again and again we come last. our families, our communities, our health, our survival come last.
us surviving, let alone living, has never been a priority of this system that rips us from our people, takes us from our land and strips us of our right to be free in this world. whether we are indigenous, diasporic, working class or barely working, we are but a commodity at best, a depository at worst, and oftentimes both. the keystone xl pipeline shows us, again, who this capitalist empire values, and it is not us.
the pipeline, spanning from alberta, canada to the gulf coast, stands to corrode the land and its indigenous denizens by peeling open the earth to extract crude oil, all the while releasing toxins into the water and air. corporations stand to profit billions. owing to kxl construction, fresh water is already extremely polluted, animals are already dying off, and indigenous communities are already suffering from higher and higher rates of cancer.
we have to face it: we just don’t matter to them.
but we, as seekers of collective liberation, we need to matter to us.
as a queer brown womyn of diaspora, as a person whose identity has been torn by the workings of a system based on exploitation, othering and disconnection, i have made home in the margins. the elements of home, of self-awareness, of ever-unfolding community, of righteous determination, have grown from a practice based in mindfulness and radical political engagement. it is with deep commitment to my practice that a deep commitment for collective liberation has blossomed — a commitment towards our empowerment, acceptance, and interconnection. these two walks are an expression of this commitment. they are walks to attune to the earth, to its peoples, to its creatures, to its struggle. they are walks to support that which has unconditionally supported us.
and this is why i walk.
let each step that meets soil be in remembrance.
let each step remind me that our communities, close and extended, matter.
let each step remind me that resistance against genocide is necessary.
let each step remind me that our survival depends on each other.
let each step remind us that solidarity is our only option.
[originally published as a letter of intent for the buddhist peace fellowship fundraiser to raise funds for the athabasca chipewyan first nation and the compassionate earth walk]