It’s finally happened…
Social media has erupted, reflecting the age old truth that the personal is always political. Every platform is now a source of social communication that is being almost explicitly used for people to process and express their experiences during an incredibly confusing time for our country. Voices of encouragement, community, and love seem to be increasingly harder to find, where as words of disgust, fear, and hatred are easily and rapidly disseminated.
When I am scrolling down my newsfeed, and I am bombarded with circulating statistics, overwhelming opinions, and emotional outbursts, there is one person who is consistently beaming with an unwavering sense of hope and clear insight into how we can move forward.
Jardana Peacock is someone who is wildly persistent and resilient. She offers a perspective that is tangible and grounding. She remains steadfast in her efforts to uplift every person around her, all while sorting out the patterns of oppression that have created suffering in the first place. Her work in racial and social justice is something that was fairly new to me when we first met as peers in 300-hour teacher training with Vira Bhava Yoga. I’ll admit, I was quite intimidated at first by Jardana’s honesty and her ability to speak and exist, unapologetically. At first, my neurotic tendencies led me to think she didn’t like me, but then I realized that she had embraced a part of herself that I was still struggling to accept in myself. And she was unashamedly exuding an energy that I deeply desired.
Just being in Jardana’s presence, virtually and in-person, has awakened me to things both inside and outside of myself. And I am so grateful to experience her radiating sense of hope, even if it is through something as simple as a Facebook status.
Below is something she posted recently…
Last night, on the overflowing crowded steps of the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky—people chanted, “No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here.”
Under the artificial glow of yellow streetlights and through the grey smoke of our chanting breath, flooding the street—a small group of ten white supremacist heckled hate as they waved the US flag.
The crowd, made up of thousands, shifted their chanting of welcoming refugees to address the small group. “You are not welcome here.” Someone shouted at them. You could feel the body as a whole, alive with triggers and trauma and the reaction of disdain and hate for the supremacists, taking us off course.
And I felt deeply in my body how this reaction stems from a place of deep pain within us that maybe as activists, especially white activists; we don’t belong here, either. Because we aren’t active enough, or vocal enough, or radical enough or enough. Here, in this moment of division inside and out, white supremacy wins again. We are a mirror of each other. The hate and pain of this nation, does not occupy the white supremacists and racists alone, it lives within each of us too. When we syphon ourselves off from each other—we feed the divides that systems of oppression thrive off of.
So even when it feels like we are following our hearts, can we still be creating more division and more suffering? If so, how can EMBRACE ourselves and each other so that we can shift in the right direction?