Year of activism #44

Mobilising to get out the vote is what so many activists have been doing in the US, while those of us outside of the US, watched and cheered along as best we could. The new team to come into the White House has been chosen primarily by black women and now the race and gender divide is even more stark than it has been for those of us who sit outside, but for those on the inside, who make their homes in cities and country towns it has been their reality since the beginning of colonisation of what we now know as the United States of America. The depth of pain and the enormous task ahead for racial justice, climate justice and gender justice is of Mt Everest proportions. Then there is a task of getting COVID under control …. So if I was advising the White House, I would be saying go in hard and fast as soon and don’t have any Inauguration Balls – get straight to work there is no time to loose.

I am giving thanks for all the public servants who delivered the mail and counted votes. The role of the public sector in democracy and supporting the institutions that help the electorate have their voice heard and translated into systems is precious and fragile. Over the coming weeks the public servants working in the courts will have their roles and responsibilities tested. US citizens valuing the vote and coming out in unprecedented numbers and all those that did postals due to COVID, might actually be a positive outcome of the deadly virus – where one part of the democracy failed its people another part has been able to help and hopefully heal as well. California sent every single citizen eligible to vote a postal ballot, so whoever made that decision I am claiming as an activist for democracy!

Meanwhile in my part of the world it is NAIDOC Week this week and I want to take a moment to give thanks for all the women and men, Aboriginal who have been activists for racial justice, land rights, economic justice and decolonisation. There is so much work to be done in Australia on this front. A didgeridoo was played on my porch last night, a surprising gift and I felt blessed by the sound and the warmth and generosity of it being played on the land I make my home. I have no right to expect this gift, on stolen land, on land that is marked out with fences and gates, on land that is marked on a map as a suburb that does not bear a name of the place it was known for thousands of years, on land that was and always will be Aboriginal land. I felt blessed by the sound under the great southern skies, where the dreaming of the creation ancestor Tjirbruki walked the land in grief over the death of his nephew who broke the law by killing a female emu. There is a lot of grief in this land and Tjirbruki’s tears still flow in the streams, waterholes and waterfalls across the dreaming tracks, including where I now live Watiwali – Sellicks Beach. It is a tale that is full of sadness and a search for accountability through forgiveness and reckoning – timeless lessons.

While there [at Sellick’s Beach], Tjirbruki began to think of further grudges and as he was passing through the pangkara of the Witjarlung families it disturbed him that they had failed to pass on the message of forgiveness to Kulultuwi and his other nephews. Instead of continuing along the beach he turned inland and climbed over Sellick’s Hill. Snippet from Tindale’s notes

The politics of grief will not leave me as a motif for this era and the need for transformational rituals and stories to help us navigate and transcend to new places, heal the past and be in community with one another because of our differences, is waiting for the priestesses and pastors of our times to work their magic and guide us into our next dreaming. The skilled ministers to hold and host these spaces are being called up and I am deeply grateful to the ones I know about and the ones I will get to know. We live in wild places. I am working at my edges to say no to the domestication and colonisation of my heart and head for that seems to me to be a pathway for justice. Tears are inevitable. Courage compulsory. Friends for the journey non-negotiable.

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