what tenuous freedoms did we have
that they hung on the balance
of one woman’s life?
we grew so complacent in our fight
resting in our ignorance
as she held the door.
her pertinacity kept us safe
while she held fast our freedoms
against all assaults
in the dark chasm of her absence
we stare down our oppressors
eye to hungry eye
victory curving their smacking lips
our rights over the abyss
they scent a weakness
we cannot let them tear asunder
all she fought for all those years
we must battle on.
wake your anger and drink it deeply
carry her spark into the night
keep holding the door.
One thousand people
passed away in just one day
souls in flight and gone.
One thousand hearts stop
one thousand families cry
for just one more day.
Yet anti maskers
cry of lost freedoms, crowding
us closer to death.
Their loved ones will mourn
when they lie alone and dying
viruses don’t care.
I can only begin this post by stating I am aware of the privileges I have as a white middle class woman. I recognize my experience is different from that of a person of color. In fact, I recognize my experience is different from that of a person with a visible disability, instead of my invisible illness. In societal terms I am, within the boundaries set forth for women, acceptable, and to a large point, welcome.
So I can only begin to imagine the stress my less welcomed fellow Americans are undergoing right now. I can only extrapolate from my own sense of powerlessness the helplessness they must be feeling. I share in their anger and dismay but I cannot fully understand how they feel.
I can only hope there is something I can do to help put an end to this madness.
There’s an added complexity for me, one that is the underlying cause of this post. My invisible illnesses are made significantly worse by emotional stress. I am literally making myself sick reading about everything that is going on with my beloved country every day. So I need to strike a balance between knowing what is happening so that I can find ways to help and giving myself space to process so I don’t make myself sicker. (Again, I recognize that being able to give myself that space is – in and of itself – a privilege.)
This is a concern I have heard repeated in the SpoonieSphere. Many spoonies want to help, want to make a difference, but are experiencing this same drain on their already limited resources. Many can’t march with protests, most don’t have extra money to donate. What are the best ways to help while still “putting on our oxygen masks first”?
Let’s begin by choosing some reputable news sources that come out once or twice a week. For example, Code Switch by NPR has been recommended along with New York Times’ The Daily . These two podcasts provide fairly thorough reporting on what’s happening in the U.S. You can also give British papers a read through, I find the U.K.’s take on our happenings to be less biased one way or another.
Second, there are some things we can do at home to help support the fight against hate.
- You can stand against hate in social media. Confront those who spew hate, and loudly disavow it on your social platforms. Be one of the voices condemning it.
- You can support your local marches and vigils, even if you can’t attend. Perhaps you can make a few signs and give them to the organizers to hand out to people, or you can use your social network to enhance the message of the protest.
- Write to your representatives in the government. Let them know you stand against racism and you want them to stand against it to. Write to everyone who represents you. You can do it in email, through the post, or via petitions.
- Personally message the people you know who are targets of these attacks. Send them a loving and supportive text or email or card. Call them. Let them know you are a member of their community who loves them and wants them to be there.
There are things we spoonies can do without making ourselves sick and we should do them. I don’t know about you but sitting around doing nothing is untenable for me.