{why can’t you speak up?}

Well, I managed to go out several times this month–strictly errands-only–and what I have observed is that being a homebody is the most comfortable form of existence for me…

Of course, that statement underlies privilege.

Amidst the pandemic is on-going racism. Nothing new, even before a virus emerged, but it has been amplified with more Black lives dying at the hands of police. With so many lives lost from COVID-19 and racism, a whole country is shaken at its core because nothing is truly effectively being done to cure either one… hence, widespread protests, marches, demonstrations are emerging. Social distancing doesn’t matter this time, because regardless of how we’ve followed the rules or protocols, the most vulnerable lives are still endangered because some folks opted to go gallivanting for haircuts and leisure activities, as well as using their white entitlement and privilege to cause greater friction on a society that finally reached breaking point. And this time is different from before because even more people are socially aware of what is going on, but unfortunately it came at the expense of Black lives lost before…

So what does this all mean, for a non-Black POC still standing from a distance and hesitating to actually go out there and stand in solidarity? or even voice in solidarity?

Anjelica from 2016 apologized for not doing enough from her position to fight for justice. She thought that maybe in 4 years, Anjelica would become more radicalized and become a more active agent for change. Unfortunately, she remained the same hesistant Pinay who is still afraid to speak or even challenge problematic ideals held by her closest circles. She hates feeling uncomfortable but that is all she feels now, and that should be the case, given the current situation.

But taking a step back… reminding myself that there are other ways of solidarity that are not and should not be performative, if I am serious about becoming the active agent 2016-Anjelica expected to see transform.

The act of writing is resistance. A short essay I keep tacked on the corkboard in front of my desk was written back in 2016, the author named Dominique Matti, the title called “Writing Is A Valid Contribution To The Revolution – Listen To My Story”. (For the life of me, I cannot find the link to the essay online, but I can post a photo of the essay, with permission from the author…) The fact that I am writing on this blog is an act of solidarity, even if it doesn’t seem like it will affect any change. But one conscious mind that is aware and continuously learning adds on to the many in collective resistance.

The act of listening to Black voices is most essential and important. Black folx experience this reality with the fear of dying because of their skin color every. damn. day. And many of us take our own sense of safety and comfort for granted, mainly due to our own shades. (For sure, my light tan skin has made me feel like I can pass through…) Understand that we are living the same reality with different perspectives, and listen to what Black folx have to say.

But don’t just listen to absorb–educate to act. They cannot keep speaking for us every. single. time. an injustice happens. We need to equip ourselves with knowledge of the history of violence against Black lives, methods of stepping in to help & support, strategies on using our platforms to speak up on these issues that directly affect the lives of Black folx, and ways to care for the communities we share. Also, we need to be aware of our capacities to contribute to the struggle–know what we can do, individually, because trying to take on everything is not for one person to do alone; it takes a community, so every one of us has a capacity to do something that will collectively cause impact.

Reminder that this is an on-going process. It requires going beyond these moments of social unrest and taking the work through daily occurrences. Because racism doesn’t take a break–it comes through very subtle ways that get overlooked, if we don’t recognize our privileges of safety and comfort. From workplaces, schools, errand runs, even social interactions. Listen carefully to how people speak, in tone, diction, intent. Watch who is being watched and be ready if anything gets out of hand. If it seems like this is paranoia or overreaction… maybe it is the former, but definitely not the latter. Because to not react to the subtle ways racism comes up in our lives is way worse than overreacting; you need to understand where your position is…

This is a long and on-going process, so remain patient but vigilant.

For a comprehensive list on how to support #BlackLivesMatter, check out Marias at Sampaguitas’ BLM Resource page for where to donate, petition, and learn.

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