July 8, 2020 / Toronto

The tears may flow all night, but joy will come in the morning. A paraphrasing of an oft repeated phrase of my mothers and grandmothers steeped in the teachings of the Black Church. For me this phrase is not only a message of general hope, but a message with specificity about resistance, about the coming of the day of liberation for our people held in centuries-long bondage. A message of hope for all people who have been excluded and violated.

I have found myself quietly repeating this phrase in my head as I watch the hyperbolic acknowledgement (Prime Minister Trudeau ‘taking a knee’ during a protest on parliament hill along with a few of his ministers) of systemic anti-Black racism and promises of social and economic transformation give way to delayed, inadequate, under-resourced program proposals from all levels of government and public institutions.
But I believe in spite of the foot dragging and the repetition of promises made and broken and made and broken again, that we are in a new moment. That there has been an awakening across our country that is deep and broad: an awakening that can and must lead to social, economic, political and cultural transformation of this place we love called Canada.

This moment of resistance is a coming together of all who are concerned with social justice- or whatever language they use to speak to deep structural change- demanding the systems of racial capitalism, patriarchy, heteronormativity, ableism, anti-Black and other racisms, settler colonialism and other forms of exclusions and controls, be dismantled and reimagined. There is a growing consensus of people of goodwill that we must centre in our collective imaginary of a new world, those who have been made most marginalized among us; that it is those who have felt the weight of oppression on their necks who can best point the way forward towards our collective liberation.

Celebrated lesbian-feminist author, essayist and former City of Toronto Poet-laureate Dionne Brand in a recent media article said of this political moment, “Everything is up in the air, all narratives for the moment have been blown open…all the metrics are off, if only briefly.” Let us not waste this brief moment she speaks of which has brought clarity and awakening to so many. Let’s seize this moment of communal solidarity to leap towards a bold new vision for our communities and our world.

I leave you with this poem and the reminder to exhale and find the joy in our collective resistance.

Nayyirah Waheed
the hard season
split you through.
do not worry.
You will bleed water.
do not worry.
this is grief.
Your face will fall out and
down your skin
there will be scorching.
but do not worry.
keep speaking the years from
their hiding places.
keep coughing up smoke
from all the deaths you have
keep the rage tender.
Because the soft season will
It will come.
both hands in your chest.
up all night.
up all nights.
to drink all damage into love.

- therapy

In Solidarity