MANIFESTO

We who have lost our names, our homes, our forefathers. We who have traded stories for silence, who have had our freedom stolen then offered back with conditions as a bargain, as all we can afford. We builders of empires, givers of genres, spilling music over lands as fast as blood, sweat, tears.

We stand here now, reclaiming every ounce of history we can - our spaces that are stripped at every opportunity, our ancestral kin, held back by oceans, our monuments reduced to rubble. As long as our hearts beat, and space still exists, we raise our voices decibel by decibel, we carve new paths with each step, we form bonds hand by hand, our individual chants become collective.

History has been used as a weapon against us. Present: a promise, and future: a threat. We hereby revoke the vows of silence, begun by separations and violations, carried over one generation at a time until we disenfranchise ourselves from our own brothers and sisters, daughters and sons, mothers and fathers. Strength has always been ours.

We reclaim the strength to talk about our people, our times, our spaces. We reclaim the vision of ourselves as a massive structure, dismantled and scattered, but still as powerful as its whole. We set down kindness and pick up autonomy.

We commit to tell our stories, loud. To turning secrets into shared keys that unlock generations of understanding. We respect each other as ones with minds that can birth empires, and acknowledge that we wreck those potential empires when we deceive each other.

Let us be mirrors, shining beacons of truth, solidarity, possibility, a sharing of the old that allows the shaping of the new.

I hereby recognize within you the power that has always been yours. I hereby refute within you that your legacy began with travesty. I acknowledge that you are part of a nation, as wide as it is varied in shade, as sweet as a soul song crooned by your lover, as strong as a young girl staring down military tanks. We are the painters, the writers, the dancers, the actors, the guardians of the old, the crafters of the new. Please, reach out across time and space, connect. Connect, ask questions, say something true, make another square on this quilt of openness, togetherness, uprising.