Our Bodies, Our Choice
Roses are red, rage can be sacred.
For justice we’ve waited, and waited, and waited…
Violets are purple, our pain, universal.
We’re going in circles, and circles, and circles…
Sugar is sweet, but never complete
If we’re to accept defeat on defeat.
It’s up to you to know what to do:
Fight like hell till our rights are renewed.
-Jennifer Little, she/they, June 28, 2022
I can say with some certainty that I’m traumatized from the 2020 protests against police brutality.
I went to the rally at the Lexington courthouse this past Friday following the overturning of Roe v. Wade. When I did, I brought two pairs of goggles, two long sleeve shirts, my CPR mask, and my phone charger just in case I had to hide out somewhere overnight. Turned out that was far from necessary, but I felt safer having those tools of relative safety.
2020 got real, and I wasn’t able in that moment to separate my energy between protest and daily life. To an extent I was consumed by that rage, sacred as it was, and burned myself to ashes much more quickly than I’d hoped. Given the chance, I’ll take better care to preserve my energy next time. I keep reminding myself: this is a marathon, not a sprint.
So, here I am, 2022, fire refueled, and not nearly enough local action this time to satisfy my deep need to lose my absolute shit in public. The 2020 protests bore a beast that could never be satiated by standing still on a street corner with a cardboard sign. Especially not in the face of an administration that seeks to validate all of the people in my lifetime who have tried to take away my autonomy. Not when generations suffered and fought for our autonomy. Fought like I want to fight, and won like I hope we will again.
I can absolutely acknowledge that, for some, street corner sign-holding is the most that can be done logistically/energetically. Some folks find other, less public ways to move through the despair and confusion of the times. Some are at a loss. I get it. Everyone has their own path to action.
In my case, however, action must be corporeal. I need to scream words in a sea of others screaming the same. I need to move my body en masse with those who share an energy so great it could bulldoze nations. I don’t think I’ll be satisfied until I’ve lost my voice and blistered my feet from the miles of walking in well-loved leather boots. This time, though, there will be rest and self-aid, so I can walk another day, shout another day, and ideally continue doing my day job here at Centered effectively (lol).
Whether nonviolent protest is the most effective method of 21st century direct action… whether there is any action in modern “America” that can sway its brutal course… who can say?
All I know is that every atom in my body needs to be doing SOMETHING. I HAVE to do something. I have to DO something, NOW, before I give in to this looming sense that there really is nothing I, nor you, nor anyone can do.
That being said, I have to ask for your help. Next Friday, July 8, I’ll be driving to Washington, DC to join in the Women’s March to express our dissent nonviolently. Friday evening they’re holding a training and the march happens Saturday.
I’ve opened the trip to friends and have one committed to joining; another three would be welcome. I also clicked the “needs financial assistance” box when registering for the march. I hope that the trip will be financially manageable, provided I get aid from the Women’s March funds, or that people join who will be able to ante up for gas/lodging, but I’m not sure what will come with that.
Going on this mission puts me at risk – not only of arrest but also of simply not affording the massive sum of bills coming for me on August 1 (moving probs). Not going on this mission, however, means worse.
Doing nothing means helplessness. Helplessness means hopelessness. Hopelessness… well, that’s just another word for giving up. If I give up, if I internalize the idea that things will not get better, that there’s nothing I as an individual can do to make things better for myself or others… well, that’s probably a deeper ring of hell than I’ve ever known. Whether that’s a survivable reality I truly cannot say.
I can accept exhaustion and defeat. I cannot accept not trying. And I will not stay put and wait.
If you feel moved to sponsor my trip to DC next weekend, here’s what you need to know:
Round trip gas from Lexington to DC and back in my 2015 Toyota Camry should cost around $200, plus maybe $20 or so getting around the city for the events.
I found a hostel in which mixed dorm bunks currently cost around $32/night & total charges for 2 nights plus fees is $74.26. That’s just for me, I’m hoping anyone who joins me will have financial access of their own.
Food will cost, idk, $50-60? I can eat cheap and probably go lower than that, really.
Not sure if I’ll need first aid supplies but would rather have them than not. I’m trained in first aid & CPR and will provide aid if I come upon someone in need, but there are groups who do this as their primary action and I’m not nearly as prepared as they are to do so. If you’d like to donate in this way to myself or a medic crew let me know and I can link you up with some folks I know who are engaging in that way over the weekend or direct you to items I can use.
My Venmo: $jennandnini
My Cashapp: $jennnnini
My Gratitude: humble and eternal.