When I see resistance, my first inclination is to back off or run to a place to feel safe and comfortable. I suspect that I am not alone in that temptation. But resistance means success. There’s no backlash to restore the old order without having moved forward first. But we must not let the backlash undo progress in justice-making nor block our dreams for an equitable future. Take the Civil War that abolished slavery, that led to the reconstruction era, that led to the backlash of the Jim Crow era, that led to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s that increased equality to a higher level but led to the backlash demonstrated by the current MAGA Movement increasing policing and imprisonment and growing wealth and health disparities for people of color, especially Indigenous peoples. I know that I am vastly simplifying history, but I want to emphasize that although we may be moving in the right direction, we must expect backlash resisting progress and that we need to lean into that resistance with our own resistance. Not to do so will result in tragic consequences for generations, like the Jim Crow era following reconstruction in the mid-19 the century. Some ways to lean into resistance: 1. Provide children the opportunity to learn about the dark side of history so that they understand how racism is woven into the fabric of who we are today, both individually and collectively. 2. Be a carpetbagger, i.e., go to where racial harm is happening and stand with the most oppressed to see that at least basic needs are being met. 3. Be an abolitionist: i.e., actively look for opportunities to engage in liberation work. Slavery legally may have been abolished, but people of color remain trapped in invisible boxes defined by racism. The resistance in Riverton and Fremont County to the work of the Riverton Peace Mission oddly gives me hope. Leaning into the resistance will not be easy. It will take organizing, strategic planning, time, and resources. Lean into resistance. Opportunities for educators, carpetbaggers, and abolitionists are endless.
Right now, we are working with interested community members to plan our upcoming Summit for Our Unhoused Neighbors which will be happening in March. To give your input and find out ways to help, please join our second planning meeting happening January 31 at 1pm over Zoom.
Join us for our next Monthly Thursday Series on February2 at 7 pm on Zoom to learn about Documenting Racism with Data.
You can help us combat institutional racism right now by signing our petition to call on the Riverton City Council to address racism that is impacting our city.