the cubicle life is one of the weirdest lives ever, in my opinion. you sit in space with other people who you are supposed to try and get along with and who, if you are lucky, work to achieve the same things as you. if you are really lucky, you have windows and can see outside. but if you don’t have windows, time can seem to drag on and you lose yourself in the world of emails, phone calls, forms and meetings.
if you are lucky enough to have windows, outside of those windows, birds are nesting, flying, feeding and singing. there might be rabbits, tunneling and feeding and doing what rabbits are colloquially famous for doing. there are snakes and creepy crawlys running amok. it’s quite possible that there is a body of water nearby – a stream, a river, a pond or a lake. and within that body of water, there are multitudes of ways that life plays out while you pound on your keyboard and listen in on that conference call. fish swimming, mollusks and crustaceans working in the muck of the banks and the beds of the river.
here’s the other thing that is going on while you are living the cubicle life. in north dakota, they are perfecting institutional racism within the bounds of their “law”. they are charging Native people in one courtroom and white people in another courtroom. they are bringing Native people in to answer to charges of trespassing, charges which were thrown on them while they sat in prayer circle on treaty land, and then leveling multiple other counts, most felonies when they show up to plead.
for sitting in a prayer circle. on treaty land. practicing their religion. in america.
for protecting the land, the air and the water that we rely on.
in north dakota, a corporation has unleashed an army of mercenaries to erect a pipeline that will lead to the destruction of everything we are supposed to hold sacred and dear – the air we breathe, the water we drink, the land upon which we rely for life. a corporation is using this mercenary army, sanctioned by government, to oppress and abuse – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually – people. Native people.
some of my friends were shocked with the results of this most recent election. it’s understandable. nobody really shines a light on the racism that persists – PERSISTS – in communities of color. unless you are really close to people of color, you aren’t going to see it. if you are aware, you might see the micro aggressions that take place when you are out for dinner with them or walking down a street together or on a shopping trip with them, but you won’t grasp the fullness of it unless you spend a lot of time with them. unless you listen to the stories and comprehend that this isn’t just a story your friend is telling you.
here’s the thing….north dakota’s institutional racism didn’t happen overnight. and it’s not the only place in our country that this is taking place. let’s be clear. there’s overt racism and then there’s covert racism. we are being given an opportunity to see them both and to take a stand.
when i sit in my cubicle, i often think about the river that flows just behind our building and i get out there as often as i can to spend time in her presence. she is one of the most polluted and abused waterways in the country. but i love her. and i want her to be well. my work requires me to be inside, but she is always with me in my spirit. so it is with my friends and relatives who have been standing at Standing Rock and travelling back and forth to provide support. i hold them in my heart and i know that there journey isn’t easy. they are shining light on something that this country has needed to face for a long, long time.
i am no one. my words are crap. but if i can encourage one person to shift the way that they see the world by encouraging them to take 2 minutes of a 10 minute break to think about our relatives who are facing overt and covert racism, who are facing environmental racism….if you can take 2 minutes and at least say a prayer that they are safe and won’t be harmed by this racism….that will at least be something.
my hope is that, as you learn to take 2 minutes, that the 2 minutes will become 5 and the 5 will lead to a desire to do your own research, from a good heart. to reach out and help someone whether you know them or not….to know that any good you put in this world does not go wasted, no matter what the external circumstances look like.
we didn’t get here overnight, but i believe that love is swifter than hate. what we do in love, right now, to reverse the impacts of racism – will bring about swift change if we stay in that place in our hearts and our minds.
If you can help, financially, please use this link. the institutional racism is a form of genocide and it is well established as a tactic in this country.
chi miigwech for listening.