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We Can't Take Them All With Us
for colored folks who love people who Harriet would have shot
I think about the future a lot. There is not a day where I don’t spend at least a little time visualizing the life I want and the possibilities for my loved ones and the greater community. We have an imagination for a reason, right? My imagination doesn’t take me to distant lands (I have Delta SkyMiles for that); it makes slight adjustments to the timeline that we’re already on. I believe that a dope future will be made from several small shifts, not massive leaps. The thing is…as those several small shifts become embodied, it will feel like you’ve made a cavernous leap from here to there.
In the future I envision, every public space, policy, curriculum, etc. is created and maintained with those of us who are most vulnerable at the forefront. There will no longer need to be these circular conversations about accessibility, equity, and inclusion, because that will be a way of life. How we get there, I don’t fully know. Unlike Sway, I don’t have the answers…right now.
So while I don’t know how this will occur on the macro level, I do have some ideas about how this can begin to happen on the micro level. A big piece of the puzzle is recognizing that not everyone can be part of your new world/life — even people you love. We expend a lot of energy in real life and on these internets trying to change folks’ minds and get them to see that there are better/easier/loving/more kind ways to exist. They turn a blind eye, fight with all their might against us, and pretty much exhaust us. We continue. And they continue to push back on the possibilities. No one wants to be “wrong” and the more you challenge someone’s worldview and socialization, especially when it means they have to take a good hard look at themselves, their upbringing, and their very very existence, the more resistance you’ll receive.
These are the folks that would have hemmed and hawed when Harriet Tubman was “ret ta go!” These are the people we gotta leave behind.
You can’t build a new world with faulty bricks.
I’m not saying this casually or off hand. It’s not easy. Trust, I know. There are people who I love, who I have held dear, who I only want the best for, but I can’t take them with me. While this makes me sad, angry, and frustrated, I cannot allow it to stop me from moving forward, nor can I allow it to stop me form supporting others in moving forward. As funky as this may sound, we need the folks we can’t take (in the background and off to the side, of course) to help remind us of where we don’t want to return back to and how much further we must go. We can still keep a kernel of hope that they will shift, but it’s not our job to keep looking back lest we wind up like Lot’s wife — salty and with no agency.
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