By Melissa Berkey-Gerard, Psychosocial Care Coordinator
A few days ago, I woke with a longing for freedom for all people. It started in my chest, in my heart, and spread to the rest of my body. In a time that can feel hopeless, I let that longing fill me and animate me for the day ahead.
This week, in my home city of Philadelphia, Walter Wallace, Jr. was killed by police, just a few blocks from where I live. Walter's life was another beloved Black life cut short, and the fight against police brutality seems endless. This murder comes a few days before the US Presidential election. I don't need to remind anyone what the current president has done to amplify white body supremacy. Stress levels are very high now, yet the struggle for justice needs all of us to be well to continue to work for liberation for all people.
In our work for liberation, it is crucial to be intentional in caring for ourselves and our communities during intense times. Here are a few invitations:
When you wake up in the morning, connect with your body. Start with a deep breath, and ask what does my body need? If your body wants to rest, please let it. If it wants to dance, let it dance. Your body holds fear and trauma, but it also holds joy and courage, and it can give you hints about what you need.
Give attention and space to your heart and your spirit. Remind yourself of the reason for which you live. What are your longings? What is most dear to you? What centers you? If you are drawn to meditate, pray, journal, or sing, give yourself the time to do it.
Activate your support system. Now is the time to let your connections with others deepen into a web that holds all of us. Reach out to others who will listen, who will rage with you, who will cry with you. You are not alone.
Let history give you courage. Remember those who have been strong in the face of injustice. People have always courageously stood up to oppressive systems and have been chipping away at injustice for generations. Make a list- who can you call to mind to give you strength now? Keep the list somewhere easily visible to you throughout the day, and let this cloud of witnesses encourage you.
The struggle for justice is long and hard. Take heart, my friends, and may we all find what we need to keep working for another world where all are free.