Wandering into the March for Our Lives today felt wrong in all the ways it should feel wrong. It was also an accident and I stayed on the sidewalk, but I don’t think that makes anything better. It’s just true.
In between classes one and two, I stopped to get coffee because I slept three hours and, well, it was morning, and in my stumbly brain I wondered why everyone around me was holding sticks. Some of the signs had been repurposed from the Women’s March, and there were exactly zero people chanting anything, so it took me until I was inside the coffee shop to put it all together.
It’s not like I didn’t remember this was happening, or didn’t want to be a part of it - I certainly did, and did! This was a strange Santa Monica offshoot of the main March though, so nobody working in the neighborhood knew about it, and there were a whole lot of White people. So many White people.
I watched videos of the speeches in Washington on my way home from class number three, sobbing on the bus like a loon. The single most encouraging thing about the momentum of Parkland is how intersectionality has been swept up into it, like a stream filtered into this wave and now it can mean something.
Now it can knock you over with the depth of what has been happening all along.
All along, and all still, and if you haven’t watched Naomi Wadler’s speech yet, do it now. It’s HERE for you.
For all of my adult life except for my two TFA years, I have worked weekends. I have worked almost every Saturday for the past 13 years. I missed the Women’s March last year, and again this year, for all the same reasons - I had to work - and every time it gets me thinking about how I can make a difference when I keep missing these pivotal, historic events.
Because there is not just power in numbers, but power in the voices we hear.
About halfway through someone’s class I start to pay attention to the music. For the first twenty or so minutes, I let myself absorb, find some kind of rhythm. At about halfway, I dissect.
How many female voices have there been? How many male?
How many White voices have there been, and in what capacity?
Have there been any voices from any other cultures or languages and if so, how were they used?
I do this because I do it for my own playlists too. The sound we take in is the auditory diet we feed ourselves, and if it’s getting a steady stream of racist narratives, it throws a serious dam into any sort of change with which we have started to flow.
Think of the greater implications of if the only time you hear a voice of color is in a Hip-Hop song for a fast-paced or difficult sequence, and the times you hear a White voice is the end of class, toward Savasana. One might start to associate Black voices with aggression and White with ease and passivity. We can change that horribly offensive story by intentionally placing the voices diversely, mixed all up in a playlist, giving power where it's due, and where we don’t always hear it.
And subsequently, we can stop playing so much goddamn Bon Iver before I lose my shit.