I dropped off your map once the Charlotte Uprising began. I stayed up all night in Minneapolis watching it live on Facebook. Once I got to Chicago, it stole my attention completely. I came in to stay with people I knew through the movement, as I had elsewhere, and on arrival they told me that someone was shot in the head by police while protesting peacefully. I had just been in North Carolina not too long before, meeting with some of the youth who were now on the streets and highways of Charlotte.
All summer, I had been standing on top of a volcano. I will be honest with you and say I never saw Trump winning the election. I can’t say I saw Hillary Clinton winning either, but I can’t say I foresaw what happened a week ago today. I let it sit with me for a week before I decided to write to you.
After the Charlotte Uprising, I continued my work interviewing people in the field. I interviewed them in Detroit, Canada, Lexington and DC. But my writing hours were dedicated to other obligations. I was struck by the crest building beneath my feet. By the time I reached New York, I knew this was going to explode somehow, but had no idea how things would kick off.
Turns out, the prospect of a racist thug becoming President of the United States may be too much for people to bear. When I think back across the people I met during NO PLATFORM, I am most focused on the underlying theme of righteous anger building among the working class and most oppressed. Even the white woman who worked as a waitress in West Virginia had a sense of what was coming. If the powers that be think they can somehow talk down history, they are wrong. The people who were protesting against people of color being gunned down in the street, against mass deportations, those who were fed up with being poisoned, those who wanted their land back… they are not going to back down from a Trump presidency. They will grow in size and in strength.
Already, massive numbers of people are prepared to take action. The streets are full of protesters. High school students are staging walk-outs. The people are planning. We are going to Washington on January 20th.
I hope you’ll understand that the rest of the dispatches and your photographs are coming, but I hope you will forgive me if they come at a delay.
When I traveled across this country, I marveled at its natural beauty between cities. Far out there, on country roads or desolate highways, the mountains are beautifully colored and the flora can be serene. The clouds coming up off the Great Lakes are gorgeous. The skies above Standing Rock are breathtaking. The sunsets in San Antonio and Santa Fe are breathtaking. There is so much beauty, and yet there were also the private immigration detention centers and oil rigs, the nuclear waste and army bases.
In Baltimore, the last stop before I returned to New York, it was fleet week. Six F/A-18 fighter jets danced over methadone clinics and children washing car windows at intersections. Each time they tore a great sound through the sky, it dredged up more and more rage. Each plane cost $60 million dollars.
Thanks again for your support. If you want to get involved, please let me know how I can help.
Be well, and please take care of each other,