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BEING A BLACK QUEER GIRL ACTIVIST/ARTIST/ACADEMIC/ORGANIZER IN 2020

Y'all niggas are not in the same pandemic I am. 


Domestic

ICYMI: 2020

Ever since March I’ve been in a gambit of zoom meetings, sessions, accountability talks, Twitter DMs, House Party romps, Digital Parties, healing circles, and late night FaceTime calls. Each one filled with responsibility, each one running on its own circle of policies that try to quell the anxiety that is living through a pandemic. Ever since March, the world has continued to spin on its axis - wars continue to rage, uprisings continue, scammers continue to pull up to Miami Beach. Now, as we reach our second peak of the COVID-19 pandemic with total deaths teetering over 165,148 (CDC.gov) in the US - my life continues to be the same ol bullshit. 


Day to Day 

6:00am - Wake up and make sure the race war has not begun. Back to bed. 

7:00am - Wake up again because sleep is futile. Time does not exist. My body has transcended time. 

8:00am - SCREAMS FOR BREAKFAST

9:00am - Call four organizations to get housing options for community members in need. Schedule rides for others needing to get somewhere safely. Post fundraising flyers on social media - yell at non Black folk to donate their money directly to Black folk. 

10:00am - Open my email and act like I am going to reply. 

10:03am - Record content for blog/Twitch or whatever it is I’m doing. 

7:00pm - Eat my ONEBIGMEAL for the day. 

8:00pm - Revisit emails and write “in a goddamn pandemic??” in every email reply. 

8:00.30sec - Binge American Horror Story until I doze off in an area of my house clearly not made for sleeping. 


The THINGS THAT REMAIN

There are some things - pandemic or not that you can count on remaining the same.

1. Performative Activism

  • Piles of well-meaning whites in my DMs wanting to offer sympathy instead of asking me for my cashapp? Check!

  • Everyone posting a Black box yet choosing to remain silent when it comes to protecting Black folks? Check!

  • Non-Black folk centering themselves in discussions about race? Check!

2. Misogyny and Sexism

  • Act like - no be like - a White Woman Taylor - that’ll defeat the [insert group needing to be defeated]! 

3. Rape Culture

  • Whether it’s online or in - person; Niggas ain’t shit. Far too many (more than zero) ex flames have sent their carrier pigeons with messages of rekindlement, ways to avert social distancing recommendations, and all schemes possible with a prime objective: pussy. All while using the pandemic as an excuse to exert less effort in the talking process. 

  • How are y'all catcalling through the mask? Just HOW? 

  • Consent is still a foreign concept to many. 

4. Institutional Racism 

  • It took me 46 hours to get an inhaler after removing carpet in my house. 

  • So many of my friends became jobless, displaced, and depressed during Miss Rone and they have yet to find a new opportunity. Some are at jobs with no hazard pay with (un)known COVID-19 cases amongst staff and patrons. So ya know being Black in America is the same just...even less help ha ha!

  • One of my professors has assigned 6-8 page papers to be due at the end of every month...are yall niggas serious right now? 

  • Yall got stimmys huh? A bitch aint got nothing!


Let's Eat

The THINGS THAT HAVE CHANGED

Despite some things never changing - so much has begun to morph. 


I OWN A HOUSE for one. Despite conversations filled with microaggressions at every step - my name is on the mufucking deed. The journey to my lifetime goals of creating a slew of housing projects for Black Queer Folk, building my own community/gay mini city, and (of course) opening my school is reachingn yet another chapter. Before now owning property was something I was never encouraged to do or empowered to do. News flash: people don’t want a young Black girl to own a house, agency over their body, or anything else. On a lighter tip, interpersonal relationships seem to have gotten a little deeper during the Rone. I am no stranger to sustaining long distance relationships whether that’s casual or romantic - I’ve lived in 5 different states and have gone to maybe 8 different schools from Elementary to Middle. Most of my friends and family are not in my state. But for some reason the usual elongated FaceTime calls seemed more important. I’m usually present on calls but now - I want to get interactive! Bitch let’s play a Zoom game. Let’s have a happy hour chile. I’ve attended Lemonade watch parties,hosted a listening session of Ungodly Hour, and even participated in a workshop or ten. The digital has always been ahead of the curb in terms of relaying information, teaching, community building, and offering fun social things to do distantly!


Speaking of distance, I have discovered an entirely new list of boundaries: 

  • I won’t be forced into or made to turn my camera on Zoom - fuck you. 

  • If you gaslight me for choosing myself over whatever dumb as fuck quarantine party/plan/gathering you are planning - you’re BLOCKED 

  • I refuse to talk about health or wellbeing with anyone who isn't a rootworker, healer, doctor, therapist, or counselor. 

  • If you aren’t paying me for my labor I won't do work with you. And I will actively work to make sure we never do work again. 

  • Being remote has shown me that everything I been saying you niggas could’ve been doing. So if I ask you to do something and you can’t accommodate it - I won’t be along for the bullshit!


Being here is hard. There are no breaks to this. The world continues to roll on and try to erase my Blackness, my pansexualness, my creativeness, my unbothernedness, my angry shit, my mad shit, my community and what we stand for. But y’all ain’t got SHIT on MY community. Black femmes, my nonbinary babes, the sapphics, the gay men, that sistahs, my people.  My community is showing up for one another and for those who we love - out loud. I have attended marches in Pittsburgh and Washington D.C.and virtually attending protests and discussions for #FreeGrace, #JusticeforBreonna, uprisings in parts of Latin America and China - and countless others. I feel more connected to the world than ever before. I’ve been able to get a Black girl a laptop in Louisiana using my resources in Pittsburgh. Or find funding for an international student in Texas through my connections in California. I feel more interconnected than ever before - the only time I truly felt like the world really is in the palm of my hands.


Yeah y’all ain’t in the same pandemic as me. The ultimate multitasker so you already know - despite it all imma get it done.


Doing Too Much

All Photo Credits to @_riverwater on Instagram

https://river-bennett.format.com



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