Here is what I want to share with you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxdLdRmUqqI
It is AIDS activist Michael Callen and the Flirtations singing a lullaby they wrote imagining the lullaby they wished had been sung to them. It is a beautiful call for acceptance, self-determination and love.
I recently read this excellent article by Pippi Kessler.
She reviews the impactful and momentous film, How To Survive a Plague, which documents AIDS activism in the United States in the 1980’s and early 1990’s and shares lessons from that movement Act Up for our current times.
Pippi reminded me that “Activism is about death, even when it’s not explicitly framed that way.” It is also about life.
I was raised by two lesbian mothers and grew up in a radical activist community in San Francisco during this era. This song, the protest, the pain, the beauty: this was my childhood. All around me, members of our community were dying. They were being denied life-saving care because of sexual discrimination and, somehow, in the middle of all of it, this was the song my parents sang to me.
Artists and activists like my moms, like these men, they suffered unthinkable losses. They were forced to face immense tragedy and, somehow, they found hope. They found a strength and goodness in life that inspired them to continue. They sang out prayers like these for a future that supported life in all its expressions.
I found myself singing this lullaby today, caught by surprise as it wove through my mind while pouring a glass of water. And it brought forward a warmth inside me. There are many, many issues calling to us now and they are all matters of life and death. There is a world full of pain, anger and fear clamoring against itself, tragically destroying itself. And in all of this, somewhere, there is beauty, depth, kindness, hope. A way to be with it and a way to move forward.
The movement is every breath. It is every celebration of life and every grieving of death. We are capable of impossible things. We are capable of creating a world where people are free to be themselves. We are capable of love this big.
This community inspires me in a million different ways. I know we are all working on our own unique contribution to this teeming swarm of life and death. In all the ways you are expressing, I bow to you, I celebrate you ❤