3 min read

“Our time is getting shorter.”

Last week’s newsletter shared my birthday wish for all of you: a world where we can all breathe. (and my birthday was wonderful, thank you kind readers for the lovely messages). We got to know The Breathe Act and why my friend is the Unofficial Marseille Bureau Chief.

How are you helping?

She called them for help.

And there are more who did not make this news-cycle.

I used to be a journalist in Columbus, Ohio. I know Ma’Khia Bryant’s neighborhood and try as I have to forget, I still have the Columbus Police Department’s phone tree formula memorized. The extensions are different from the juvenile division, which I remember having to call less and less as state surveillance seeped into schools through the guise of safety theater. I'd dial without looking at the keypad and ask: “Why was the police called for a lunchroom fight?” or “Why was this kid arrested for falling asleep in class?” I thought my job was to get answers to questions no one wanted to answer. But I was wrong— my job was to get angry.

“Anger is loaded with information and energy.” Audre Lorde said in her seminal speech “The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism,” that I printed, reread, highlighted and carried around with me like an activist security blanket. I needed some security, because I would call the police who would get angry at my questions and then they would call my boss and try to get me fired. We did this dance again and again. At the time, I wished I saw these dances for what they were: really, really useful training ground for future powerful cowards I would encounter who would try to get me fired for getting people angry.

"Anger is a grief of distortions between peers, and its object is change."

Anger is loaded with information and energy. Anger is power. If it wasn’t, entrenched power holders would not be trying to actively restrict your right to express it. Conflict is not criminal. Ma’Khia Bryant should be here. And if you are not angry about this, you are not helping. And I need you to get angry because the rest of us are tired. I cannot put to words how exhausting this all feels.

“I cannot hide my anger to spare you guilt, nor hurt feelings, nor answering anger; for to do so insults and trivializes all our efforts. Guilt is not a response to anger; it is a response to one’s own actions or lack of action. If it leads to change then it can be useful, since it is then no longer guilt but the beginning of knowledge. Yet all too often, guilt is just another name for impotence, for defensiveness destructive of communication; it becomes a device to protect ignorance and the continuation of things the way they are, the ultimate protection for changelessness.”

Over the summer, I attended a virtual healing circle organized by Zora’s House, a beautiful community based in Columbus, Ohio. One day I might tell you all about how Zora’s House came into my life but it is a sanctuary I wish existed when I lived there. It is a beautiful source of possibility and joy and it is a place I know many fellow exhausted humans who see themselves and their sisters and their daughters and their nieces in Ma’Khia Bryant are seeking peace right now.

The community at Zora House’s was no accident, it was an intentional innovation created and scaled from love, rigor and anger.

There is so much noise now, so much scrambling, so much what-do-we-doooo when the answer is clear: turn to the intentional innovators and the revolutionary leaders among us, to the ones who loved so expansively in grief they did not wait for you to wake up to see their humanity because they knew as James Baldwin said, "the place in which I'll fit will not exist until I make it,” and get to work helping them continue to build the world we are all due.

In that place is a future we should all make our home.



Anger is loaded with information and energy.

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I decided to restart my personal newsletter, it’s been a minute and you may not remember signing up for this and want to opt-out. If so, that is cool! If you choose to stick around, great! The forthcoming newsletters will be moving off Mailchimp in solidarity with workers there and delivered via Ghost. We're just doing some spring cleaning over there first. It's almost done, you can take a peek over there if you want.

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