Culture is not an aesthetic, it isn't a theme or a vibe, it's not a costume or a trend. Culture is about heritage, pride, survival, resiliency, life-affirming connections -- and it's hugely significant. It's rich, vibrant, and nurtures vital lifeways. Culture is simultaneously the preservation and celebration of the past, the present and the future. It's not, and never should be, something that's picked apart, stripped of all its meaning, homogenized and sanitized to be used by those it does not represent.
Be aware of those who say “now is not the time”. Notice who decries “this is not the way”. Remember who wants you to change how you speak of injustice so that it’s more palatable for them to hear. Recognize who discredits your fears because they are not their own. Understand that all of this is just another way to demand your silence.
Words can be powerful. They can uplift, inspire, make us laugh, get us thinking, reveal perspectives unseen, fortify, find common ground — and so much more. Choosing how we speak to ourselves or others, coupled with action that comes from those words, arguably, is one of the most impactful things we can do.
If you live on colonized land, such as the United States, how much do you know about the Indigenous People who are its original custodians? Do you know which tribes and nations resided in your specific area before forced removal? Do you know where they are now? I would take a guess that maybe a lot of you don’t, and that’s something we should all work on to rectify.