In reading Bell Hooks article on ‘choosing the margin…’ I was struck by two sentences. The first, ‘our presence is a disruption.’ The next, ‘invent spaces of radical openness.’ The idea that your presence may disrupt the status quo is one of the key reasons she asks that we do our part to simultaneously seek new knowledge, new experience. And when we do, in the spaces we create for ourselves, we will survive. In the new year, silence is one space that I intend to keep eloquently, where I intend to plan. But survival, the radical possibilities and openness of it, a site that nourishes my capacity to see, to create, even to build, is the other space I am keeping this year. I am keeping survival blazing, all it’s possibilities, all it’s openness, even it’s resistance, will burn fiercely for me.

A surviving castle

In survival, I am like my daughter’s playtime activity pictured above, where she uses magnetic shapes to build anything including castles that are brilliant to her. Carefully and with one piece after another, she builds and builds and the castle keeps growing and growing brighter. Every addition is a test of survival. And when her castle survives intact, she is happy and everyone cheers. The construction is sterling and a delight to watch. So to is survival. It’s possibilities are transforming. Also sterling when you navigate it’s many landscapes.

Survival, like the Bob Marley song, Bell Hooks quoted in her piece, ‘allows me to refuse to be what you want me to be.’ Instead, I am who I am because I choose to survive and that’s the gift of it’s possibilities. I choose to survive despite whatever challenges I experience. I understand that my daughter’s castle may topple anytime and the idea of it remaining intact is minimal. But here is the truth and gift of survival and why choosing is blazing: ‘you know that it may unravel.’ The knowledge of the unraveling is survival at it’s finest. We are able to survive because we know. Survival is knowing. Survival is reality. In survival, I know reality. I am able to articulate my reality to the world because I choose to survive. I know about my survival. For in survival, my perspective, all of it remains sustained. My perspective burns fiercely for me. It’s my story after all and I I’ll tell it however I choose. That’s what survival entails. And I am firmly keeping it blazing in the new year.

Building the castle.

Whoever still questions how a black woman remains undervalued should remember Breonna Taylor. Whoever wonders how a black woman feels unseen should remember Breonna Taylor. Whoever seeks to know why a black woman still remains unprotected even 2020, should remember Breonna Taylor. Black women have been under enormous duress for far to long. Enormous. We remain undervalued, unseen, unprotected even while sleeping in our own house, on our beds. But yesterday was a tipping point. Today I am interested in how we survive. Today I want to let all my fellow Black women know where ever you are, that you matter. Because of Breonna Taylor, I value you. Because of Breonna Taylor, I see you. Because of Breonna Taylor, I will do my part to protect you.

Keep surviving for Breonna Taylor

Robbing Breonna Taylor of her life was one drastic thing, but letting her murderers go scot-free is pure contempt for black women’s lives. Hence my interest in how we survive. There are no easy answers. Justice was once again denied, my mouth is full of anger, my heart pain. But we must survive. No use wondering whether the law will ever be on our side, it won’t. No need screaming for people to say her name, the won’t. Yet for Breonna we must survive.

We will not forget yesterday’s failure to arrest the cops that murdered Breonna. We are lifting her family in prayers that they may find the strength to continue to bear this loss despite the injustice, despite an arrest for a life cut too short. And for Breonna Taylor, we shall survive. For her legacy, we will be valued. In her name, we will be visible and for generations now and yet to come, we will do our part to protect black women everywhere. Breonna Taylor even in death you won and because of you, I will keep surviving.

Keep surviving for Breonna Taylor