When a fire starts to burn…

Content warning: police brutality, state-sanctioned violence, white supremacy

Amid the outright disorder that is the current 45th president’s administration, a string of incidents occurring locally and nationally has been particularly difficult for me to process.

At the local level, yesterday afternoon in Anaheim, an off-duty LAPD officer instigated an altercation with a 13-year-old boy, eventually firing his gun at the scene. It all started with the officer yelling at a girl to get off his lawn, and the 13-year-old boy confronted the officer in defense of the girl…

At the national level, the state of North Dakota ordered an evacuation of the resistance campsite at Standing Rock, where a demonstration against the Dakota Access pipeline construction on indigenous land started back in April 2016. The movement sparked a wave of resistance across the country and throughout the world, exposing environmental racism that has disproportionately affected indigenous folks, Black, and brown bodies for decades. Let’s not forget that the Army Corps of Engineers rejected the original pipeline route that would have been built through Bismarck, a city with a predominantly white population.

Seeing the videos and reports of the militarized police forces demanding indigenous people and water protectors to overwhelms me. Either they leave or get arrested for defending the very resource that sustains all of us on this earth. Silencing the water protectors allows for state-sanctioned genocide to continue.

As someone who went to Standing Rock for several days last September, I feel so fucking heartbroken. (Pardon my French.) A space where all walks of life gathered out of love for the people, the need to defend the sacred, in one place to combat white supremacy. I’m eternally indebted to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe that allowed me to stay as a guest, as well as to the indigenous people who fed me and my friends. I’ll always treasure the friendships and camaraderie that developed from the beautiful folks I met during my time at the resistance camp.

But I carry Standing Rock with me. Like the hundreds who have been at Standing Rock at some point within the past ten months, we’ve carried back to our own communities a piece of that fire that ignited at Standing Rock– the flame that brought all of us together. In fact, Standing Rock is everywhere, and we must speak up locally to spread the fire, to tap into public consciousness…

Once a fire ignites in me, it can never be put out. Try me.


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