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What Will Make us Free?

“Any upheaval in the universe is terrifying because it so profoundly attacks one’s sense of one’s own reality.” – James Baldwin

What will make us free?

Not these drones. This endless war. Not gunfights, and bombings, or cabins blazing in the Southern California woods. Not racial profiling. Stop and frisk. Not longer skirts. Or brightly lighted streets. Not keeping children home. Not taking off our shoes in airports.

What will make us free is a different way of looking at each other.

Occupy by @Muschelschloss

What will make us free is knowing our own power, from within.

What will make us free is recalling our connection.

What will make us free is feeding one another well.

Laughter. Sharing tears. Telling our stories.

What will make us free is recognizing we are not alone.

We are together: every hip hop teen on every corner; each parent holding a child up to the sun; every redwood tree in canopy and root; each lick of fog; every beetle crawling on the forest floor; each wave carrying sand onto the beaches; every star exploding in its death so far; each grandparent; every teacher; each firefighter; every cop; each CEO; every artist; each person who is hurting; every person who feels joy. We are together.

Only compassion will make us free. Only compassion will make us free. Only compassion will make us free. Never our fear.

Let’s turn this situation upside down.


I wrote this in response to many things: indefinite detention; kill lists; drones; racism; misogyny; the state of the Oakland Police Department; the LAPD; Christopher Dorner; security theater; and this essay by Ta-Nehisi Coates that asks many poignant questions about our state of endless war. Mostly, I wrote it about the way we treat each other, and ourselves.

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