My sisters and brothers across this aching gorgeous earth,
I write you with the fullest heart– at once exploding and melting. The images of millions of faces and bodies dancing, reaching, bending, ignited with an energy that is sacred and militant, profound and playful, radical and resistant. In you, I see the desire and willingness of a billion souls. I see the radiance of bodies breaking out of the chains of patriarchy, out of the torturous violence of racism and caste and class, out of rapes and beatings, out of slums, out of exclusion, out of intimidation and silencing, out of bondage and devastating loneliness and isolation, out of economic despair.
I see the exhausted bodies of refugees suddenly enlivened as they spin with welcoming sisters in the streets of Europe. I see the Roma women proud and visible leading the dance in Croatia. I see the girls in the learning center of Kabul moving their bodies to the sounds of reclamation, taking their city and beings back from imperialist invaders and senseless wars. I see the women in Tacloban, survivors of storms made from greed and plundering, rising for climate justice. I see the worried bodies of the indigenous Lumads rising in tribal militancy in the square in Davao City. I see how their dance is the dance of our beginnings and as they dance, refusing to be moved from their ancestral lands, we are all lead back to ourselves and to protecting the earth.
I see the dance that will never let us forget that “Black Lives Matter” and how when we Say Her Name with our voices and memories it becomes impossible for the police to murder and disappear Black women. I see the bodies of women in wheelchairs who will not be stopped by prejudice or indifference. I see the insistent brave gender fluid dance of gay, bi, queer, and transgendered women and men and persons. I see hundreds of cities in Italy, Indonesia, India, Mexico, Germany, and the Philippines rising, one after the other, burning fires across countries and culture. I see the unstoppable dance of youth refusing to inherit a world of hatred and cruelty, their dance that knows education is a right and their strong bodies settling for nothing less. I see radical Artistic Risings in Delhi, Dhaka, Oakland, Atlanta, Santa Fe, San Francisco, London, and Guatemala City of singers, drummers, poets, actors, dancers, hip-hop artists breaking open new visions and terrains. I see the madly generous organizers and dance captains teaching and leading on stages, in parks, in rehearsal halls, in Zumba and Yoga studios, bringing the music to the homes of the elderly igniting the feet and passions of 100 year old women whose chairs suddenly take flight. I see workers mourning family members burned in unprotected factories and buried in collapsed unsafe buildings, workers marching and dancing, fists in the air, pounding the metal gates of the factories, dancing the dance of justice and safety and dignity; and I see the girls, the little girls in the slums of Tondo saying we are more, we will have more than garbage and the dirty coal you dump in our backyards and lungs. I see the women and girls in Gambia and across Africa refusing to be cut, inspiring Presidential decrees and new laws. I feel the cosmic energy of 5000 girls and radical nuns screaming with delight as their blue and white uniforms rise like wings of magnificent birds carrying them to heights of sisterhood.
I see men everywhere, thousands of men, allowing themselves to dance the dance of true men, a vulnerable, selfless dance, a dance without shame. I see bright red balloons and umbrellas and flowers and flags and arm bands carried on the wind of our future. I see women bundled in the snowy streets of Austria, Colorado and women dripping with holy sweat in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. I see children, one finger raised in grade schools, on dusty African roads, in the mountains of Himachal Pradesh, in grammar schools in Italy, in dance schools in Australia. I see hundreds rising in the fertile green lands of Congo to end the violence against women, the earth and the war for pillaging of their resources. I see women risking their lives to teach and educate in Somalia, in Iran, in small villages and as they dance they weave a path of safety for those who follow. I see the daily dance of a group of feisty, funny, brilliant, creative global coordinators and local organizers who have given every ounce of their blood and beings to encourage, join, mentor and empower.
I see dancing, how the terror that lives in the body of a billion, the sorrow, the contraction, suddenly turns brave, turns joy, turns open, turns powerful in the alchemy of community.
I see us, a billion of us losing our fear, trusting our goodness, listening to each other and our mother whose heart directs our steps as we dance on her gracious body, trusting our bodies that have always known there is another way, a way without domination or deprivation.
I feel an explosion, not of bombs or grenades or capitalist devastation, but an explosion of light, sexual, mystical, physical light, of trust, of love, of celebration, of revolution. Dancing our dance with full hearts and learning each other’s steps and ways and sufferings and strengths with full intention. Our bodies, opening the gates inside and out. We are moving now. We are rising. Moving, moving rising, rising until we finally bust through.