To the Cesar Chavez Committee of Fort Worth:
I am excited to hear that there is a possibility of creating a bridge between the Black and Brown community, and believe that we are connected in numerous ways. Unfortunately, both of our communities have become the object of systemic oppression: indeed, our communities are less likely to be employed, matriculate to the university, are more likely to be incarcerated and have lower life-expectancies than that of of our white brothers and sisters.
That said, I believe the first step is: Address redistricting. The voting lines do not represent the actual communities; and more often than not, communities of colors’ agency is usually diluted by white, rich neighborhoods because redistricting includes them — and effectively creates a system that caters only to the rich and white.
It has often been expressed (by my colleagues who work in the City), that our people are tired; we feel the weight of history’s oppression and question whether or not this year will be *the* year to advance. I believe this fatigue can be rooted in redistricting, because many will say “but I vote and nothing happens”; the problem is that their/our vote is being cast with a racial and class dynamic (white and rich) that is not our own; so that when we do vote, it only serves the white and rich. The first step in creating social change MUST reflect in the political realities by which these polities are performed.
I also argue that — in addition to these *political* changes — we must have *social* changes, which usually take the form of artistic movements, community events, whether in-person or electronic. So, my question is: how can we create this community, this space, for the historically marginalized Black and Brown communities to engage?
A quick anecdote: I reached out to a colleague of mine who works as a City Councilmember for Fort Worth, and somebody else who works in Human Relations. I proposed to them the same question — how to engage and build the bridge between our communities — and I was met with resistance. I was told this coalition would not happen. However, I was granted an arts program that would intersect these racial histories, as a means to create deep, transformative, and genuine bonds between our communities. I had to decline, however, after having heard from NYC (I do, however, plan to return and continue this work in Fort Worth; so, if it can begin now, that would be tremendous).
I think this e-mail is also a step toward building our solidarity. Perhaps we can even create an e-mail to our Councilmembers, asking them to create a space for cultural exchanges. Fort Worth has always been diverse, and with the emerging globalization, the need for community rises.
Police brutality is but one evil we must counter, and evil has a thousand faces; likewise, our light, gifts, cultures, and spirits must act as guardians against the general societal brutality aimed toward our brothers and sisters.
So: let’s remap Fort Worth’s voting lines, so that they reflect the actual community and our peoples’ votes will directly create the change they seek; ask the City Council for a space for community engagement, or even for a representation of people of color that is mathematically proportional to Fort Worth’s real population; let us brainstorm ways to engage the community (this might be difficult, because even our own respective communities have mountains to climb — and so we must build bridges within and between our respective communities); and pick, as a group, I would say, pick at least 3 areas which intersect with our communities and make them this group’s personal goal. This group is filled with tremendous talent and willpower; I’m sure if we found common goals, we would meet them.
As this is the Cesar Chavez Committee, I think it would be a great way to have something — a space, a speech, something symbolic, deep, and genuine — to express that the Brown community wants and needs the Black community for our advancement, and vice-versa. Our freedoms our inseparable.
Coming from a younger generation, where all of my friends were Black, Brown, or Asian, I believe that demographic between 18-25 will help create the momentum toward’s realizing the solidarity both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Chavez dreamed.
Looking forward to working with y’all.