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In the Conflict

[Updated 2/28 @ 6:54am PST]

Trigger Warning: This post includes a discussion of the war happening in the Ukraine. It also shares an external social media post that compares the dynamics to “an abusive relationship” with examples that may be triggering to anyone who has survived, or is surviving domestic violence/relationship violence/intimate partner violence. Please be advised before continuing to read this post.

If you or someone you know needs support in navigating violence, please be aware of the following resources (Also conduct a Google search in your specific location for more local resources):

Resources in the U.S.International Resources

As I type these words, the global community is feeling the weight of the recent war waged against the Ukraine by the Russian government. I have been turning to respected news sources In the pursuit of understanding as much as I can about this war. The coverage from BBC, New York Times, AP, NPR and Al Jazeera have been educative. However, it was a post from social media that connected the events to Black history (and the history of BIPOC folx globally) and the lived experiences of me and my loved ones, that underscored the point for me:

[Screenshot of a Facebook post that reads:]

The Ukraine and Russia crisis in simple terms for those that have no idea what is going on.
– Ukraine used to be in an abusive relationship with Russia, feeding him, letting him use her car & giving him whatever he asked for until she built up the confidence to call it quits back in 1991
– Since then Ukraine has been working on herself, becoming a strong independent woman with help from friends like France, America, Poland etc. offering her support, loaning her money, & helping her find her way.
– Ukraine has been enjoying being single for 30 years & looking forward to continuing to grow and create new friendships.
– Now Russia being the toxic ex that it is once her back, and doesn’t want her meeting new people or creating any new relationships.
– A couple of weeks ago Russia started sitting in the front of Ukraine’s house and when her friends asked him what was he doing there, he said “Oh nothing, just getting a little bit of exercise in, that’s all.”
– After her friends told her that Russia was potentially getting ready to do something bad to her, he said “they’re lying, they just want you to be scared of me and that’s not what it is”
– Yesterday Russia broke into Ukraine’s house, beating her up and “taking advantage” of her while on Livestream and double dog daring any of her friends to do something about it and if they do want the smoke, Russia got that thang on him.
This my version. [End of post]

The comparison to an abusive relationship was not lost on me or those who engaged with the post. My goal is not to talk about what this comparison means to me personally. The purpose of today’s post is to speak directly to two members of my audience… 

To My Readers

We can say whatever we want about technology and Anita Baker’s  internet, but it allows us to stay connected with folx all over the world. Conversely, we can also learn where in the world people are connecting to us.  That is why I am directing this post to 2 people: 1 who lives in the Ukraine and 1 who lives in Russia. 

Both readers have frequented my blog for some time now, which leads me to assume they are here for a similar purpose: To be inspired to transform their lives and the lives of those they love. When I talk about how “Justice starts at home,” how I am working to dismantle injustice and oppression in my own life and home, all the while working with others to do the same in their personal and professional lives; these two readers are part of the conversation. Right now, both of these people are doing whatever they can to survive in a situation that, I am choosing to assume, neither of them want. 

I can say that the invasion is part of something much larger and uglier than what those in leadership want to attest to (dismantling democracy), but that does not matter right now. As has been the case with our Syrian sisters and brothers and their children, what matters are your families, your safety, your livelihood and yes, your voices. Once the fight is over, rebuilding will be work for you and the generations to come to embark upon. The labor will seem never ending and met with resistance at every turn, as your sisters and brothers in Haiti have shown the world. However, the love of justice and liberation is worth the work.

Remember: Regardless of your race or other identities, abuse of power and oppression are of the same evil spirit. However, there is a far greater Spirit that lives within us and its companions are Love, Justice and Liberation.

I pray that you are on the same side when it comes to speaking out against the injustice that is attempting to rip both countries apart. Now more than ever, remember these words by the late great Black feminist, activist and scholar, Audre Lorde: “Your silence will not protect you.” Allow this quote to empower your spirit as you survive the days ahead. 

Black and white image of Audre Lorde with her quote to the right on a black background that reads “Your silence will not protect you.” Image credit: AZ Quotes

Sending love to you and I hope you and your loved ones are safe. May God continue to protect you and every person who is pursuing love, justice and liberation. 

In Solidarity.

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