Brittany Janay shares her timely and vulnerable reflections upon learning of the killing of Daunte Wright. She REMEMBERS the words of Fannie Lou Hamer, “America is desperately ill, and man is on the critical list,” and offers a Liberated Love Note of affirmation as we grieve and mourn: We are not deficient. We are not inadequate. We are enough. We are everything.” Our rage is righteous.
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Link to Fannie Lou Hamer’s video.
Link for more information on how to support the family of Daunte Wright.
Link to learn more about Liberated Love Notes.
Hamer: They let you starve to death, not give you jobs. These are some of the things that are happening right now in Mississippi. See Mississippi is not actually Mississippi’s problem. Mississippi is America’s problem. Because if America wanted to do something about what is going on in Mississippi, it could have stopped by now. It wouldn’t have been in the last two years, between forty and fifty churches bombed and burned. This lead me to say, you know, all of the burning and bombing, it was done to us in the houses … Nobody never said too much about that, and nothing was done. But let something be burned by a Black man, and then, my God. You see the flag is drenched with our blood because you see so many of our ancestors was killed because we never have accepted slavery. We’ve had to live on it, but we never wanted it. So we know that this flag is drenched with our blood. So what the young people are saying now, give us a chance to be young men, respected as a man, as we know this country was built on the Black backs of Black people across this country, and if we don’t have it, you aint gonna have it either, because we gonna tear it up, that’s what these people are saying … And people ought to understand that. I don’t see why they don’t understand that. They know what they’ve done to us. All across this country. They know what they’ve done to us. This country is desperately sick, and man is on the critical list. I really don’t know where we go from here.
Brittany: (02:20): [deep sigh] Yes. This is another episode of Liberated Love Notes. Of course, with yours, truly Brittany Janay. And I’m actually recording this, today’s date is April 12th, and I’m unexpectedly recording this episode, I’ll be honest, just for my own processing. That was the voice of Fannie Lou Hamer, activist, community organizer, one of the matriarchs of the Black freedom struggle, co-founder of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. Part of my self-care or self-reverence practice these days has really been around remembering. And so, I’ll listen to the voices of Black people, our elders and ancestors, to be reminded about their resilience, their courage, especially when I start to feel the heaviness of this work. And so, y’all, today I actually started the day feeling settled. Settled, all things considered. We’re still experiencing the Derek Chauvin trial. We also learned yesterday another Black person, a Black man, 20 year old Daunte Wright, was killed at the hands of police. So y’all, I kicked off this morning being really intentional about getting settled. I actually had to facilitate a day-long session today, and mid-day I realized just how heavy, just how much I was feeling the burden and weight. And so I revisited this video because it’s something that my sister, Fannie Lou Hamer, shares at the end. She shares that America is desperately sick. “This country is desperately sick, and man is on the critical list.” And she is right. This country and its systems are sick and defective, and I call out the country and its systems because I dare not internalize any of that as a deficiency in my Blackness, in our Blackness. And so I affirmed a liberated love note this morning that–and even had to remind myself as I process and track some of the messaging and some of the reactions and some of the grief we are collectively experiencing, that in as much as I am a Black body existing in this world, in this country, in this system that would suggest I am, or that we are, less than or deficient, that is not my truth. That is not our truth. And I, we, reject that lie. We are absolutely not less than. We are absolutely not deficient. This system is. This system and America is desperately sick. And it’s so telling how much Fannie Lou Hamer’s words certainly are decades old but are relevant to the day, especially as she shares some of the ways in which our ancestors resisted and modeled their rage in the form of rebellion. Rightfully so. And so, as we experience what is soon to come, as we begin to consume the media’s interpretation of our community’s resistance and rebellion of racial injustice and white supremacy, it is my hope that we will honor the range in which Black people will choose to respond. I hope that we collectively will not feed into narratives that would suggest that Black rage and resistance is more violent and deadly than white supremacy. It is not. Our rage is righteous. I hope we won’t feed into divide and conquer tactics that suggest protesting one way is better than protesting or ”rioting” in that way. I hope we’ll even be mindful of the language we use. I hope we won’t distance ourselves from members of our community who may be hurting more and more expressive in their pain. I hope we actively reject and resist respectability politics, especially in response to Black lives lost. I hope we value as we experience whatever rebellion looks like in our neighborhoods. I hope we value Black life more than we do goods and services and buildings that can be repaired. I hope we acknowledge that even how we interpret and understand violence, and who is considered violent versus exercising their right to assemble or [?] justice is absolutely through a white gaze. And I hope we reject whatever harmful narratives come as a result. I do hope we continue to affirm and believe that our anger, our sadness, our disbelief, but lack of surprise, I hope we affirm and believe that the range of our emotions, including our rage and all that, the ways it manifests, and how we show up, matters. It absolutely matters. And more than anything, I just want to affirm and lift up. As much as these systems suggest or would lead us to believe otherwise, I am not, we are not, deficient. I am not, we are not, inadequate. I am, we are, enough. I am, we are, everything, and if we don’t hold space for anything else this week, I hope we embody that as our truth. We are absolutely enough, even in the context of a sick ass system. We are absolutely everything, even in the context of a really, desperately ill world, and we are inherently worthy and deserving. We are inherently worthy and deserving just by being. We are worthy, and I hope you take that and own it and internalize it as you exist in your spaces and world today and beyond. Much love, y’all.