You cannot love your neighbor...
On bystanders, chaos and tacos
It will shock no one that one month after Congress let the Child Tax Credit expire the monthly child poverty rate increased from 12.1 percent in December 2021 to 17 percent in January 2022. That means that 3.7 million kids have fallen back into poverty.
People who are poor are one health care crisis, job loss, storm, or emergency away from economic desperation. And in the absence of systems of care, things are about to get much worse.
We need action. Things like expanding voting rights, passing comprehensive immigration reform, guaranteeing a living wage to all workers, and ensuring human welfare by redirecting federal expenditures away from carceral and military spending.
But even as I write this I question our commitment. How even I am speaking out from the safety of my cosy lifestyle. How even while I rage against the machine I am comfortably situated inside of it. How even I am a bystander.
You cannot love your neighbor and stand by while systems of power target and subjugate entire groups of people to abject poverty. bell hooks said that “love and abuse cannot co-exist”. We must do better.
We do not have a scarcity problem in this country, we have an inequality problem. The Poor People’s Campaign is demanding Reconstruction from the bottom up. [click to tweet]
Child Protective Services often result in the policing, surveillance, and separations of Black, Indigenous, and families of color. We need alternative solutions. Envisioning systems where families are supported, not policed. [click to tweet]
This stretch of time since 2020 has often been called ‘a turning point,’ a way to describe both its significance as well as the hope that it will lead to something better. Turning towards new ways of being. [click to tweet]
Creative Wildfire is a campaign from our friends at Movement Generation, Climate Justice Alliance and New Economy Coalition. The project stands for different kinds of fires, fires that benefit the environment and our communities, fires that give birth to new life. Check out this educational toolkit featuring inspirational examples of when our communities have taken to the streets to resist and then organized for the long-term to build power and regenerative economies. Here are some of the questions they explore:
🗣 Once we divest from extractive institutions: Where do we move our money? How can we use finance as a tool to restore wealth to the communities it's been extracted from and grow our collective resources? How can we reinvest in community power?
Art by @chiara.acu
Times of chaos and challenge can be the most spiritually powerful… if we are brave enough to rest in their space of uncertainty. Pema Chödrön says “the main point of these methods is to dissolve the dualistic struggle, our habitual tendency to struggle against what’s happening to us or in us”. Here are Pema’s suggestions for how to use our problems as the path to awakening and joy:
Go to the places that scare you: This is the primary method for working with painful situations—global pain, domestic pain, any pain at all. We can stop struggling with what occurs and see its true face without calling it the enemy.
Use poison as medicine: We can use difficult situations—poison—as fuel for waking up. Everything that occurs is not only usable and workable but is actually the path itself. We can use everything that happens to us as the means for waking up. We can use everything that occurs—whether it’s our conflicting emotions and thoughts or our seemingly outer situation—to show us where we are asleep and how we can wake up completely, utterly, without reservations.
Regard what arises as awakened energy: Regarding what arises as awakened energy reverses our fundamental habitual pattern of trying to avoid conflict, trying to make ourselves better than we are, trying to smooth things out and pretty them up, trying to prove that pain is a mistake and would not exist in our lives if only we did all the right things. When we can regard ourselves as already awake; we can regard our world as already sacred.
We will explore how to navigate chaos and change with Octavia Raheem at our next CTZN Meetup (Thursday 2/24, 7EST). Register here!
Anyway, we love tacos.
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