If you are reading this, it means that it is sometime in the future, after a prolonged season of
grief, death, and mourning.
If you are reading this, it means that I am somewhere far from you physically, but you should
know: I am thinking of you always. In fact, this letter was written in a moment of foresight, a
sudden burst of inspiration or, better yet, an ache.
If you are reading this, then you have found yourself in a time consumed by crisis and the
consequences of crisis. At the time of this writing, I kept thinking to myself: maybe there is a
chance that we won’t fail you. I hope we haven’t failed you.
Because if you are reading this, then by now you have most likely arrived at a moment of
clarity. That this is a hard, tough world and the very attempts to make this world anew are
harder and tougher. To be truthful, the “we” is deflection, an excuse to not say “I.” That is to
say, I hope I haven’t failed you.
I thought that some missive from me to you would help to calm whatever anxiety you are
feeling right now, because these are the types of gestures that held me together in my time of
crisis. It is hard to know where to start and how to move sometimes.
I thought you would want to know that it is okay to be scared. I think I spent too much time
avoiding that truth for myself and I think that, often, fear can motivate us to action. Not all of
the time, but sometimes. What real wisdom can I offer you? Perhaps nothing more than the
lessons I tried to hold onto from people much wiser than myself.
When they say organize, they also mean study.
When they say organize, they also mean fight.
When they say organize, they also mean refuse the compromise. The one that tells you to keep
quiet or appease those who cause harm or consider “both sides.” There is great danger in this
I am writing this to you on a day without sun, at a moment when summer gives way to fall and
the coastline is threatened by the hurricanes of the Atlantic. I have been trying to remind myself that another plane exists. A place that is not riddled with food insecurity or housing
instability or extrajudicial murder or . . .
I am writing this to you in a time of my own transition, where heart work meets the sharpening
of my political self. Alice Coltrane, my score.
I am writing this letter the way I might say a prayer, which is something like a meditation. These
acts live beyond any conception of linear (Western) time. Have you realized this yet? That when
we pray, we are time traveling, and so it is my prayer that this finds you—in a time that is no
longer my own—with fervor.
Gather with the healers, the activists, the teachers, the spiritualists, the protestors, the artists,
the mothers, the young folk, those who refuse the ongoing suffering of others, those who are
tending to the earth, those who are mindful of the elders, those who map futures against the
state, against white supremacy. All of these things must be named.
I am writing this to you as a way of reminding you of your own mortality. That the human plane
is finite and listening to Alice always reminds me of that which comes after and beyond. I
wanted to put my humanness to good use because you were on your way. I wanted you to be
proud and also to know that humanness is fragile.
There are departed saints, like Alice, who will get you through. And the righteous who are still
living—the healers and the activists and the teachers and the spiritualists and the protestors
and the artists and the mothers and the young folk.
You are reading this, and I hope, in some way, that you are ready for what is coming next. That
this is a hard, tough world and that the very attempt to make this world over is harder and
tougher. But, I am still praying that a new world is possible.