morena strategies' 2-year anniversary: Reflections, Reminders, Responsibilities
Today, June 1, 2020 marks the 2nd anniversary of starting morena strategies and embarking on the journey of self-employment, creating a practice that unwaveringly represented me and my values 100%. I had no idea if I'd make it 2-months, let alone 2-years. morena strategies has never been about me. It's been about the people and communities I love, the movements and fights and struggles I need to do something to support. And if those people and those movements didn't need me, I was - and continue to be - ready to bow out, move aside and find some other way to be useful in advancing social, economic, and racial justice.
So maybe it's fitting that I "celebrate" this anniversary in continued physical isolation in the midst of a pandemic that's both exacerbating and shining light on the systemic economic and racial inequities in this country, and now, in the throws of national civil unrest as the world bore witness to the lynching of another black life in America by the police, we are all forced to grapple with what it truly means for Black Lives to Matter.
Today is a Monday. The start of another "work" week. Those of us privileged enough to still have jobs 3-months into a pandemic and shelter-in-place restrictions, those of us privileged enough to be able to #wfh, those of use privileged enough to have not contracted COVID-19 (or to have recovered) and be healthy already know that "working" right now is challenging. But this Monday, so many of us are struggling to get out of bed, to stop crying, to channel the rage burning within us into something "productive" or to at least not let it cripple us. Yet all of us non-black poc's and white people feeling all of us, still don't live EVERY DAY - pandemic or not, public protests or not - with the fear, anxiety, pain, exhaustion that black Americans carry in their bodies, minds, souls...EVERY DAY.
So check yourself this Monday (and Tuesday and Wednesday...and for many days to come) if you woke up like it was just another Monday and have the privilege to not be fatigued to your core by this country's pervasive and embedded racism. Then use that energy you have and do something real with it. Engage in building solutions. Stand up. Show up. Speak up. Donate. Advocate. Uplift black voices. But do something. Silence is violence. Inaction is unacceptable.
If you're still not sure what to do, here's some (admittedly not complete) places to start for those of you in Pasadena or LA, in particular. If anyone wants to share resources for me to help promote, please do. I'll add them here and blast out on all morena strategies social media channels.
City of Pasadena residents:
Today at 2pm the City Council is meeting (still virtual). Speak up, learn about your local government's process. Call on the City to #DefundThePolice (more info below).
Contact your City Councilmember.
Tomorrow - Tuesday June 2- the Pasadena NAACP and National Association of Day Laborers are leading a peaceful vigil for George Floyd. Meet at 5pm at First AME Church (1700 N Raymond Ave) for a vehicle caravan (social distancing still important) through the streets of Pasadena.
City of Los Angeles residents:
Tomorrow at 10am is the City Council meeting (still virtual). Speak up - especially about the City's budget which increased funding for the LAPD while cutting the budgets of so many essential services and departments. Spending $3B (of a total $10.5B budget) on the police does not reflect the priorities of the community. #DefundThePolice Check out the People's Budget LA instead.
Contact your City Councilmember.
Contact the Mayor.
County of Los Angeles residents:
Tomorrow at 11am is the County Board of Supervisors meeting (still virtual). The Proclamation of Local Emergency and Executive Order for Curfew due to civil unrest is Agenda Item #1.
Contact your County Supervisor.
Metro's next Board meeting is June 25 at 10am. In case you didn't know, Metro cut service Saturday May 30 at 8pm (when Citywide curfew went into effect) with no notice to the general public. Furthermore, Metro buses were then provided to LAPD to transport arrested protestors to jail.
Educate yourself on Black Lives Matter Programs and Actions, the experiences of black Americans - highly recommend reading EVERYTHING Tamika Butler, Esq. writes, this NYT Opinion piece by Roxane Gay (and EVERYTHING she writes too), Kareem Abdul-Jabar's LAT Op-Ed, this piece by WNBA player Natasha Cloud. Uplift, highlight, promote, share these voices and demands.