In 2010, Marissa Alexander, a mother of three from Jacksonville, FL, was violently attacked by her abusive, estranged husband. Just nine days after giving birth, Marissa’s husband strangled her, and tried to prevent her from escaping her home. Marissa was able to make it to the garage where her car was parked but could not open the garage door. Trapped, she retrieved her permitted gun from the car and re-entered her home where her husband lunged at her, yelling, “Bitch, I will kill you.” At that moment, Marissa fired a single warning shot upwards into the wall, causing no injuries, but saving her life.
How people committed to peace and justice can resist alt-right rallies with resilience.
Resilience – To shift from reactivity to a state of resourcefulness in moments of stress and crisis. (Rockwood Leadership Institute)
They are securing permits, making plans, and preparing to publicly defend the indefensible. Yes, the Nazis are coming to town. The white supremacists have removed their hoods and are coming to a neighborhood near you. Those who promote the policies of white resentment and propagate the myth of white victimhood to spread fear and justify oppression are (once again) emboldened to express their beliefs publicly. Many of us can’t sit back and watch this unfold without feeling an intense call to act. As we face this horrifying reality, what should we do?
The Confederate memorials throughout the South have been a regular eyesore for Black people for too long. Before Dylann Roof’s massacre in Charleston, I had always thought their removal was extremely unlikely. Now that some locations in the South are finally ridding themselves of these symbols of white supremacy, the pushback against their removal raises questions about what they really represent. This conflict is about more than how we remember history and it’s about more than the preservation of Confederate memorials. It seems that for defenders of these memorials, taking down the statues is a concession of sorts that whiteness is no longer valued above all else. Ultimately, the attempt to preserve these memorials is about preserving ideological whiteness and white supremacy.
The stirring directive sounded like the denouement of a legal thriller: “I am going to ask you, if you will, for the next few minutes to think Black with me—to BE black,” famed defense attorney Leo Branton instructed an all-white California jury at the outset of his closing statement. “Don’t worry. When the case is over, I am going to let you revert back to the safety of being what you are. You only have to be Black and think Black for the minutes that it will take for me to express to you what it means to be Black in this country.”
Having temporarily empaneled an all-Black jury, Branton then delivered a stirring indictment of antiblack racism, from the Middle Passage to the Fugitive Slave Law, Dred Scott decision, and Jim Crow. Hours into his speech, Branton “relieve[d]” the jury “of that responsibility” of Blackness. Then he read a poem celebrating Black love as a redemptive act. By the time he closed, several jurors had tears in their eyes. Three days later, on June, 4, 1972, Branton’s client was acquitted on all counts: Angela Yvonne Davis was free.