Sunday, June 25, 2017

We Are Who We Choose To Be | Ranata Suzuki

We are not simply the sum of our life experiences – we are fundamentally who we choose to be. While it is true that every person we have met and every place we have been has played their part in shaping who we are – it is us and us alone that decides how we allow them to shape us. 
That is what defines us… because life will bring great pain and sadness, that is one of its only certainties… but it also has the potential for so much love and happiness if you keep your heart open to others despite your pain. 
I have been hurt. 
I have been hurt more times than I can count in ways you cannot even imagine, and yet the only hate I have within me is of the notion of inflicting what I have experienced onto someone else
...the only spite I am capable of is to carry on peacefully in spite of all that has befallen me. 
The energy we hold within us flows through our bodies and out of our fingertips like tendrils into all that surrounds us… 
We can choose to spread love or we can choose to spread pain… 
The pain I bury. 
I bury it deep within me where I know it can never hurt another and feel content in the knowledge that when I die – it dieswith me; I never passed it on to someone else because I knew exactly how it felt and could not bear the thought of another person ever feeling it. 
And it is love that gives me that strength. 
It is love that enables me to control my pain and give only my love to others… 
And if love can keep pain like that under control… 
then surely love is the greater force.

—Ranata Suzuki

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Moving Forward, Finding Freedom

Graphic Artwork by: Lexx Valdez |  @Lexx_Valdez on IG + @Lexx_Valdez on Twitter

It's been 4 years since the shooting of Trayvon Martin...

3 years since Mike Brown

1 year since Philando Castile

and a few days shy of the tragedy of Charleena Lyles

...with several cases reported and too many left under the radar.

It just continues to happen and no justice is being served. Right before our eyes, men and women of color are being unjustly murdered at the hands of the police. We are well aware at this point that African-American people are not being protected, yet we are-for the most part-desensitized and we don't have yet to come up with any long term solutions. Sure, we can march around and protest and climb impossible barriers in order to take down waving confederate flags at state capital buildings, but when is it ever going to be enough? How long will we walk barefoot on hot coal before we're able to break down the institution of racism? Will we ever be able to trust that our justice system is capable of playing a vital role in our survival? Or will we remain in a place where we are constantly fighting to stay alive?

These words certainly don't feel like enough. I recall scripting letters a few years ago to the Ferguson Police Department, contacting the Missouri House of Representatives, and providing resources for those who didn't exactly know what to do in that moment of darkness. I didn't hear back from anyone. I voted and it didn't make a difference. And when a presidential candidate who built his entire campaign around greed and racism became the 45th president of the United States, that painlessly numb sense of hopeless crept in again, because none of my efforts-none of the efforts of those who believe in the BLACK LIVES MATTER movement-made a real difference. 

How are we supposed to move forward? How are we supposed to be free?

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