Excerpt from my interactive memoir, “From Jersey To Me: The Awakening & Healing of a Goddess”
This was the question our revolutionary tour guide, Ahmed, asked me and my fellow ‘Famiiillleee’ in July while we were in Kemet [Egypt]. After risking family, life and limb to participate in the two most recent revolutions in Kemet; he posed this question to us. I felt embarrassed, sad, confused and honestly unprepared to offer any substantive answer.
More travesties the same ole-same-ole were taking place on American soil while we were away; the news was non-stop showing the stories of black lives being murdered in the streets, mothers, wives and children in tears, random, short-lived protests, hashtags, Trump spewing hate and white cops being exonerated, like they have been for centuries. Like I said, nothing new. To be away from it all, even if just for two weeks, was refreshing. Everywhere we went people shouted, “…O-ba-ma!” [One even shouted, “…Queen Latifah!”, *blink* *blank stare* #randomright] Many people asked us how we felt about what was going on; I was speechless most of the time not wanting to speak for fear of going the f*ck off giving into the boiling emotions I’d been piling up since 2nd grade. Yep, 2nd grade, the second time (here is the first) I’d experienced racism during an overnight trip at Camp Sacajawea with my Girl Scout troop. While attempting to go to sleep, the other girls (all white) decided to look for something “bad” to do. There I was, all cozy in my damn sleeping bag, minding my damn business, flicking my damn flash light on and off, when I heard a certain girl (who shall remain nameless – ooooh, giiirlll, you lucky…) say, “Let’s ask Wendi what to do, she’s black, she’d knows about “bad” stuff.” #WTF! I was hurt and pissed all at the same time, so I slunk down and covered my face with my sleeping bag, signaling the first of countless times of me having to push down such disrespect and pain. So yeah, I had to guard myself in Kemet because I had no idea how to articulate how I was feeling, other than tired, viscerally angry, ‘woe’ out and so, so sad.
While traveling internationally over the last 20 years, I’ve seen the poor conditions of black and brown people and unfortunately, saw the same while on my trip to Cuba. Making me 100% clear that…
Black folks are still catching hell all over the world!
I don’t know who said that quote but it is so true. The utter disrespect, disregard, intentional blood + resource and culture sucking has been going on since ancient times. Many of us still have not been able to rise above the financial, emotional, physical and spiritual toll this trauma has taken on our psyches for centuries; a pain passed down thru generations. A healed people are a powerful people! (that is my quote!) The healing part is the hardest part, though.
Of course, I enjoyed the opportunity to dance, practice yoga and experience educational tours around Havana. However, behind all of the bright colors, rhythmic music, cigars and mojitos, I learned that the pain of my/our Afro-Cuban brothers and sisters is oft unspoken of and dismissed. We met scholar, Roberto Zarbano, who shared information about the state of Afro-Cubans that most don’t know. Check out his NY Times article “For Blacks in Cuba the Revolution Hasn’t Begun”. He was actually fired for writing this article. Damn, right?! Just like I said, black folks still catching hell…
Since I can’t speak for or control anyone but myself, I’ve embarked on an internal revolution – a revolution of self love, if you will.
Def. Rev·o·lu·tion, a forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favor of a new system.
You see folks are bugging out about Colin Kaepernick’s protest so can you imagine a full-on revolution?! According to the definition above, I’m not sure we are coordinated enough or sick and tired of being sick and tired enough to set something like this off. A long-term strategy and coordinated effort has to be in place, once it begins, there can be no retreat, no fear, complete solidarity and unity among all people who care about life, love and liberty. That’s a tall order.
I’ve come to realize that the revolution begins with me. Like the definition says, I can only attempt to bring love and light to any given situation or forcibly change my thoughts and beliefs for a new system. The first step was to find out who I was and what I wanted. Next, I began to heal (still in progress) myself from past traumas and issues – ouch! Then, I surrounded myself with a tribe who keeps me on track and when they call me out on my occasional wackness, I work hard to get my ish together. This is a private and personal revolution, one that won’t be televised. I believe as more people attempt to heal and love themselves, more love will automatically be infused into the world. Once you begin to heal, you understand just how powerful, brilliant and worthy you are. With this knowledge, you can break out of the mental, emotional and spiritual chains that could potentially be holding you back from being your greatest version. I can vouch that though this work isn’t easy, it is required. Like any revolution, there is a lot of pain before the change. Through the work of my one- woman-revolution, I am beginning to feel more confident, less tolerant of da bullshit, peaceful, loving, light and connected!
Does that sound like the type of revolution that you’d fight for?
Read 10 Things I Learned in Cuba
Soundscape: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, Gil Scott Heron