Do you know your history? Do you know what placed you in the physical location in which you now reside? Do you know the context of the world around you that created a narrative that allows you to be who you are? Will those forces work in your favor or against you? Do you know your history, I ask? Have you questioned the treaties and agreements that have placed your people here? Are you aware of your participation, both conscious and unconscious, in oppressive actions throughout generations? So I ask you again, do you know your history?
Do you know on which side of history your people have stood and/or continued to stand? Have you considered why sometimes the word ‘ally’ carries offensive messaging to groups who have long felt the sting of your lash? How allyship is at times linked with a cycle of advancement, backlash, and rewriting - hindering the alignments, pains, and gains that were won by people before and then reconstructed to diminish your power? Yes, do you know your history? Do you understand why two people with equal skills and abilities are considered in different, and often inequitable ways for the same position, job and role in your society? I ask you, do you remember your history? When did you learn that some people were different, not like you, and should be treated accordingly? It is a question of history. Not the history that the ‘winners’ have taught us, but the history of the counter-narrative. I ask you to look at your history. How have people used their lives, dreams, realities, compromises, deals, and discussions to bend their arc towards liberation and justice. How and why did we lose we what thought to have gained as the inalienable truth of our existence - that put certain people's lives, goals and achievements as less than others for the sake of perceived power? Where did you learn that the structure and society that we exist in are not malleable, fluid and forever changing? At what point did the work of your ancestors not break through, and where can we build new bridges to those lost elements as a part of the past to helping to secure our future?
This is your history, it is not something that you were taught in the books of your modern education. When was the last time you mined the graveyards in search of hidden gems for answers to your current situation? When was the last time your dreams breathed new life into the collective thoughts of your community? When did you last find your people’s connections to one another while also learning the existence of other individuals who have demanded the same chances for freedom and liberation as you? When was the last time you looked at your own privilege and reflected on what you were doing to bend your power to help those that have less power? Have you asked yourself, how am I helping to change the narrative of those who do not have the same options?
It is not a sign of good health to be well-adjusted to a sick society. And through the way we allow ourselves to believe our false history we allow ourselves to adjust. To find shelter rather than handle the sickness. There was a point when the great dream of liberation and freedom began to shrink back to gentle, unassuming winds. Through this lost human connection, it becomes plausible and desirable never to ask the question, ‘what am I doing to stop others from dying outside and within?’. How do we weave together our collective understanding of history, then use that recomposed and recaptured truth to free us from the paralysis the modern narrative has placed us in? Can we trace back the lines of power that bleeds off our strength and construct a new path to liberation; one built in the collective expansion and recognition of humanity which will allow us to change the structures as we tear down the systems that have siphoned off our power to maintain themselves and created a fractured fiction that has divided us. Sometimes the old adages are true: “There isn't much that is truly new under the sun.” It is time to allow the country to remember the humanity that is intrinsic in all of us. While, at some points in history, we seem to have lost sight of this intrinsic quality. This nation is truly a place of dreams and every generation has added to the miraculous living narrative. The true power of this country is its ability to continuously evolve a dream better from its origin.