The storming of the US Capitol building January 6, 2021, is the latest manifestation of the failures of our political and economic systems. And yet, I think it was more than that for most white people.
I spend a lot of effort agitating for change. When I’d become frustrated at the lack of success, I would be told change will come when large numbers of people experience what I am concerned about.
Watching the riot at the US Capitol, many white people are now seeing how fragile our political and economic systems are. Yesterday I was afraid. I’ve seen a lot of this coming, and have ideas for change. There is a gap between the present, and that vision for the future. But this past year I was blessed with many opportunities to learn and change. I continue to work with Des Moines Mutual Aid. These experiences have changed me. We are learning to be the “kind of people who could live in such a world together”.
To get these experiences, we have to be physically present with our accomplices. This is difficult for people who are just learning about Mutual Aid to understand. Far too often people have felt working on committees for a cause was good enough. It is not.
By participating in groups in new ways and practicing new ways of being together, we are both building the world we want and becoming the kind of people who could live in such a world together.“Mutual Aid is essential to our survival” by Dean Spade, Truthout, October 28, 2020
Times like these are opportunities for bold actions for change. But if we want to make progress toward our goals, we must be alert for opportunities, and willing to take the risks that will be required.
And one of the great liabilities of life is that all too many people find themselves living amid a great period of social change, and yet they fail to develop the new attitudes, the new mental responses, that the new situation demands. They end up sleeping through a revolution.Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution, Martin Luther King, Jr
We don’t think enough about preparing ourselves for change. If we are going to be agents of change, we must make our own way through those changes. We can only begin to learn about transformative change by experiencing those changes ourselves. Then we will be able to model how others can travel through those changes themselves.
“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.”― Neil Gaiman