There’s still so much about the past few weeks that are difficult for me to put into words. I don’t think that the election results are just one of those things where something bad happens, we mourn, and we adjust to our new reality. No, this is different.
The internet is swarmed with opinions and I lack interest in going on and on about my various viewpoints that most of us have read or heard dozens of times. I do, however, want to share a simple reflection that has emerged in the last few weeks: time matters.
The way that you and I spend our time matters. And because it matters, I think we ought to put some thought and intention into how we spend our time.
Self-care. We should pay attention to our needs and spend adequate time recharging. Exercise, drink a milkshake, write poetry, spend time with loved ones, do all of the above.
Self-education. We should be readings to expand our knowledge and challenge our current understandings. We should be reading books about and authored by people with different identities and experiences from our own. Keep in mind that one author/story/voice does not represent the exact experience or thoughts of an entire group, so read from a LOT of different resources. Same goes for music and other mediums. Right now, I’m reading The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander,”a stunning account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status—denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement.”
Also check out milk and honey by rupi kaur. This collection of poems “is the experience of violence. abuse. love. loss. femininity.”
If you don’t particularly enjoy reading, watch documentaries. Check out 13th , directed by Ava DuVernay, on Netflix for a look at the history and realities of mass incarceration in the U.S.
(Notice the above resources are all works by women… #WhoRunTheWorld #SorryImNotSorry)
Get active. No, I don’t mean going to the gym (I mean, you can do that too if that’s your thing). Get involved in your community and volunteer your time. There is no shortage of gatherings, protests, and marches across the country. Make a point to put your body in those spaces. We can also attend panels, public lectures, and art shows in the community. Challenge yourself to learn what it can mean for you to be an ally. Think about how you might share your voice and/or lift the voices of others.
It can seem overwhelming or challenging to dedicate “free” time that you have from other responsibilities to activism, but it is imperative that we do this. Some activists spend days or weeks at a time engaging in actions and dialogue (follow my friends at IRTF, a non-profit located in Cleveland, who have been on a caravan advocating for detention and immigration justice). Others may engage in rallies or marches less frequently. Any time spent in advocacy is important. Perhaps if you have less time to spend traveling or marching, consider donating to an organization or calling your legislator’s offices. Advocating for what you believe in on social media can also be an important tool, but it is important that we make time to be physically present and in community.
Think back on your past week. Has your time mattered?