That is often my question. A similar version of this question drove me back to school in the early 90s. Then, I wanted to know a more about how to understand what exists and create something new from it; now, I just want to know what to do. Because now we’re teetering on the edge of that era, standing, almost in slow motion, on the brink of another.
People on the racialized intersections of political, public health, economic, social and environmental front lines of crisis are suffering, at risk, and dying. In city’s across the country, as Black people fight for their lives, white supremacists reach for their guns—and white allies go soft. Or, in trauma talk, we don’t fight or flee; we freeze. Perhaps that’s a difference between being an ally to those who were not granted access to middle class whiteness and finding ways to join in demanding the abolition of systems built on exclusion, racial and otherwise. So I keep asking the question.
For the psychologically inclined, I guess that explains why I tend toward anxious rather than depressive. Do I ask as a way to keep moving on to the next thing because I’m not sure how to be where I am? That could be, if and when the question is driven by anxiety. But I experience it more as a practice. I ask: What does it mean for me to be here (as in here on the planet, alive with you all under these conditions) well right now? How I see the world and myself in it arranges the possibilities of that moment in front of me.
But I keep asking, and that might be anxiety talking. I was asking again while washing dishes yesterday. I have so many answers, but I guess I ask again, just to check, because I still feel so sickened, powerless and afraid. If I was working with an organization right now, I could be a part of something more powerful. But then I also wouldn’t have as much time to engage with the students/voters/community members/parents in my classroom or to try to start difficult conversations about whiteness in the city I went to school in.
Is that my answer? Are these the things I think I should be doing right now?: Preparing adults to achieve high school equivalency in their education, supporting powerful organizing in communities I have connections to, and staying connected to my family? I do believe it is, as the choices I made led me here.
Well, not exactly. I had intended the choices I made to lead me to We Tip the Balance – what I saw as a project I could offer for learning together how to build the world we want to live in with each other.
I guess I don’t know how to build a project called “We Tip the Balance”, but I believe the most important thing I can be doing right now is learning how to build the world we want to live in with each other at work, in our communities, and at “home” (wherever home is for us and whatever it means to us).
I think perhaps the only missing part is you, so that we can be in this process together. What is the most important thing you think you could be doing right now?
If you’d like to be in that conversation, reply back. Responses of any format or length welcome.