365 Days After Ferguson: Vision More Than Ever

Written by Aisha Shillingford

August 8, 2015

One year after Michael Brown’s murder and the uprising in Ferguson, we need vision more than ever.

As a Black woman, I know that we must aggressively imagine what it looks like when we are free, that there must be a prize to set our eyes on, a promised land…a mountain top.

Even as we resist the #worldasitis we must envision the #worldasitshouldbe.

Our movement must become sophisticated enough to put up a fierce resistance in the streets while at the same imagining a new economic paradigm that is based on racial equity and the empowerment of communities that have been disenfranchised for centuries. We must work to shift policy that chips away at the current system until it topples, while dreaming up a new system to take its place.

We need resistance and alternatives.

We need to practice and prototype alternatives in pockets of safety created by the breathing room that small wins affords us.

We must structure our movement so that direct action is holding the line while others are shifting narrative, others are prototyping prefigurative alternatives, others are shifting policy, others are providing the sweet relief of good, healthy food, dance, love, pleasure, massages, hugs, and smiles.

Our movement needs all of us and we need to come in to it with an ever expansive love that sees the value in all our approaches.

More than ever we need to work on our personal spiritual development, ground ourselves in unshakable certainty and truth, develop our own discipline and sense of focus, know how and when to soften and harden our hearts: soldiers by day, monks by night.

More than ever we need to create perspective based on our movement’s past, our current context and our future.

More than ever we need to read, learn, teach.

More than ever we need to truly learn to love and support each other. Far beyond the rhetoric we need to know what love and support really, really means. What does it mean to love each other only because we are in this together and our liberation is tied up in each others?

More than ever we need to know what changes in society after we win.

More than ever we must value simple, beautiful things that make life worth living. We must take it easy on each other, and practice radical forgiveness.

We must re-imagine the value of labor and the role of the human in the economy, particularly the human of color.

We must re-articulate our purpose and put humanity at the center.

We must think what is beyond mattering and beyond survival.

We must believe in what happens when #BlackLivesAreFree.




On Sunday, August 9 at 11:55 AM CST, the exact time of the death of Michael Brown Jr, the Brown family has asked for a national moment of silence.  Throughout the day, commit collective acts of remembrance, mourning, healing, and resilience in response to the violence and harm inflicted on Black women, men, and children.

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