jasmine abdullah richards was sentenced today to 90 days in jail.
she is the first black person ever convicted of felony lynching. it is an outrageous charge. i keep seeking other words for this convergence of feelings, but only outrage comes close to accuracy.
this is a moment every black person, particularly those participating in visionary organizing and protest to assert that our lives matter, need to internalize. this is our 90 days.
it is more than an individual punishment, it is a test of our interconnectedness, our alertness, our attention.
we must practice sustaining this story and our connection to jasmine beyond the life span of a meme or trend.
tonight i rocked the babies to sleep and somewhere in there i too drifted – it was a long day and i was not really awake or asleep, suspended between tired and responsible, listening and dreaming.
it is so much we are expected to hold, it is easy to drift away from what we most care about, most long for.
today there was an unaccountable young rapist in my face, electoral extremes as part of my social media feed celebrated a woman presidential nominee and part complained of shady election mishaps. i wore purple all day for Prince’s first birthday as an ancestor. there’s so much all at once. so we drift.
but jasmine is one of our freedom fighters. her captivity is tied to our liberation.
when the news came this afternoon i felt relief that it wasn’t four years, and anger that it was even one day.
the nibblings, who were my reaponsibility today, noticed my emotions and asked me what i could do. and i thought about it.
of course continue my work, we always continue to fight our local-global fight in so many ways. but i kept coming back to the words jasmine shouted in the courtroom, echoing assata across time: it is also our work now to “love each other and protect each other”. what can i do to love and protect jasmine?
i mapped out 90 days on the calendar. it ends on my birthday in september. it’s three months. this amount of time has already flown by twice this year. for jasmine’s sake I hope it flies by now.
what leapt to mind was a spiritual commitment to keep my attention on her every day until she is free. to not let her fall away from my heart as the changes keep coming. to think of her, to feel these 90 days with her.
so i reached out to some friends – i have been in a practice of shifting my relationship to sugar with a group of other social justice beloveds. five of us (so far) have committed to being in collective practice over the next 90 days, in jasmine’s name. we will practice with our bodies (mostly abstaining from added sugars, one person is cutting out caffeine, one is also doing a 12 sun salutation yoga practice, another is doing a practice of free dance) to stay mindful of jasmine’s revolutionary work during this time, and to ensure that we feel these next 90 days.
i am sharing this here as an invitation. how will you #standwithjasmine?
– lena gardner offered the tag #solidaritywithjasmine
– we’re up to 91 people now!
– Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism joined!
– Malcolm X Grassroots Movement joined!
– there’s a facebook group for those who want to join, just let me know if you want the invite! <3