Some notes on my decolonial practice for those who struggle against compulsory rituals of settler colonialism.
I remind myself each day that I live in a forest. In Atlanta it is not very difficult to do. That it was tended to and Loved by Mvskoke and Cherokee peoples for millennia.
I center resistance and refusal as ancestral legacies of survival — the way crows and squirrels and ducks are not the least impressed or stressed or pressed the human runner, the way Mama had sideways glances and stares and cloaks for white nonsense and attempts at erasure.
I can hold this power and and refuse participation in the centering of genocide and slavery and domination. What the state approves and criminalizes. I can honor and remember the ancestors, the ways in which they were stolen, places and families and worlds they were stolen from. Celebrate the peoples they conspired with toward freedom and realize the vastness and joy of the conspiracy. Celebrate their resistance and resolve and wisdom and love.
Creating new gatherings and rituals and commemorations and traditions is hard work. Abolition is hard until it becomes practice and becomes air. Starting an experiment is the hard part. It is love and work and life sustaining work and change work, as Octavia Butler taught us.
I live in the forest. The forest that grew after the November fire. The fire freed the ancestors who toiled in Macon and Covington and Oxford. The forest always grows after the fire. I live in a forest. I live because of the forest.