As I post, every few minutes or so, a flashbang grenade or a round of teargas canister explosions goes off, and there are helicopters and sirens. This is an improvement on earlier this weekend, when it sounded like I was in the middle of a warzone, because for the most part, I was. I live in downtown Portland, Oregon, and things are also Not Okay here, just as they are Not Okay in a number of places in the United States right now (and even in some other countries in solidarity!) as people are coming together, despite general quarantine, to protest the murders of a number of people by police just in the last several days.
Of course these are not the only times police have used deadly force against people of color, that’s been going on since the idea of police began. Unless you’re living under a rock, you are more than aware of what is happening, and of the larger issues of institutionalized racism at stake.
I am afraid for my city. I am afraid for family and friends in other cities including Minneapolis, some of whom have had to flee their homes. I am afraid and horrified for an acquaintance who is a journalist, who lost her eye last night because the police decided to shoot at her crew despite them being clearly marked as media. I am afraid for a lot of people right now. I am afraid we will not collectively have the strength to keep pushing for change once the militarized police start terrorizing people like they’re doing in New York by running over people, or like they’re doing in Minneapolis by shooting at people on their porches doing nothing but watching the armored vehicles roll by….or or or….
And yet, in the midst of my fear, there is something else to think about.
I saw a photograph yesterday, of a piece of graffiti tagged on a store somewhere. It said ANOTHER END OF THE WORLD IS POSSIBLE.
In the midst of so much disruption and death and violence and sadness and heartache, from the COVID-19 pandemic, to the rise of fascism, to decades and centuries of oppression and misery for our friends and family and everybody else, there is a whole lot of apocalypse energy in the world, and it does feel like an ending. But the graffiti spoke to me about more than that.
It was a reminder that none of these things have to continue to happen. Another end is possible: the end of that miserable world, so a better world can have room to be. Nothing that is happening right now is inevitable. Together we have voices and agency and power, and it can be used, to help bring that better world into being. Black lives matter. Until Black people are free to live, nobody is. Another end of the world is possible. It might not even have to end now…if we have the will to get through the changes and live.