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Today, some people’s fears are more urgent

Fam, this is written with lots of love for you.

I’m seeing a lot of people sharing their fears right now. Pointing to Trump/Pence/everyone down ballot’s vitriol against people who are survivors, undocumented, Muslim, POC, queer, trans, women, and other shades of human. It’s hard to imagine anything else you could say.

But if you’re posting about fear right now: could you please first take a minute to ask yourself whether any place you call home has had to call the cops* to temporarily guard entryways today? (e.g. Can you go to your office/school without fear of bombs/arson?) Can you please first ask yourself whether the fear you are feeling today requires a safety plan? 

(By safety plan, I don’t mean a Hamilton and cute kittens self-care night. By safety plan, I mean a conversation with your kids/your spouse/on your own today about whether they/you will go in public this week, whether you can go to school this week without bodily injury, whether you can go to your office without bodily injury, whether you can stand on a subway platform without bodily injury. I mean do you need a safety plan to figure out what changes to your daily routine you’ll need to make today to not get killed).

If your answer to either of these questions is no (hint: probably because you are white), sit tight on your fear for a minute (or a month or more). And tell me, instead, how you’ll show up for the people who answered “yes.” For the people whose fears are, without doubt, more urgent and involve getting harassed, assaulted, detained, deported, or killed yesterday or in the upcoming weeks.

Show me that you’re listening to and focusing on these people.

Show me what work you are doing for them today and tomorrow.

Show me that you’ll put your body (however vulnerable it already is) between the state/its klanswomen and the people it will come after first. Rest assured, there are always people the state/mobs come after first—and it probably isn’t most of you.

*Cops kill people. We live in a country where people have to choose between them and vigilante violence.

Header image via “Eliminate the Hate” at the University of Virginia

Mahroh Jahangiri is the Executive Director of Know Your IX, a national survivor- and youth-led organization working to end gender violence in schools. She was formerly a junior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and her previous research has focused on the ways in which American militarization, racism, and sexual violence impact non-white communities transnationally. A graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, she lives and organizes in DC. You can say hi to her at @mahrohj.

Mahroh Jahangiri is Executive Director of Know Your IX, a national survivor- and youth-led organization working to end gender violence in schools.

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