Excerpt of "Home" by Warsan Shire

Home

Home by Warsan Shire, 2011

no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well

your neighbors running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.

no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it’s not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.

you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten
pitied

no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough

the
go home blacks
refugees
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
savage
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off

or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
your legs
or the insults are easier
to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child body
in pieces.
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
drown
save
be hunger
beg
forget pride
your survival is more important

no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
saying-
leave,
run away from me now
i dont know what i’ve become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here

Red paint is poured on the statue called #silentsam at #uncchapelhill; a statue that celebrates a racist history in a public space unavoidable to students and community members who are threatened by it and the white supremacy it represents.

Confederate context

I stand with UNC PhD student Maya Little who was arrested today for pouring blood and paint on Silent Sam. Here is her statement: I have been an organizer for the Silent Sam Sit-In since September 2017, when campus police confiscated the belongings of the 24 hour occupiers. Every weekday we provide context around the …

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"Kids Before Guns"

A national turning point

Lots schools have been shot up. Lots of people have protested. But it really is different this time. 
 
This moment reminds me of when the Greensboro Four sat down at a lunch counter in 1960 and captured the nation’s attention, largely because it was covered on national TV and the timing was right. It wasn’t nearly the first sit-in of it’s kind, but it had a bigger impact than most before it.
 
These young people have a national platform and they’re using it SO WELL. They’re increasingly intersectional, and they’re building a movement. I think this will evolve beyond guns and really help to energize the actual majority of the country that is sick of Republican greed and corruption.

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"You cannot change any society unless you take responsibility for it, unless you see yourself as belonging to it and responsible for changing it." – Grace Lee Boggs

Stay alive, stay connected

Check out the late Grace Lee Boggs on how to foster solidarity and make it through this horrible time with our souls and hopefully our social fabric intact. Her words are only becoming more and more important. “I’ve come to believe that you cannot change any society unless you take responsibility for it, unless you …

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Black clad demonstrators with "NO HATE" signs

Can you be Buddhist and antifa at the same time?

Haven’t processed all of this yet, but this is a great exploration of antifa from a Buddhist perspective. Please read if like me you are troubled by both violence and nazis. Buddhists and the Bloc: An Open Thread On Antifa On perceptions: I also want to think about this on a “Buddhist” level. What do …

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An African American woman with her fist in the air looks a white man giving a Nazi salute

What happened in Durham

Like many people, a week ago I was feeling pretty down about the state of racial justice and just basic humanity in the United States. But then something happened.

In response to the hate and violence displayed in Charlottesville, hundreds of Durhamites came together for a huge vigil on Sunday night. Many friends of mine posted pictures and powerful testimonials to the collective love they felt gathered together.

But I also noticed that some activists had less satisfied responses, including frustration that the mostly-white event marginalized voices of color and those with more radical tactics. Much of that frustration fed into the Monday demonstration, which had already been planned to take place in front of Durham’s old courthouse, where there was a confederate monument with an inscription to “the boys who wore gray.”

Many times I have passed that statue and wondered what on earth it was doing there. Until last year, I really didn’t realize how pervasive these were and what drove their creation.

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“Imagine for a moment having hands on the levers of this world.”

You yourself with the steady brown hands by Kriti Sharma, February 13th, 2017 Imagine for a moment having hands on the levers of this world. Imagine not having to go through extraordinary and psychically costly effort to lovingly and very very carefully persuade someone to put down the gun. Imagine, in a swift and compassionate …

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No more innocent liberal surprise.

Friends, please don’t make the mistake of thinking that Trump’s seemingly random and ill-informed actions are not part of President Bannon’s strategy. They’ll bleed the public of money, culture, education, health, and community. They’ll sow chaos and violence. And they’ll beef up institutions that can enforce their coup: police & military. This is truly disturbing to …

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We-Commit-To-Resist

Beautiful posters for resisting racism and bigotry

Thanks to the American Friends Service Committee for publishing these two wonderful posters for resisting racism and bigotry. AFSC is a great organization. I collaborated with them when I worked at the Fellowship of Reconciliation.   Driven by a desire to provide tools for schools and the larger community to create space for discussion and declare …

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