Grief (and getting to work) / by Sarah Schwartz

I don't know if I am ever going to have words for what transpired last week. Nor am I ready to try to find them.

I only know to say that I am shattered—permeated by a kind of grief I did not know was possible.

Over the last several days, I have been confronted with the stark reality of my own privilege, and the knowledge that as an educated, white Christian with access to resources, I will most likely escape the next four years relatively unscathed.

And yet, as a woman, I am humiliated that my dignity has been offered up as acceptable sacrifice on the altar of political power, as well as terrified of what it will mean to have a body like this one in the days to come.

I do not know what to say, except that while I will pray like hell for this administration to love mercy and do justly, I refuse to normalize bigotry. I refuse to deem this politics as usual.

I will not accept sexual assault, the demonization of black and brown bodies, anti-Semitism, ableism, homophobia, or Islamaphobia as status quo.

I am going to pray like hell, and you better believe I'm going to fight like it, too.

***

White friends & family, can we have a quick huddle?

If your faith, your family, your religion, your body, or your community was not insulted or threatened on the campaign trail, please don't tell people how to feel right now. Have the compassion and humility to recognize that you do not know what it is to be a minority or a woman or a Muslim, etc. If you are not upset about the election results, or you do not have anything to lose due to them, lean in to kindness right now, not condescension.

And regardless of whether or not you are upset, please, I'm begging you, over the coming months, be intentional about the kind of voices you are listening to—the media you are consuming, the books you are reading, the people you are asking opinions of.

Are you being presented with a single story from people just like you? Or are you listening to the voices of people of color, women, the poor, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, the all too often left out and left behind? If your news anchor, your book club author, and podcast publisher all look, talk, and think alike, make it a point to broaden your horizons.

***

It's time to get our hands dirty, friends. We've got to write, paint, organize, donate, volunteer and (white people, I'm looking at you) educate ourselves. Here's a list to get you started.

Anti-Defamation League Regional Offices

Border Angels

Books for Your Journey Towards Racial Justice, Austin Channing

Refugee Council USA

Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network

Code Switch: Race & Identity Re-Mixed (podcast)

The Representation Project

15 Books for Fighting for Justice in the Trump Era, Christina Cleveland

American Civil Liberties Union

***

This post will make no one's "Best Of" list, I know. This is not the most eloquent post I've ever written, but it is honest.

I'll leave you with the words of Jonathan Martin, words I needed desperately this week.

"So much sucks right now, I know. It is good and right to make space for the grief. But for God’s sake, in the days to come — man and woman of God…

Stand up!

Speak up!

Don’t speak from the center. The center already has more than enough people speaking for it. The center does not need your protection.

Speak for and with the One who was crucified outside the gate.

Speak from the margins.

If you will not speak from the margins, don’t you dare claim to speak for God.

We need you. I need you. The world needs your prophetic voice.

Don’t pontificate, damn it.

Prophesy. Prophesy. Prophesy."