I took a lot of time to write this piece. There are no words to describe the feelings of sorrow, pain, loss, and devastation from the deaths of so many Black and Brown people in the United States and around the globe. Pain that has been enacted due to anti-Blackness, imperialism, racism and white supremacists. May the Spirits of these Black and Brown unjust killed people rest in power. May their Spiritual energy come back from the womb of Mother Earth to give us strength towards healing and collective liberation.
I want to appreciate the Spirits of my ancestors who have visited me in my dreams the last few weeks to give me permission to speak up and share their wisdom with gratitude and humility so that we can continue to work towards politics of solidarity and healing.
In this altar, I burnt sage and palo santo as an offering to honor my lineages.
During these times of deep reflection and transformations around the world, I’ve been having powerful conversations with my collectives. We have been reflecting and dialoguing on these questions:
- Why do we want to survive this current and future chaos? What do we need to survive? What does solidarity mean to us?
- How can we show up to amplify Black peoples’ power, stories, and struggles right now?
- Why is it important to be in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement?
- What are the survival skills mama, mamita, and our communities have taught me? How can I offer these survival skills toward collective liberation? How can we learn anti-racist practices locally and globally?
- Where do I truly want to be? On which side of the imposed borders [mental, racial, social, geographical, etc.] will my physical and spiritual presence be more effective/useful?
There is no right or wrong answers. We are all at different moments in our learning and healing journeys. We are committed to aligning our mind, body, and Spirit towards the liberation of Black, Indigenous, and people of color. Towards global decolonization.
Military dictatorships, civil wars, massacres, disappearances of community members, sexual violence, human rights atrocities, post-traumatic stress, etc. in Latin America and the Caribbean – all these problems are rooted in colonization, imperialism, and patriarchy. In other words, white supremacy and anti-Blackness.
I have been connecting with my sacred Spiritual praxis and values, and embodying them through poetry, adapting cantos that I grew up singing with the grassroots faith-based communities in the ’80s and ’90s in El Salvador. Most of these cantos are compiled in the El Pueblo Canta book which was [and is] a Spiritual storytelling tool that popular movements created to reclaim practices of love, faith, and peace in defending their dignity of belonging. Singing connects me with my roots, my lineages, my relatives, our Abuelo Sun, our Abuela Moon, our relatives Trees, animals, all part of the Creation, as we all belong to Mother Earth.
See, growing up in critical Spirituality was the cornerstone of my family and community’s survival. Our Spiritual praxis was rooted in the liberation theology framework to support class liberation for the peasants’ popular movements of that time. These movements included Indigenous liberation, and nowadays queer communities are reclaiming a liberatory Spirituality in Central America as well.
In Indigenous cosmology a balance in dualities is crucial, therefore change is a spiral and is ongoing, Mother Earth is crying for deeper transformations now. Many of these structural struggles are prevalent nowadays because Mesoamerican economies continue to be dependent on capitalistic systems of free trade; these continue the culture of extracting resources that destroys Mother Earth – and us as a result of her destruction.
This framework supported the facilitation of very hard conversations. Mama was one of the millions of women facilitators in grassroots faith-based communities. She combined readings from the Biblia Latinoamericana, with cantos and people’s stories to guide the conversations. She was committed – she believed and acted towards justice and the liberation of all.
To break it down [or simplify it], the reflections focused on three main elements: a) awareness, b) reflecting, c) acting. The faith-based collectives met weekly and there was at least one per barrio. Mama believed in the power of collective ceremonies. After reading, the participants sang, and whoever was hosting would share a cup of coffee or whatever was available.
Consciousness-raising was about people being empowered in their dignity as human beings. People would argue the need to center our lives in resistance of the bombings led by state terror and U.S. military intervention. Answering hard questions: what are the causes of the civil war? Why are we, as peasants/Indigenous communities, historically marginalized? What resources do we need to move forward with popular education, healthcare, childcare, and rebuilding houses? Folks shared their hopes that the civil war would end and bring about peace. We named the causes of our problems – how structural sins like poverty exist, and also how peasants were demanding access to land, organizing to demand an end to human rights atrocities, and mobilizing to defend families and communities. Finally, the faith-based communities talked about the urgent need to transform that unjust reality. Mama would guide the dialogues in ways that allowed each person to commit to taking actions in being part of that change. Anger, rage, fear, laughter, togetherness, prayer were feelings and actions that constantly were expressed during these Sacred reflections.
Some of the great outcomes of these faith-based conversations included strengthening cooperatives, creating committees, and embracing youth voices as they volunteered as popular educators of each escuelita. There were also doulas and promotoras de salud who facilitated health visits directly in people’s homes. Mama was doing her part – she traveled with groups of women to San Salvador the capital, visited nonprofit organizations and churches to tell our villages’ stories, and requested donations to rebuild the houses, pipelines, clinics, and other talleres for the well-being of our people. These faith-based communities centered Spiritual Healing, life and collective well-being.
How can these Mesoamerican Teachings guide us as we move toward a global Spiritual liberation? How can a liberatory Spirituality framework lead us toward undoing anti-Blackness and support our collective liberation? How can Black, Indigenous, and people of color build and strengthen solidarity during an unprecedented time of living in the middle of a global pandemic and structural policing? What are the Spirits of your lineages and Mother Earth asking you [body, mind, Spirit] to do now? How are you all tending to your spiritual needs right now? Saying “I am not racist” is part of the problem within non-Black communities, so please let’s try do more than that.
I want to amplify the voices of Black and Indigenous communities locally and globally below:
- Become a monthly donor with Birth Detroit, and join our #SAFETYCircle. Safety is the foundation of Birth Detroit. We know birth center care improves health outcomes and enhances the birth experience. All families should have access to a full range of safe birth options (birth center, home, and hospital). Leseliey Welch shares in this video more about her story and how she and her team began this amazing labor of love.
- Support to Liberate Don’t Incarcerate a local collective in Washtenaw County that is grounded in love and communal healing that embodies collective accountability for all humanity. In partnership with other community groups, they have launched the Washtenaw County Mutual Aid Re-entry, Fund
- Support this campaign so that immigrant children can stay in school and with their families during COVID-19. This fundraiser is led by Mexiquenses en Michigan, a grassroots organization.
- Support undocumented families during the COVID-19 pandemic. This fundraiser is led by a few amazing community organizers in Michigan including Maria Ibarra-Frayre and Catalina Rios, two powerful comrades.
- Support Canasta Solidarias, a fundraiser to support impoverished families impacted by storm-season and COVID-19 in El Salvador. This campaign is organized by a small group of locals who source street vendors and coordinate with community leaders to deliver solidarity “baskets.”
- Buy a book at a local Black-owned bookstore in your town or city.
Many of you may be asking yourselves: how do I begin to amplify Black, Indigenous, and people of color voices when my body is in “flight, freeze, fight” mode? As a self-Healer, I practice and sustain daily rituals to build boundaries to protect me from all the toxic energy enacted from the systemic violence surrounding us. I am embracing life in abundance and staying away for any type of scarcity pattern. You can also begin there, in your inner-home. Recognize your deepest fears, shame, emotions, thought process, joys, visions, values, and find ways that work for you to release them, to unlearn the ingrained limited beliefs about yourselves. How do I release, connect, and heal? I dance it out, I smudge it out, I sing it out, I laugh it out, and I cry it out.
Finally, if you are an action-oriented person, here are a few resources in English and Spanish that folks have shared with me. These are for you to engage, educate, and disseminate [at your own pace] to continue decolonizing from the toxic roots of anti-Blackness, racism, and colorism in Latin America, the Caribbean, other Spanish speaking countries, and within the U.S.
Let’s go everybody to the banquet
Let’s go everybody to the banquet,
to the table of creation,
Everyone, with their chair,
has a place and a mission.
Today I wake up early,
Community waits for me,
I am walking up the hill very happy,
I am in search of your friendship.
God [Mother Earth] invites all poor people
To this common table for faith,
Where there is no capitalist greedy
and nobody lacks “nourishment.”
God [Mother Earth] is inviting us all
to transform this world
into a table of solidarity;
Working and praying together,
sharing all the resources
Copyright © 2020-2021, Erika Murcia | All Rights Reserved