Our living room was quiet, except for the blaring voices of BBC updating the presidential campaigns across the world. She was shaking. She watched helplessly on our second-hand couch clutching her laptop, the blanket I had wrapped around her unmoved, and the cup of tea steaming on the windowsill untouched. It is 5:31 in the morning and I am trembling from exhaustion but part of me could never leave her alone as she watches blues and reds flicker across the screen determining the future of her nation. John Podesta’s voice echoes ‘There’s no more to say tonight.’ His face offered a string of hope in the fabric of the flag that was about to fly for a Trump America. I was once told no matter what happens, no many how many hits you take and tears you make, the only thing you can do is walk forward. A Clinton supporter suddenly flicks onto the screen. ‘We cannot let this divide us, we must walk together even if it is in silence.’
The idea of agency has been an intrinsic characteristic that separates human beings from the rest of the animal kingdom. Our ability to adapt to, to grow, and to create communities builds our strength as a group, a nation, and a global force. We move forward because we know how to carry our own weight. We have seen each other through horror and strain, through celebration and victory and have decided that these very qualities are what make us human. For hundreds of years, the idea of the social contract we sign into and the subsequent justice that is called into question because of that contract has been a subject that countless philosophers have delved into. But the social contract is much more than who we were, and more about how we choose to be moving forward together. And yes, it is a choice to decide how you will educate yourself to and teach your children to respect themselves and others.
The past year has allowed the world to watch America’s disgusting bigotry rear its ugly head, reminding too many that progress is measured by the degree of differentiation in a society. But we forget that societies are the foundation of a nation. Children have watched colored communities die fighting for their futures. Generations of young girls and women have had to take every punch given to them for something they are not guilty for. We have reconstructed how we love and who we love based on the insecurity of lack of education. I ask you, whoever you may be, what kind of a heart do you have if you will stare back at your baby’s wide eyes and tell them they will be shot for feeling an emotion so pure, we’re lucky to be able to experience it – and you’ll be holding the gun.
Dear America, no matter how long you may mourn, or how terrified you feel, you must always remember how to rise. And you must always remember that no matter how you decide to do so, you must do it together, for this is something you have always done. America you must remember why the dreams you offer inspire us to find the strength we didn’t know we had. You must remind each other that your nation is made up of a rainbow of beautiful shades of colors, love, and cultures. When the hand is reached out to you, you must grab it and offer yours to another because this is what you do best – you face fear and heartache as a community. Ultimately, America, you must never forget that a community will never die if you feed it hope.
At Milky Collective, we believe in the power of nourishing community to foster greater ideas. We operate on the idea that construction within that community encourages a new generation to see the world and the individuals who surround them differently. America you are not afraid to scream the unspoken or to take apart the threads that have worn and patch it back together and in this you must now have faith. As Maya Angelou once said, The human heart tells us that we are more alike than we are unalike. And in this, we offer you our own hands.
Photo: John Minchillo