
They lean towards me,
Caress the back of my neck.
Waiting for my fall.
Waiting for my embrace.
But I refuse.
I open my eyes. Raw and fresh.
Strong and steeled
I look to my right and to my left
And there, there my fellow brethren stand.
They wait and they wait.
Holding my gaze.
Giving me time, space, and strength.
Until I can.
Tears still sting.
Hurt still bleeds
I shake inside, I push,
And I begin my fight again.
Fear stands before me.
In all its glory.
But so do I.
With those by my side.