As I lay me down to sleep...I'm reminded of what a luxury that is.
Millions of black people will lie on the ground to sleep tonight. They'll sleep on boxes, they'll sleep on broken cement, they'll sleep on mud and many won't sleep at all.
They'll stay up to watch over their children, their parents, their husbands, their daughters, their wives their sons - those whose blood lines outlasted the Middle Passage, Slavery, THEE Revolution, world isolation, failed government after failed government, Duvalier, the American Occupation, 2010 and...Hurricane Matthew.
They'll watch over the few possessions they managed to save before nature, for all intents and purposes, betrayed them...yet again. They'll pray to the Saints of the Christians and to the Ancestors of Dahomey and Benin and they'll cry out like the Christ the pray to asking why have they been forsaken...yet again? What else do they have left to sacrifice for Salvation, for reprieve other than the very blood that barely suffices to sustain them? The skin that clings on to protect them? Their life? Is that what He wants?
That is the hypernormalized world we allow ourselves to live in; one where sleep is a luxury y'all, can you believe that? You are literally privileged to be able sleep! Sleep is a fucking luxury.
But be still. Because to know Haiti is to know pride and determination. To know Haiti, is to know hope. The nation, the people that fought until waters ran red with the blood of our oppressors, will rise again.
One day, Pearl of the Antilles will shine once again; shine so bright it reminds the entire diaspora of who we are, but this time our pearls belong to us.
L'Union Fait La Force
ThinkingNext aka as ThinkingNext2049 combines two important elements for me. The phrase “thinking next” and the number “2049” speaks to our goal of planning toward the future. I found myself critiquing and irritated by well-intentioned people who seem to always be applying salve to the pains of being black or brown and from the hood. Everyone seemed to be thinking in the now, no one was implementing solutions that focused on thinking next in a way I felt was most effective.
“2049” also reflects where the original desire to change the world started- my grandmother, Ada Mae’s front porch. The sanctuary and pain her house provided and housed now serve as my raison d’etre. In particular, helping those children whom society has already given up on.
So, after years of complaining-about gentrification, the penal system that strategically and intentionally oppresses our communities, those black folks from the hood that don’t give back, those people who come to the hood and plant some trees and then walk away feeling assuaged of their white guilt-I realized that my irritation could be better used toward my own plan of action; so here we are: ThinkingNext2049.
My aim here is to be some of the glue that catches those of us that unnoticeably fall through the cracks. Some of the ways my team and I achieve this are by engaging our communities to donate brand new books to local juvenile halls and schools, creating Q&A panels for local junior college students to speak with black and brown junior college alums who made it to grad school, initiating a “Beautify Oakland” project that focuses on planting flower beds and trees in Oakland parks...like the real Oakland that hasn’t been gentrified and thus forgotten. We have more projects in the distance and would also love to collaborate and hear from you all! Please slide into the DMs if you’re interested in connecting!