#4: The First Week-A letter to my child

To my eight-year-old daughter,

I don’t know where to begin. Maybe I can just start with what’s in my heart and it’s pretty simple but truly profound. You have given me purpose, strength, and focus. Before you were born I struggled and hated almost everything about myself. Seriously, every bit of my persona was up for grabs. I talked too much. My body was lumpy and soft. I had ugly curly hair that was never cool. I was brought up straddling the values of a Punjabi family and white American culture but never really rooted in either. A college degree was elusive and I felt smart and stupid at the same time. I lived with this frustrated chaos for most of my adult life. Until you came along. So, you see, it’s simple, but not quite so. Maybe when you were growing inside, you squashed away some pain. I wonder if you saw what was in my heart? Whatever happened, since you’ve come along I have changed for the better. I am not filled with as much self-loathing. I feel proud of my accomplishments. I have always been sensitive, emotional, and even over-reactive. Now I see these traits as weapons, a defense against uncertainty and malaise. Because, I am sure you know this about me, I don’t sit still for long! I know you’ve seen me in a state of sadness for a few days, but I always rise up because I refuse to give up. I hope I passed this along to you too.

I tell you this because I want you to know how much I care about the future you will share with all the children in this world. And although I don’t feel as much internal chaos as before what I see happening to the world right now is a new chaos I’ve never felt. I can tell you that us grown-ups are very worried and as each day passes in early 2017, our worst fears are unfolding before us. And we feel so many things at once, hopelessness, anger, energy, resiliency, and unease. Your father suggested that I stay off social media and this is good advice because right now it’s hard to soak in so much bad news pouring in every hour. At the same time, it’s how I connect and mobilize but I admit I’m struggling to balance. Your poppa likes to approach the world with calmness and introspection, his way is also valuable, I hope you learn from him as well. But I find it difficult to respond with such a measured approach because what we’re facing feels urgent. So I turn to writing, as I am now, as a way to share my experiences. I feel compelled to do this because I want you to have a trusted source to turn to when revisionist historians downplay and gloss over what the general masses were feeling during the twilight years of some future I don’t yet see. And you can tell from my writing, I pound out words with urgency and speed. I just try my best, something I say to you often. But my goal is to write a simple sketch of 2017. I think this is an important year and I can already see there will be much pain and loss for many.

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So this brings me to week one. Just seven days ago, on January 21 I was in Washington DC marching with two of my dearest friends, women you’ve known your whole life. We marched with nearly 500,000+ people, mostly women, mostly wearing pink pussyhats. Plus, every state in this country had a sister march too. Your grandfather marched in Los Angeles with a turnout of 750,000. He texted me a selfie and I started to cry when he told me I inspired him to wear a pink turban and march. It was an emotional day in DC, there were so many signs, messages, and concerns. It was a day I will remember forever, a day our country showed it’s big loving heart and I felt fortified and supported. It was the most inspiring thing I’ve ever done in my life, your Nanaji said the same thing. It will be our touchstone, I will return to the photos and videos for energy as we descend into instability. And trust me, the crowds were huge, so huge they had to open up all the streets for us march! We showed up and I’m glad you remember that I called you as I marched down Pennsylvania Ave. At the same time, I also felt so sad. Everything we are marching for is under attack. Women’s health and reproductive rights, climate change, black lives, justice, immigrant rights, protection for migrants and refugees, Native American sovereignty, and our planet are all going to be hit hard. But I want you to know this story and pass it your friends. You can tell them your mother and her friends were there and more people marched than attended Donald Trump’s inauguration. This is a fact. I wasn’t paid to attend and neither was anybody else. Full stop.

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I feel strange having to make this statement but remember facts and truth are real. I never want you to stop believing! Yes, people are spreading hateful, awful lies right now. I have no idea what you will read when you’re an adult. I imagine it will be different than reality. This saddens me because I had such a different childhood and I mourn the idea that your country is in a dark place as you become a teenager. I know your memories of this time in your life will be more negative than mine. Back in the day, we did believe in our country, your grandparents and great-grandparents immigrated here with lots of hope and patriotism. I will do my best to keep joy and happy memories in your life.

I hope you read the book 1984 by George Orwell. I turned 12 in 1984 and so it was back in popular dialogue. Your grandfather had a tattered copy on his shelf, along with Animal Farm and I must’ve read it when I was 13 or 14. It was a bit over my head, that’s for sure, but since then I’ve read it many times. I tell you to study it because we live in an Orwellian time right now. There are powerful people using phrases like “alternative facts.” This is not a real concept. Very smart people are manipulating the truth and confusing all of us. It takes a lot more critical thinking energy to sift through information and I make all sort of errors too. But the truth is still out there, it’s not fully eradicated and never will be. But right now, lies are taking center stage. There is debate over the election results, but it is true that Hillary won the popular vote by 2.9 million. It is also true that Donald Trump won the electoral college and is the reason he is in the White house. My hope is that when you vote it will be counted directly. Right now, many Americans feel as though we’re not represented by our government, this is a very unstable feeling. This has happened twice in my lifetime (research the election of George Bush) and I feel strongly this must not happen again. I will fight for this change, we can do it!

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Also, President Trump ran a campaign of lies and has deluded himself and perhaps many Americans that his plans will make our country great, again. You said it best, with the sign you made on inauguration day “Donald Trump, America is already great, you will make it worse again.” I want you to remember what you knew when you were just eight years old, in third grade, making art and writing your feelings out on January 20th. You believed that America is great. I am very proud of you for understanding that this country has a lot to offer. Look at your grandfather and look to people in your community that care, have thrived and love this country with all of its diversity of people, ideas, and yes challenges. We have legacy problems to correct, I will not deny this, but what Trump wants to do will not solve the issues. And somehow, without knowing every detail, you understood something deeply true. Throughout this whole year, your astute observations have filled me with relentless optimism, or Chardi Kala as Sikhs like your nanaji say! What a beautiful word, this is your culture and your roots. Sikhs and Icelanders are strong, resilient people, always tap into your blended heritage when you’re losing direction. And always keep good people in your life, you will need them. Your friends are all kind, caring, intelligent and creative human beings, I’m so proud of you all.

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But remember, President Trump is in power for what will be a short blip in your full life. You and the children around your age will have to make this country better and I’m sorry there will be a lot more work ahead. But I know you will do the right thing!  I marched with so many young people in DC and saw how determined your generation is to protect people’s rights and our planet. The kids get it! You know we must have justice for all people. You know that we must protect our water. You know that we must have health insurance and access to education. You know this and I never want you to forget.

There will be people that will try to convince you that their religious views supersede your rights to make choices for your body. Reject this limited view and fight to protect your choice. There will be people who will tell you it’s okay to pump oil and we must be energy independent. Reject this destructive plan and fight for sustainable solutions. There will be people that tell you immigrants cause all the problems in this country. Reject this and remember your roots, your father, your grandparents, and every single American came as immigrants to this country and they made it great! There will be people that will say Muslims are terrorists. Reject this and all forms of religious and racial discrimination, always. There will be people that say the rich shouldn’t bear some burden to help others with less. Reject this and fight for economic equality and remember an injustice to one is an injustice to all. There will be people that tell you liberals lie, climate science is a hoax, the left is intolerant, and the news is fake. Reject misinformation and always research, use your well-honed critical thinking skills, and don’t get off message. The truth is real, don’t ever give in and think there is nothing left to believe. Always find some source of truth in institutions that are here to protect you, they do exist. Right now in 2017, many people I know, on both sides have lost faith in everything and this is very disturbing. It’s destructive and we haven’t seen how just yet. Because a lot of people who voted for Trump did so out of frustration and the belief that we need to shake things up because everybody lies anyhow. And then there were 45% of the population that didn’t even vote at all, most likely many of them also believe that their vote doesn’t count, that nothing matters, or that everything is a lie. So these are the underlying factors that brought about a Trump administration. In 2008, we voted for Barak Hussein Obama, I took you in your little stroller to the voting booth, never forget. We as a country, voted for hope, for change, for pragmatism. So I know this energy still exists, I felt it when I marched with millions of people all over the world. There is love and it will trump hate but right now we’re gearing up for the biggest battle of ideas and I do so bravely and without reservation. I will not be one of the adults that made this world a mess for you to clean up.

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#3 Focusing and Deepening Political Clarity

Yesterday, I flipped my whole schedule around and ditched my family for seven hours to attend a one-day conference sponsored by the Center for Political Education. At first, I wasn’t sure if it was the right way to spend my Saturday but I knew a few things; 1. I had to get away from soaking in politics only from screens, and 2. that my hesitation was rooted in fear, and 3. my family would be totally fine without me (update: they survived).

I hadn’t heard of any of the speakers but when I read Linda Burham’s notes on the election I was motivated to attend, sending flying kisses to my daughter as I rushed out with a randomly packed bag of snacks, pen, and a notebook. Since the Election of 2016, I’ve been trying my best to hunt down new voices, new sources of information, history, guidance, and inspiration. This doesn’t mean reading conservative news outlets, buddying up with Trump voters or researching conservative think tanks. Rather, I’ve been trying to follow the trail of those who weren’t shocked by what happened, who were paying attention and had seen the signs. What I’m learning in the past few months, was there were a lot of people screaming in the woods about the oncoming backlash and groundwork for Trump’s ascendency. I somewhat heard their faint calls and would think; “Naa, did I hear that? Hmm, must’ve been my imagination. All is fine.” I encourage you to read Burham’s full notes but the conclusion she came to in May 2016 was this:

The U.S. left is not strong enough – not nearly strong enough – to frame its own choices. Every choice that is framed for us by the center and the right will be agonizingly difficult. The key issue is whether the choices we make create the possibility to build our strength and move in the direction of a coherent strategy, or further weaken and marginalize our already fragmented and debilitated forces.

The conference was held at UC Berkeley and I’ve always had a Dead Poet’s Society-like nostalgia about being a college student on such a campus but on days like this, I also feel free to teach myself, whenever and however I want! I walked briskly, filled with purpose, without motherly guilt, and ready to deepen my political clarity. I went alone, only knowing one person who I’d met briefly while campaigning for police reform in Oakland. And I felt proud to push myself to fill my brain with new ideas, fully open-minded to listen intently and to LISTEN HARD.

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The lecture hall was packed, CPE said that they had twice as many attendees as expected, portending the enthusiasm for a movement forming right before us. The keynote opened with a reminder that UC Berkeley was built on sacred Ohlone burial grounds. Then we were asked to stand and participate in a traditional Ohlone blessing to the seven directions and asked to invoke the name of our ancestors, children, women, men in our lives and honor the heavens above, the earth below and the energy that connects us all. And just like that, the whole day was framed with poignancy and history that grounded us.

Linda Burham opened with a keynote that focused on short-term and long-term arcs of history. As soon as her full speech is made available I will post it because it was filled with so much detail, history and analysis I need to watch it again. It was clear she could’ve spoken for hours, and we all would’ve sat in rapt attention. Linda opened with a poem by June Jordan, a poet I had never heard of before but was honored she was brought into the room. Here is an excerpt (slightly paraphrased) of what was read from Jordan’s book “From Sea to Shining Sea”, published in 1982:

This was not a good time to be married.

This was not a good time to buy a house at 18% interest.

This was not a good time to rent housing on a completely decontrolled rental market.

This was not a good time to be a Jew when the national Klan agenda targets Jews as well as Blacks among its enemies of the purity of the people

This was not a good time to be a tree

This was not a good time to be a river

This was not a good time to be found with a gun

This was not a good time to be found without one

This was not a good time to be gay

This was not a good time to be Black

This was not a good time to be a pomegranate or an orange

This was not a good time to be against the natural order

……

This is not such a hot time for you or for me

I post these words to illustrate one refrain I heard over and over again. Trump is not new. We’ve seen this before. Linda said, “We are troubled and in trouble. But if you woke up shocked after the election you weren’t paying attention.” I was home, this is what I wanted to understand, the historical context and hidden agendas that had been in play for decades. She also tempered her speech by saying she didn’t have answers and went so far to suggest that “anybody with ready-made answers is possibly a charlatan.” Lately, I’ve heard from so many that want answers, easy fixes, a clear plan, one that doesn’t involve protesting, or direct engagement and to hear long-time activists without answers was at the same time humbling and uncomfortable. Despite the lack of clear solutions, I still believe it’s important to research in order to create new strategies because it feels like we’re on the cusp of creating a newly reformed leftist, progressive movement. At least this is the hope, that a center-left coalition based mass movement that is inclusive of many perspectives, with an agenda that is formed from the ground up will fill the current void. I have glimmers of cautious optimism this will happen and agree that anybody with easy, ready-made solutions for progress should be met with scrutiny.

About halfway though a funny thing happened, I started to lose my confidence and sense of purpose. Listening to the panelists, diving into a very deep pool of experience, knowledge and different points of view than I was used to hearing started to erode my groundedness. I sat alone, eating my smashed, almond butter and grape jelly sandwich and watched groups of people hugging, interacting, chatting, and it became obvious that many had crossed paths before. Instantly, I felt alienated, alone and intimidated and of course, I went for my digital security blanket and posted an honest (maybe pathetic) little screed about how I wished I hadn’t squandered my calling. And it’s true, all I could feel was a deep sense of regret that I hadn’t figured out a way to work for organizations that had been leading the fight for social justice and human rights when I was much younger and more energized. I kept kicking myself, thinking how much further I’d be in my journey if I had the confidence to stick with my convictions. I felt a longing for the activated, captivated youth that I remembered before I went down a path of self-destruction (don’t worry, more essays to come about this personal story).

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But being alone, also forced me to re-write notes and condense my thoughts in the moment, and I felt disciplined, like a hungry student. So here are my lightbulb moments, written at a break before the final wrap-up, scrawled with a pen running out of ink, in no particular order and based on what I heard after six hours of panels and lectures:

  1. We must move past the “liberal panic over identity politics” and understand the delusion of the master. The Election of 2016 was not a response to counter identity politics, rather a culmination of a 40-year strategy to regain white supremacy (i.e Paul Manafort began his Southern Strategy with Reagan’s campaign). It was a fairly predictable backlash to changing demographics.
  2. The false of idea of “choice” (health care, charter schools, opting out of Unions) perpetuates neoliberalism and diminishes collectivism and protection for all citizens. (Neoliberalism defined as making markets where markets didn’t exist before or moving from centralized governmental agencies to privatization).
  3. We must rebuild the left, learn from the lessons of 2016 that exposed flaws in our system. We are working on new terrain that is not in our control. The weakened left must rebuild a broad base of radicals, moderates, and corporatist liberals to form a strong electoral strategy and not continue to cede voters to the powerful Conservative movement. Currently, the left is bereft of an electoral strategy. However, finding common cause is the most effective weapon against fascism.
  4. Neoliberal and capitalistic policies that were allowed to take root under the Democrats will now be exploited by Trump’s amped up repressive form of conservatism on steroids.
  5. There is a deep concern for the protection of free speech, and the personal safety of protesters as the police will be empowered to use their military-style weapons. We must prepare for the worst and at the same time, we must not let our “revolutionary imagination” become subdued (an example of how dialectal thinking is necessary).
  6. Bernie and his supporters created a beachhead for progressive ideas but right now his platform is weak and it’s Achilles heel is his reliance on race and gender neutral messages that didn’t create a coalition until Black Lives Matter activists pushed him into this arena. However, there is an opportunity to build this coalition and tap into the energy generated by his supporters. No progressive political movement can succeed unless the struggle of people of color is central.
  7. Trump is not new. We are experiencing the backlash that has historical reference. The black struggle for freedom had always inspired other disenfranchised groups to fight for their rights and this combined movement always sparked a backlash. The white activist movement coalesced around mobilizing resentments of the white working class as they have in the first and second reformations. They also exploited the fears of inevitable demographic shifts. We are on the eve of a third reformation (ie. Rev. Barber’s Moral Monday’s movement).

Here is a bunch of additional research to dive deeper as a self-directed student of the movement, and in my opinion, it’s utterly crucial to understand terms that are flying around and become deeply rooted in history. The more I learn, I am simultaneously freaked out and also comforted by the similar patterns that have always existed.

Terms and theories to research further:

  1. Neoliberal multi-culturalism
  2. Internationalism
  3. Collectivism
  4. Fascism
  5. 1st and 2nd reformations
  6. Dialectics
  7. Community defense organizations
  8. Trump’s “New Deal for Black America”

Books, papers and authors/poets mentioned:

  1. June Jordon
  2. Adrienne Rich
  3. Audre Lorde
  4. “Mobilizing Resentment” 
  5. “The Soul of Black Fok” W.E.B Du Bois
  6. Frederick Douglass, particularly his comments on Lincoln’s election
  7. Princeton paper that proves the US is an Oligarchy and no longer a Democracy
  8. Reverend Barber’s New Year’s Eve message (2017)

Well, my brain is full. I have a busy week ahead and am on my to Washington DC, pussyhat and signs in hand. I’m doing all of this to remain inspired, energized, not give into liberal malaise or discomfort. I’d aspire to be committed, hopeful, positive and thoughtful in my approach. This will require more balance, discipline, and dedication. I may complain, feel isolated or intimidated, but I know those are just fleeting feelings, they will pass. Sometimes those feelings are a message as well. But I know I’m tapping into an energy ball of light and I won’t let that flame flicker out to darkness.


This essay is a part of the writing challenge called #52Essaysin2017 and my continuing series called Dismantling. These are my thoughts, opinions, and ideas about politics, activism, community organizing and family. Please join me on my journey. 

 

 

 

 

#2 Women marching forward and leaving the grumbly stuff behind

This essay is a part of the writing challenge called #52Essaysin2017 and my continuing series called Dismantling. These are my thoughts, opinions, and ideas about politics, activism, community organizing and family. Please join me on my journey. 

It had only been eight days after the election when I got a text from a dear friend. “Do you want to come with to the Women’s March in DC?”  I was still in a funk over it all. Like so many, unsettling emotions would sweep through me in waves. My mind could be filled with usual working momma stuff for hours and then it’d hit me in a crushing flash that Donald Trump won. But I also knew that there was a lot of work to be had in order to keep important issues on the table—equality, human rights, and the environment would need our protection. I didn’t admit this to my friend at the time but I also felt unsure about the current state of feminism, after the heady days following over a million women in Pantsuit Nation, the thought of a women’s march kind of rankled something inside. I felt deflated, irritated and I just wanted to shrug it away, curled up in bed, and watch YoutTube with my daughter. The feminist messages all around also annoyed me and I thought is this all we’re gonna do, remain nasty women, complain about pussy grabbin’ and wear safety pins? After the election, everything that had fueled white-hot feminist inspiration felt contrived and hollow in one instant. At the same time, I knew these grumbly opinions were around because I was awash with negativity and filtering ideas through a murky lens of self-flagellation.

At first, I wanted to respond to my friend with a mean and sarcastic quip to match my edgy mood. But she’s not that type of person, she is the sweetest, most kind woman I know, and to answer her earnest request for solidarity with a snide response felt wrong. I laid in bed, cell phone in hand and pushed myself to answer with the same generous spirit of the request. I knew I should try to take in her openness, her invitation for action and connection was real, it wasn’t a Facebook comment or Twitter follower. In all honesty, it was surprising she was the first of my friends to act because I didn’t expect it from her. In the nearly 15 years of our friendship, we had talked about issues but never discussed direct action or activism to any extent. So when she told me she had already bought her plane tickets, I was actually impressed by her quick response. I knew that as a Latina mother, who has worked tirelessly for her community as a public health professional, she was just as devastated as I was at the thought of a Trump administration, yet she was already rising up. So in my lame attempt to be ambivalent, I typed that I wasn’t sure if a women’s march was where I wanted to put my energy at this time. I couldn’t explain it to her, probably because I didn’t have the words myself, but I wasn’t all that inspired to trek out to DC in January. As she usual she understood and I told her to keep reaching out and I was here for support. Then she told me she had been reaching out to more than one woman friend and was met with resistance, ambivalence, questioning and felt disregarded and alone. I could understand that feeling, I had been gearing up as a community organizer in Oakland in the past few months and at times I had also felt alone in my quest to help the homeless and fight for police reform. Something about what she said made me sit up a little because here she was a busy mom of two, asking for support, trying to mobilize and fight one of the most corrupt Presidents we had ever witnessed in our lives and I wasn’t fully meeting her where she stood. We went back and forth for a good for 20 minutes and it clicked, she was trying to reach out to mostly white, upper-middle-class moms in Marin, some of whom wouldn’t ever be directly affected one way or another by laws that Trump meant to enact or dismantle. Eventually, we tepidly agreed that our white friends may not react with the same urgency because their privilege allowed them to remain passive. It felt a little liberating to be so blunt about the differences, but at the same time, it was a disappointing realization. But one thing was clear, this change in our country felt like a crisis to both of us, and we felt very sure that our communities and the issues we cared about would be adversely affected. Then she told me that one of her friends said that if the march had a single focus, like the environment, that maybe she’d be compelled to attend but that women’s rights was too broad for her to rally around. That’s when I said, fuck this, us brown mommas, we gotta go to DC! I immediately booked a seat on the same flight as my friend and it was in that moment that the grumbly crud that was starting to infest my worldview was wiped clear. I didn’t need to read a mission statement or know who was leading the march, or even the route. Being in DC on the first official day of Donald Trump’s presidency would be important and I didn’t need any more convincing. And through all the initial mess of the march’s organizing, the issues with permits, leadership, and conversations about the lack intersectionality in messaging, I just sat tight. I had a plane ticket, a marching buddy, a studio apartment in Dupont Circle thanks to some amazing happenstance and generosity of another good friend, and I knew it’d be worth our time.

When I look back upon 2016 I can see I was preparing myself for exactly where we are now. I may not have consciously realized that I tapped into some sort of innate reverberating current. Sometimes it can feel as if there is a subconscious stream of knowledge, at times we act on this foresight, or we walk around feeling something is amiss, but mostly it goes ignored until it blasts through to consciousness. I started by connecting with groups online, following new Facebook feeds and signing up for events, lectures, and protests. This all began slowly at first, I sat by all winter and watched streets erupt in pain as another black man was shot by police. I saw the videos, heard the pleas for help, and understood the psychic distress of each fatal bullet inflicted on communities of color. All I could think to do was click yes on Black Lives Matter events, many of which I didn’t attend because of one complacent reason after another. I probably clicked yes so many times that the word lost meaning and eventually the virtual actions felt less impactful. I began to recognize that sitting behind a screen, in my safe haven, was not going to make a difference and it created hopelessness and disconnection. But still, I watched as yet another shaky cell phone video captured violence in which the only form of de-escalation was a bullet. I read every argument, comments online, and watched racists memes fill my channels. I began to recognize that in the background of a long, divisive Presidential campaign and the onslaught of police brutality that our country was already torn apart. By the middle of last year, what had been itching away in my gut became hard to ignore, there are people who want to protect their way of life and it has nothing to do with mine. I could see there was no going back, that it would take mass protest, feet on the streets, people like me, a middle-aged mother, living in Oakland to join the fight. I had to share my frustrations with my black neighbors because what was happening was unacceptable and I knew we had to let it be known that white supremacy is real, it creates violence and division that may never heal but needs to be addressed and eventually dissolved.

Then the Oakland Police Department became embroiled in a sex trafficking case that involved a minor and multiple officers plus a rotating door of police chiefs. Alton Sterling met his maker and Philando Castille got slaughtered in his car in early June. This was too much for me to bear and I rose up and out my chair. The confluence of subsequent events since Ferguson and Trayvon Martin connected a fateful tale of violence towards black men, and by default, to every person of color in our mixed-up country. And the realization that Oakland was a ticking time bomb filled with police corruption and sexual abuses of vulnerable women prompted a visceral reaction that finally ripped me away from my screen. I knew it then and I know it now, we have deep problems in our country, racism, economic inequality, lack of respect for women, the dominance of white culture was rearing its ugly head for all to see but what I didn’t know then was that my realization would be validated with the results of the 2016 election. In early June, I started clicking away more furiously than before, RSVPing for every march and social justice meetup I could find. I still had no idea which way to turn until a co-worker who I had recently friended on Facebook, breaking my usual protocol, asked if I wanted a marching buddy for one of the many protests that showed up in my feed. I said, yes, you’re exactly what I need, a marching buddy. And so my librarian friend and I marched in the streets and freeways of Oakland, with our backpacks filled with in-case-of-tear-gas lemons, scarves, granola bars and water. It was not an easy march, the messages were filled with suffering, we cried, and we marched with a slight unease one would expect to have as anarchists took to the streets in dark of night.

Looking back six months isn’t really a long period of time to ruminate over but it’d probably take another essay to fill in the details of everything I’ve learned about political activism and community organizing. Even though the time has been short, I’ve crammed in so much information and connections it’s a little dizzying. At times, I realize I am a few steps ahead of my friends who are just now waking up to a new reality and are probably clicking around looking for answers, groups, connections, and ideas (by the way I’m still doing this too). But I feel organized and ready to stay on task, keep up the energy and write about what is happening during this time in history. Every moment we live is part of history and there are times when the storyline is dull and nothing of much importance is happening on a grand scale but daily life is still part of the narrative. But then there are times like now, on the eve of a Trump presidency that is surely significant in the timeline of the 21st century. In a few weeks, thanks to meaningful, love-filled friendships, I will be in Washington DC, bundled in warm layers, marching with my ever expanding network of activist friends as we witness the Women’s March grow to have global influence. I know we’ll feel unified, inspired and ready to connect ideas in an accelerated manner. I do feel this strange level of awareness and sometimes insecurity that I have a lot to offer. I don’t feel disconnected, numb, scared or ambivalent. I know it’s valid to feel these emotions and I absolutely get it, but I’m not there anymore. It’s also been suggested I should try to meet people where they are but I’m super impatient and ready to forge ahead. So it’s a little hard for me to take steps back to meet everyone as I need to blaze my own trail and catch up to those who are ahead. I’m here and if someone wants to meet me where I am, I’ll try to wait up for a moment but please excuse me if I’m talking a mile a minute and tapping my foot! If you’re not ready, that’s cool too, I’m around, you’ll find me in community centers, city council meetings, women’s circles, living rooms and of course marching in the streets. Trust me, I don’t have all of the answers, I write all of this filled with humility, although I am hyper-aware it probably comes off as arrogant. I will admit I often feel like a crazed maniac, reading, talking, absorbing so much at the same time blending in family and work. But I’m okay with owning up to my strengths with much more ferocity and confidence than before. I might not have a clear path yet, and I’m sure all of my ideas, passions, and activism sound delusional but that’s how it works.