From the Archive
Day 4 Update: Hope Is a Discipline
“Hope is a discipline.”– Mariame Kaba
The question, “what brings you hope?” opened our work for the day. Together, we shared our ideas on how hope is cultivated and sustained. For our community hope is found by sharing and celebrating successes and the long hard work of our elders and mentors. Even simple acts such as planting garlic remind us that our work is for the future. One person reflected on the image of a tree growing through a crack in the sidewalk whose roots will eventually break it’s concrete prison. This image draws us to consider all the acts of resistance that are needed to break the chains that bind us. Hope, while found in all manner of vision and action, must be sought out, seeded, and cultivated.
The community participated in a workshop to help us understand and dismantle white supremacy. The collective discussed the writings of Peggy McIntosh, Robin D’Angelo, George Lipsitz, and Andrea Smith. In particular, we considered Smith’s Three Pillars of White Supremacy – Slavery/Capitalism, Genocide/Colonialism, and Orientalism/War. Over the past few years while WAT has been working to address the unjust imprisonment and brutal torture of innocents in Guantanamo, we have also been going deeper into our analysis to address the root cause of power and understand the racism inherent in the system. This helps us see the connections from Guantanamo to mass incarceration, police murder, and immigrant detention. Finally, we talked about the importance of understanding the hatred and racism that fueled the campaign strategy of Donald Trump, and the subsequent process that elected these policies into the highest office in the United States. Given the rise of the Trump administration, the “alt-right”, and white nationalists in mainstream politics, such work is paramount and necessary.
After an afternoon free for small group meetings and self-care, we were joined in the circle by members of the Coalition for Concerned Mothers. Marion Gray-Hopkins, DeShola Dawkins, Burnette McFadden, Greta Willis, Beverly Smith, and Rhanda Dormeus graciously and generously shared the stories of their children who were murdered by police and horizontal community violence. The room was heavy from the pain and loss endured by these women. In their sharing, the mothers focused on the humanity of their children, the specifics of each story, and the reality that justice is impossible for the lives lost.
These courageous women remain vigilant and courageous in their cause, seeking to ensure that other mothers never have to endure the loss of a child. In the sharing of stories and the communal holding of the pain, we built community and together are reminded that “hope is a discipline.”
Check out our actions in this recently published video: Why Trump Should Close Guantánamo
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