shanali

Being Free is Being Waken

By Sister Shanali Inchaustegui-Molestina

 There was a joke going around Facebook last year that 2016 was a cursed year.  I am also thinking of the two men who Jesus found asking: “What do you want with us, Son of God?” (Matthew 8:29), and as a response Jesus freed them of the possession of demons.  Let’s unpack ourselves in this story – what possessed us in 2016 that patiently waited for the injustices of 2017?

We were filled with the spirit of complacency, the thought that we lived in a post-racial era.  Even those of us awake enough to see racism and the struggles of people of African ancestry- the messages of black lives matter- we thought we didn’t need to have an active part in revolution, or in a march, or in letter writing.

We were filled with the spirit of distraction: T.V. was not a momentary entertainment but an obsession.  We watched too much reality T.V. and spoke about it, a genre that elevated Donald Trump to popularity and normalcy.

We were filled with the spirit of normalizing broken-stigmatized mental health.  Instead of absorbing, speaking and practicing wellness, and speaking truth for our need of therapy, support groups or even some yoga – we let the need for wellness and mental health rest in the shadow of stigma.  “It’s Them that need the mental health.  If -you- need mental health, I will tell -you- to get checked, as I have never been.”

We were filled with the spirit of misogyny – the fact that women were paid less, still being abused in relationships, still being targeted for sexual assault – was not spoken about in terms of human rights.  Our children could be raised, be born, be provided in whatever institutionalized toxic way and we were OK with this.

We were filled with community division: there is the black person that works and the one that doesn’t.  There is the Latina that is in the shelter getting welfare handouts and is “lazy” and the one that isn’t.  There is the urban woman and the rural woman.  And there is no way of speaking truth to power in order to find unity.  I can’t take your truth and your anger.  You can’t take my testimony.

We were filled with cis-privilege-transphobia, not spoken the names of trans-people who are harmed and killed in hate crimes.  Still trying “so hard” to wrap our brains around something like gender – instead of accepting the way bodies absorbed the creation and energies of God.  Instead of taking a time to meditate on how the physical vessel is created to take in those energies placed on this earth by the love of Our God, and made into wonderful diverse identities – we didn’t speak about it and let people die.

“What do you want with us Son of God?” – and God showed you around four million women and allies marching, having conflicts with one another but speaking truth to power.  Beginning seriously uncomfortable discussions that will have to resolved or else…we will not be free.

 Lee,Chang W. -  from camera serial number                              NYTCREDIT: Chang W. Lee/The New York Times
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