2017 Year of Love
[Pictured above Amirah Sackett (left) and Rachel Gold at the Caravan of Love march in Minneapolis, Feb. 11, 2017.]
I’ve had some restless nights since the current regime was elected. Woke up panicky, wondering if they’d come for me. But I realized it wasn’t me they’d come for this time. Queer, white Jews in American—not the top of the hate list at the moment. We’re more in the middle. I started making lists of my friends, ranking them by the most vulnerable, so I’d know who to keep tabs on.
That was November. Now I’m making lists of who to pay attention to so I know when to show up and be part of the beautiful coalitions that are forming. I’m making lists of where I can make the biggest difference. I’m getting really excited for the next two-to-four years. It’s not going to be easy or comfortable, but we have one of the best opportunities in recent history to build immense coalitions across the U.S. and change the future for good.
Yesterday I attended two wonderful events that illustrated this: Reclaim’s annual “Celebrate the Love” brunch and “MN Caravan of Love: A Walk of Love for Immigrants & Refugees.” So much love!
Reclaim’s mission is “to increase access to mental health support for queer and transgender youth might be free of oppression in all of its forms.” One of the great aspects of Reclaim is its focus on supporting therapists of color in Minnesota and access to those therapists, so that all queer and trans youth can have access to therapists who look like them and understand them. Reclaim’s executive director Felicia Washington-Sy spoke about creating generations of strength, building on those who’ve come before us. She listed diverse trans people who fought and often gave their lives for the freedoms we have today—and encouraged us all to build upon that powerful foundation.
From there it was a short drive over to the Caravan of Love. March organizers said: “Please come and walk with us for love; love for your immigrant neighbor, love for your Muslim classmate, love for your Syrian restaurant owner, love for your Somali state representative, love for your Mexican friend, above all, love for humanity.” People marched carrying loving posters and big Valentine’s Day hearts. The speakers and performers were moving, inspirational and often joyful—and included Amirah Sackett, who you can meet in this brief, awesome video:
Amirah performed “Love Embraces All,” which includes the poetry of Rumi, the 13th century Islamic scholar and Sufi mystic. It was deeply magical to stand in a crowd of Minnesotans and look around at the brown, black, tan, white faces, the diversity of clothing, of age, of gender and sexual orientation, of culture—while watching Amirah dance to the words, “Be certain in the religion of love. There are no believers or unbelievers. Love embraces them all.”
You can see a video of “Love Embraces All” here: https://youtu.be/9AG3q3kT4fA.
A lot of my activism involves sitting on my butt at a desk writing words (like I’m doing right now). I’m excited for the opportunities this year to meet new and amazing folks, plus reconnect to people I love and don’t see enough. I’m settling in for a long, thoughtful, methodical fight—following smart self-care instructions for activists —and feeling a lot more gratitude and joy than I thought I would this soon after the election. Big thanks to Reclaim and the Caravan of Love organizers for kicking off this year with love!
Ona MaraeFebruary 12, 2017 at 8:01 pm
Wow, Rachel! What a day. Sounds like some great community developing up there. We have good things going on in Denver, also. I’m involved in a couple of groups who formed from the Women’s March on Denver who are working on the neighborhood level, helping local women organize and network for effective action. While I can’t march anymore there are plenty of ways I can be involved and they certainly keep me busy. Best wishes to you and you all up north. And taking care of yourself is active, too, as Audre Lorde said, “…self-care is an act of political warfare.” Now that’s serious stuff!