Choose to be a Light Bearer on the Path to Liberation

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We’ve made it through the first half of 2023. We survived. 

We may be frayed around the edges, exhausted, and in search of respite but WE ARE HERE. Take a deep breath. Acknowledge that accomplishment. Celebrate it. YOU ARE HERE.

I know it can be hard to remember to pause and celebrate after everything we have been through these last six months (and years). Our work to create a world where people live with dignity and thrive feels daunting after what we have already experienced. 

In just six months, we have seen over 520 anti-LGBTQ+ laws introduced in states with a significant number targeting transgender youth and families. There have been 28 mass killings, all but one have been due to gun violence. The effects of climate change are creating extreme weather conditions, with last week being the hottest week on record. The greed of Hollywood executives who would rather let writers go broke before reaching a deal with striking workers. And of course the devastating Supreme Court rulings at the end of June on affirmative action, LGBTQ+ rights and student loan debt.

On top of everything, some state lawmakers are trying to undermine the will of the people. Over the last six months, 167 bills in 36 states have been introduced to change the ballot measure process; 71 of those bills are restrictive. These attacks are front and center in Ohio, where the future of direct democracy will be decided during an August 8 special election. Fueled by efforts to protect reproductive freedom in Ohio, lawmakers are trying to trick the people into raising the threshold to pass ballot measures to 60%. Despite the fact that legal abortions are widely popular and that organizers have turned in nearly double the amount of signatures required to put reproductive rights on the ballot, the Ohio GOP can’t win fairly and so they are trying to rewrite the rules to get their way – no matter what the majority of the people want. 

Surviving these attacks on our rights and freedoms is a cause for celebration. But we deserve more than just survival. 

Given what we face, it is easy to be disheartened and overwhelmed. This quote from Grace Lee Boggs is guiding me as I look ahead: “You don’t choose the times you live in, but you do choose who you want to be.”   

These times are hard. They can be demoralizing but I choose to be a light bearer. I choose to create loving and safe places for us to be ourselves. I choose to believe that freedom for all of us is possible and I am tearing down every system that prevents us from reaching freedom-side. 

Just a year ago, I wrote about the need for us to pace ourselves towards liberation and that remains true. We also get to choose who we want to be at this moment. We can be light bearers on the journey before us. While we work to dismantle the racist and oppressive systems preventing us from true freedom, we must also remember this: 

WE, the people, can and must liberate ourselves.

P.S. –  There will be no August piece from me because I will be on sabbatical from July 31 – September 1. This is my longest period of rest from work. There will be no product I will share from my sabbatical. This will be a time to dream, explore, travel, commune, and more.

I leave you this quote from Rest is Resistance by Tricia Hersey:

“We are socialized into systems that cause us to conform and believe our worth is connected to how much we can produce. Our constant labor becomes a prison that allows us to be disembodied. We become easy for the systems to manipulate, disconnected from our power as divine beings and hopeless. We forget how to dream. This is how grind culture continues. We internalize the lies and in turn, become agents of an unsustainable way of living.”

May you remember you are worthy of rest.