Happy V-Day and One Billion Rising Gardens to my beloved sisters, brothers, and non-binary friends across this hurting and precious planet.
I miss you.
I cherish you.
I admire you.
I rise with you.
There were so many things I had planned to talk with you about this February 14th. I was going to talk One Billion Rising Gardens and how awed I am to see thousands of grassroots actions for revival, restoration and transformation emerge across the planet, making the connection between violence against women and destruction of the Earth, amplifying the issues of women’s inequality and its impact on food insecurity, land ownership and the lack of access to healthcare, as well as the long term effects from extractive industries and the destruction of Mother Earth, and other basic rights, especially for frontline and marginalized communities. Gardening centralizes growing and giving, it’s not about taking or acquiring or occupying. Maintaining a garden is an act of resistance because it does the opposite of what the capitalist machinery does – it connects people and communities with the Earth. To grow one’s own food, to grow beauty and life – is revolutionary in this age of ecological, environmental, societal, spiritual collapse. To put our energies, our creativity, our hearts into everything that can grow and sustain all forms of life when this current world order is bent on destruction is a radical political act.
Then I thought I would talk about dancing and how it has lifted us in this campaign for almost nine years. How when we dance we take up space publicly, we move and we’re alive and we’re free and we’re sexual together out loud. We’re not being stopped or determined or contained or made to be polite or behaved or obedient or supplicant. Our bodies direct us. Dancing is the pathway to the divine.
But I decided what I really wanted to do today is talk about women, and when I say women from this point on, I mean all women – cisgender, transgender, and those with fluid identities. To want to honor women and love women here.
I want to begin by cherishing and loving indigenous sisters from the Philippines to the Amazon, Australia to the United States, and across the world who have been so deeply under siege from corporates and capitalists and oil companies that want to pillage and plunder on their stolen lands. In spite of everything these brave women continue to steward our Earth with such deep caring and compassion. I bow to you and I thank you for keeping every one of us alive.
I want to love the women healthcare workers, nurses and doctors and staff at hospitals and clinics and homes for the elderly who have been risking their lives every day during this terrible pandemic and finding ways to treat and heal and help the sick leave this world with dignity when families cannot be there.
I want to honor and cherish our women farmers in the fields who grow and cultivate our food and rarely get to own the land they plant and harvest or reap the benefits or the profits. We rise with you rising in India and Indonesia in the fields of California and all over this world.
I want to love and honor our women frontline workers who have been putting their bodies on the line in grocery stores and buses, vans and factories and restaurants to keep people fed and alive and supplied.
I want to love all the domestic workers and home health aides who are putting their lives on the line to take care of other people’s children and families when they so desperately want to be there with their own.
I want to honor our mothers – mothers who have children now sometimes all day long and full households of hungry sick needy families. Mothers, you make it happen.
I want to honor our teachers who have to reach through screens to touch and educate and lift our young people and are doing it with magic and patience despite the ongoing exhaustion.
And I want to cherish our grandmothers who are holding so much as they care and worry.
I want to honor our women artists who are yearning to act and sing, dance and worry about their future. We miss you. We need you back.
I want to honor the imaginative female writers and creators who are making art to get us through these times. Their stories are now ours, a timecode in this pandemic.
And I want to cherish our migrant sisters fleeing wars, and violence and climate crisis, seeking safe and welcoming borders. We rise for you, we stand with you, we are with you.
I want to honor our activists sisters who are always there, always speaking out, always standing up for the most marginalized, risking arrest and danger, exhaustion, sickness. And I want to love and honor all those women activists who have been arrested on false charges and put in prison.
I want to honor our sisters encaged in prisons all over this world. May we rise for the end of systems of incarceration and punishment and rise for the transition to systems of restoration, healing, transformation and care.
I want to honor our women journalists who have been attacked and silenced but still go on reporting the stories for those who need the truth and facts.
I want to love our trans women and gay women, non-binary people and disabled women who find joy and generosity in the midst of cruelty, denigration and being invisiblized. We see you, we love you.
I want to stand with Black women across this planet and scream to the sky and the stars, Black Lives Matter. Black Women’s Lives Matter.
I want to cherish every woman who has been oppressed, demeaned, left out by caste or class or color or religion or ethnic group.
I want to love and hold and help heal, honor every woman who has been beaten, raped, assaulted, harassed, sold, unvalued, incested, cut, ignored, shamed, gaslit, shot, murdered or made to feel less.
I want to love women of every age, particularly our young ones who are everywhere front and center and the heart and spirit and brains of every major movement in this planet that are moving us towards justice, equality, an end to imperialism, climate catastrophe, who not only do they write and protest, strategize and organize, but dance and dance and laugh and find joy in the midst of the impossible.
And I want to honor every man who rises with us, for us and our Mother Earth.
Let us all love our Mother Earth. Let’s put our hands deep into her dirt. Let’s love her and let’s love women.
Let’s be bold and create the world we want and make it so kind, so inclusive, so pleasurable, so equal, so just, so free, so inviting that the other world simply melts away in the face of so much beauty and light.
We can do that.
All my love.