My heart, spirit, and humanity rages as the impacts of white supremacy and misogyny unleash their never-quenched thirst for mass death and destruction, eroding our sense and sensibilities. No, not this time. Not again. Not ever again.
Let’s be clear — the recent acts of violence against the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community ARE racially motivated hate crimes — Full Stop. The sooner we stop debating the reality and deadly impact of White Supremacy on all of our communities of color, the more time we’ll have on fighting against it. We all watched the 44th President of the United States repeat racist tropes against our Asian brothers and sisters over the past year, and we all saw evidence, though not nearly publicly enough, around the 150% increase in violence against Asian people during the same time frame. We can all connect those dots. There is evidence, data, and longstanding history to prove the devastation wrought by White violence in communities of color. To ask communities of color to “prove it” is simply another oppressive act. No, not this time. Not again. Not ever again.
White Supremacy has no bottom. There is no depth to the destruction it will breed in its pursuit of conquest and continued power. We must name it — call it what it is: a direct threat to our collective humanity. White Supremacy killed six Asian women outside Atlanta. It is the same White Supremacy that killed George Floyd. The events occurring today against the AAPI community are not new. They mirror the White Supremacist foundations of our country, and are inextricably intertwined with both antiblack racism and heteropatriarchy. The systems of White Supremacy have never been binary.
So where do we go from here? What would it take for us, all of us to begin to fight for our collective humanity? We can start by, in this moment, listening to the calls from our AAPI colleagues, neighbors, and leaders. Calls to listen, to learn, and to act. While I don’t have all the answers, I believe to do this work, we must start with Courage.
The root of the word courage is cor — the Latin word for heart. The word Rage (n.) can be translated into fierceness in battle, spirit, passion, fury, or cries. Together, the words COUR + Rage = CouRage, can be translated into the “Cries of the heart.” This is what I am feeling today, every day. My heart is literally crying, demanding that I take action. In her book Killing Rage, Bell Hook writes “rage is a necessary aspect of resistance struggle. Rage can act as a catalyst inspiring courageous action.”
So today, I am asking each of us, all of us, to use our voices to become catalysts for courageous action. White Supremacy quenches our emotional response to oppression by using fear and urging us to remain complicit in our silence about acts of injustice. Its tight grip of oppression ensures that inequity remains for future generations. Our response must be: No, not this time. Not again. Not ever again.
For we must recognize that this is not a moment. This is not a temporary movement or a single call to action. For many of us, living under and within a White Supremacy regime means living under constant fear of walking down the street, driving our cars, and sending our kids off to schools. Every day, it is a threat to our health and well-being, to our very existence. Every day, it transcends crisis after crisis and makes real, sustainable progress impossible.
Courage is about Community. It requires personal and collective sacrifice, a deep love for humanity, and, more importantly, the understanding that we’re all connected. CouRage is not about #hastags or written statements of solidarity (although those can play essential roles). It is about inherently understanding that what we’re fighting for is greater than our individual success — it is our very humanity. We are fighting to ensure that ALL Lives Have Equal Value. Now is the time. Right Now. Always.