Tuesday, April 28, 2015
The Fire This Time
All day I sit here in Melbourne, Australia, watching the sadness of human loss--the earth moves on its own journey, and thousands die. More then a tourist destination, more then the gateway to the conquering of mountains, a home to millions of poor workers who are left with little when the rich trekkers look away.And then Baltimore--one face I saw in my mind, one voice I heard, James Baldwin speaking to the SEEK students in 1969, telling them of the fires that would not stay contained, that through the racially brutalizing skin of America, through the determined and conscious destruction of hope, the fires would come again, our humanity would split open and then he said, looking up at our students, his small body fierce with intensity, you must be there to pick through the ruins and take what you can use to start again in a different way.
Now at 75, I sit and think, we had a chance to listen to the knowledges of the 60s but Reagan and greed and white supremacy turned our hearts into gated cities. Baltimore's Mayor, Ms. Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, tried to have learned from the overly militarized responses of other apartheid American towns and cities. No deaths in the long night when angers too hot to stay beneath the streets marked her city. She will be criticized for being too soft, she will be criticized for her humanity and her understandings of what we have done.