One of the (many) constant refrains in this blog is “listen and pay attention.” It’s the advice I offer when people ask how to develop the lines of communication with the gods, it’s what I said in my last post about learning how to honor the land spirits, and now it’s something I’m imploring for everyone to do to their fellow humans.
Once again, the American refrain of violence and racism is drowning out the humanitarian refrain of “listen.” Once again, a black man has been murdered by a police officer, once again the peaceful protests have been ignored and overlooked, and violent riots have erupted yet again. As has happened countless times in the course of American history, the peaceful protests and pleas for justice have been for naught, and they’ve been goaded into a chaotic, angry mess of things. Reporters are being arrested on live TV, a cop was witnessed breaking the windows of an Auto Zone to incite more violence, and people who are not at all impacted by any of this are sitting back and scoffing at what they’re calling “thugs.”
How dare they?
At work, I heard some guys talking trash about what’s happening in Minneapolis. All white men, all speaking on matters they can’t even begin to understand. One of them said something about how “they” always loot and riot, all throughout history. So I raised my voice and shouted across the room, “Yup, just like the Boston Tea Party. Looting and destruction has been a part of American history since the colonials, right? How is this different?”
I listened for their response. They heard me: they fell silent. They didn’t need to tell me what was different about white men looting and destroying government property and black men (and white men, and women) looting and destroying corporate property. I mean, they were both frustrated and trying to get the attention of the ruling government to demand that their rights be respected, right? Peaceful protests didn’t work for the colonists, so why are the descendants of the colonists so damn surprised that situations escalate to violence when they ignore and mock and express outrage over peaceful protests?
The powers that be don’t want to listen to the people crying out for help. People who come from a place of privilege don’t want to empathize with people who are struggling. White men have been gathering on the steps of government buildings in ridiculous militia cosplay getups, armed to the teeth with rifles and ammo, shouting about how they demand the right to go out for dinner and to get haircuts in the midst of a pandemic, and the police don’t bat an eye. Black men protest unjustifiable murder, the kind of hateful murder that has plagued their communities for hundreds of years, wanting to see the murderer held accountable for his crime, and all hell breaks loose. And the folks at home mock it, they roll their eyes and look down on the black community. The people who are outraged by the riots are financially stable white men and women who have repeatedly weaponized the police because they are fully aware of their advantages in this morass of systemic racism.
After the topic of conversation at work changed, I thought that now more than ever I needed to make the move to Iceland happen. I needed to get the fuck out this country for so many reasons. But then I realized that if I leaver, how can I help the people who remain? How can I help move desperately needed change along if I’m not here in the thick of it? If I feel powerless and helpless enough now, living with and interacting with the communities most affected, how could I possibly do anything from an island across the ocean?
Loki is the god of change, Sigyn is the goddess of victory, and I feel their influence. Thor is the protector of the common man, and Tyr is the god of justice, and I feel their rage. I’m listening to them, and I’m listening to the testimonies and accounts of those who have been pleading for their rights for generations.
The question is: how do I help? Beyond giving donations to the organizations that are helping with legal and medical fees, beyond calling and writing to my local representatives demanding their support in making sure their constituents are safe, in overhauling law enforcement hiring and training practices, etc, how can I be more boots on the ground to support black and minority communities to bring about the changes we all want and need? I don’t want to speak for anyone or speak over anyone, I want to work with/for the leaders of these groups to help them achieve their goals. I’m an ally, and I want to help. I want to do more than just PayPal donations.
Does anyone have any suggestions for resources I can look into? I’m open to any and all advice.