These are Helen’s words from Sunday’s ‘Faith at the Gate’ event, led from the gates of Horse Hill oil drilling site – in reference to 1st June protest and lock-ons at Horse Hill against the drilling there, and also referencing the events around the world in protest about racism.
Quite often our Sundays here coincide with a Christian feast day and since last week was Pentecost and some of you have sent me spirit filled messages to peg onto the gate which I am going to do now…
So I don’t know about you but at the end of this week I’m exhausted… there seem to be so many fires to fight…
and I’m white, and I didn’t start the week locked on outside these gates or on top of a container in the blazing sun, and I’m not having to compromise my safety in the face of coronavirus.
This week has been a lot and tonight I’m trying to
imagine what all this feels like without white privilege…
- Fighting climate change,
- Staying safe in a pandemic,
- Avoiding the police.
* * *
I came across these words in a Washington Post article written by Ayana Elizabeth Jonson, marine biologist, policy advisor and Brooklyn resident and much, much more :
“So, to white people who care about maintaining a habitable planet,
I need you to become actively anti-racist.
I need you to understand that our racial inequality crisis is intertwined with our climate crisis.
If we don’t work on both, we will succeed at neither.
I need you to step up. Please. Because I am exhausted.”
* * *
And this from Poet and Professor of Literature Fred Moten:
“The preservation of Blackness, proves more and more to be tantamount to the preservation of earth.”
* * *
Some silence at sunset seems like a good thing to do.. but first a reflection for us all and the words of prayers which are being attached to the fence now this will be followed by 10 minutes of silence marked at beginning and end by my singing bowl.
In these whirlwind days
Sacred and Holy One, help us to believe in beginnings
no matter how often we’ve failed before.
New beginnings for racial justice
New beginnings for climate justice
Help us to make these beginnings:
to begin going out of our weary minds
into fresh dreams,
daring to make our own bold tracks
in the land of now;
to begin questioning the unquestionable
that we may know truth
to begin sacrificing
that we may make peace;
to begin loving
that we may realize joy.
Help us to be a beginning to others,
to be a singer to the songless,
to become the beginnings of hope for the despairing,
to become strong and vocal allies in the beginnings of freedom for the oppressed and for the planet,
As we stand witness here to extractivism that will exacerbate the climate emergency we profess that this emergency disproportionately affects people of colour and we condemn that fact and commit to putting anti-racism at the heart of climate activism.
We condemn policies that commodify people
We condemn policies that commodify the planet