“That is what we are now. The circumstances have been reduced; for those us who still have circumstances… The future is in your hands… But there was nothing in them. They were empty. It was our hands that were supposed to be full, of the future; which could be held but not seen.”
– Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
The weather may still be unsure of its own mind, but I’ve singularly decided that fall has arrived and the summer is officially relegated to the past. The trees have graciously ceased to withhold their vibrant reds, oranges and yellows while the birds who need to have abandoned ship for more productive climates. The TV networks are rolling out another seasonal line-up of shows in anticipation of the spike in home-bodied couch buddies, who wait out the colder months curled up in warmth and cradling a hope that spring will magically skip a few weeks to arrive early.
Fall is the fairer counterpart to the dark unforgiving winter, so as festivals abound there’s a last ditch unspoken scramble to soak up the outdoors in a burst of remnant summer energy. Yet for some of us the signals that alert to fall’s seamless arrival mostly hold irrelevance as the reality of circumstance and the uncertainty of future makes the tracking of seasons almost pointless, unless it directly pertains to immediate survival. Some seasonal shifts both environmental and social are not born of nature but by the tinkering of man, and more often than not those shifts bring with them the added struggle to top off an already mounting pile of adversity.
If you’re homeless in a city that realistically could but cruelly won’t provide adequate and stable housing for all of its residents, what pragmatic need do you have for the marveling at colorful leaves? Could you build a solid home from them? If you’re being threatened with displacement or forced eviction, that last burst of lingering summer energy will probably be expended putting one apprehensive foot in front of another desperate foot.
If you’ve been shaken and ravaged by a rapid fire succession of nature’s righteous tantrums and humanity’s arrogant disregard for the sacred home we all inhabit, how can you watch the migration of birds free to find solace in more forgiving places and not have it remind you of being trapped in the place you’ve settled roots in to call home and community? While people safely anchored with hoarded resources miles away deny you basic empathy in their withholding of supportive help, what trauma is brought by the effort and failure to convince them of your humanity and all that comes with that recognition? They can’t truly believe in humane love and support as a privilege to be controlled, doled out to a small select few and withheld from the rest who need it more urgently? How does anyone really recover from a dawning realization that in their most dire moment of need, all the things they need may never actually come?
Those festive fall spirits we clamor to maintain are overshadowed by the crushing prevalence of sexual violence and oppression brought to the public spotlight ever so often, and more recently by the courageous sharing of #METOO stories. For a few it has been more liberating than stifling, for a few it has rehashed masked but not so deeply buried pain, but for all of us it has reminded the collective conscious just how little regard, respect or protection exists and is afforded to the most vulnerable and dominated among us.
Yes… fall is a lot of things to a lot of people, part magical transformation, part foreshadowing of a less welcomed and outrageously snowy season on its heels, part opportunity to rest our rebellious summer spirits then bunker down for serious life planning and future-shaping. But this particular fall is loaded at least for me, with the knowledge that our world is dangerously off kilter and is tipped ever closer to the brink we’ve all tried to keep at bay.
Where do you think we’ll land when it finally topples over?
These open letters I’ve been inspired to write and sporadically including in FUREE’s monthly newsletters have usually been woven with threads of inspiration, personal reflections and a vaguely constructed vision of the world I’d like to see realized. This month though, I wanted to stand in the truth as it exists in the moment for me rather than force my pen towards things I can’t be certain I actually feel right now. So I’ll end it here with a few questions that I’m hoping we’re all asking ourselves and each other, and I’m opening a sincere invitation to those who are inclined to enter a public or private discourse in response.
When we can’t collectively hold it up any longer what lies in wait beyond the cliff our world as we know it currently stand on, and what role will each of us plan in manifesting a new reality we can be proud of?
How will we all make way for the space-less to command space and the discarded to stand bright and tall in their inherent value? And what vision of the world do you see, that allows us to embrace honor in being a part of it, rather than feeling compelled to distance and separate ourselves from the madness around us?
Who will each of us be on the other side, and can the destination we reach be glorious and beautiful for everyone who seeks it, for those who may not even know it exists, and even for everyone who’s invested in never reaching?
-Shatia Strother, FUREE Program Coordinator
CHECK OUT OUR WEBSITE’S EVENTS PAGE AND OUR SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES
FOR EVENT & MEETING DETAILS/INFO, AND TO RSVP!
FUREE OCTOBER GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 26TH 6:30PM – 8:30PM
FIFTH AVENUE COMMITTEE, 621 DEGRAW STREET, BROOKLYN, NY 11217
Topics for discussion will include upcoming FUREE Steering Committee elections and process review, campaign brainstorming and strategic planning, new member orientation, organizational and leadership development updates and plans.
Contact Tia or Mike to RSVP or for more details.
Stay tuned for upcoming event announcements, campaign updates and highlights (Especially from this year’s Renter Week of Actions & Assemblies!)
…plus a WHOLE LOT more!
FUREE’s ‘Protect Public Housing’ Rally Sept. 21st 2017
-Photo Courtesy of David Branigan
FUREE (FAMILIES UNITED FOR RACIAL & ECONOMIC EQUALITY)
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