2020 is the year of the return for me, I will be turning 40 in the fall. In African Spiritual Tradition, you are named after the day you were born on. I was born on a Tuesday and rightfully named Abena. To be born on a Tuesday also correlates with the planet Mars, which is to be fiery, burning hot. Those born on a Tuesday includes the likes of Malcolm X and Harriet Tubman. My birthday this year will fall on my original born day, a Tuesday…
“How confusing this must be for those who lack ritual and vision.”
In 2014, after the shooting of Michael Brown whose death originated the chant, Hands Up Don’t Shoot, I was infuriated. I made plans with a family friend who lived near St. Louis, created signs and was packed up to leave the next morning to protest. What I wasn’t prepared for was the change of pace at nightfall as I tracked what was happening in Ferguson throughout the night via social media. I made the hard and conscious decision that as a mother, I couldn’t risk being hurt or jailed. So I cancelled my plans right before I would need to leave and make the four hour drive to Missouri that day to join in the demonstrations. My only way to join others was showing support to a few small protests in my neighborhood from my car, and offering up a compassionate poem on Facebook…
“‘You’ll be alright if you just get yourself organized. You can do almost anything you want as long as you organize yourself to do it.’ I decided he was right. It was time to get my life in some kind of order. It was time to take control.”
~Assata Shakur Assata An Autobiography
The blessings of significant change or unrest is the enlightenment and unanswered questioning that comes forth emotionally and intellectually. The death of Michael Brown led me to reading Elaine Brown’s A Taste of Power A Black Woman’s Story, Angela Davis An Autobiography, and finally Assata An Autobiography. I listened to more Malcolm X speeches and researched relentlessly other names I knew to be important to the movement like Fred Hampton and Huey P. Newton. I found solace in their teachings and words as I felt the hurt and rage about Michael Brown. Finally learning about my leaders as an adult, was resonating with me fully.
Now 6 years later, global protests are happening after the death of George Floyd. I keep asking myself , “Will the revolution be televised?” Well by all means, the stage has been set. Organizers and activists who have been on the frontline all along, well prepared and making movement. Most young people showing support without needing reasoning or long explanations on what is happening. Elected officials stepping up to the plate, or showing their discontent and disconnect for their communities. The country, quarantined and immobilized, having to do soul searching about what they truly believe in. And God, moving heaven and Earth to let the spirit of the ancestors prevail.
“All Power to the People”
Black Panther Party
As I reflect on the magnitude of being on the Earth forty whole years, I am amazed and grateful. I think of our leaders who died before the age of 40, like Malcom and Martin. Who weren’t allowed the privilege to evolve and live to be elderly simply for being black, loving themselves, and being servants to their community. I am humbled before God to be black, female, and loving myself. I am equally grateful to those before me and who are now fighting for justice in this country. I am understanding now more than ever, there truly is no peace without justice and equality for all.