Guest Post – What’s Up?

We have a great guest post from sj Miller today, discussing how we can work together to collectively challenge instances of injustice in light of Trump’s presidency.

sj Miller, a transdisciplinary award winning teacher/writer/activist/scholar, is Deputy Director of Educational Equity Supports and Services at NYU’s Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools and AERA’s Queer SIG Co-Chair. For more information please see sj’s website:

What’s Up?

“And so I wake in the morning

And I step outside

And I take a deep breath and I get real high

And I scream from the top of my lungs

What’s going on?”

-4 Non Blondes

“What’s Up?” In 1992, The 4 Non Blondes sang these lyrics “what’s going on” which were once (and still) prophetic but now, timely. Drawing from this song, I am reminded that our country has always been at war just in different ways and about different topics. So, why is “now” any different than then? As we say at Passover—slight turn of phrase- “Why is this election different than any other?” Well, here’s why.

Many people including myself, are struggling with sleep, reacting more hastily and with agitation than ordinarily. My anxiety is at an all-time high, my mind is racing 129 miles an hour. My head is spinning around like the head spinning doll in The Exorcist. I have become possessed by the government and my gaze is completely hijacked by the demagogue in DC. Lest I turn off the news, I fear that something else is going to happen and I want to, er, need to know, as much as I can— or, that is actually being shared with us—so I/we can take immediate action. The problem is, where to start? The Trump Plan is to uber-overwhelm the general population into protest fatigue, and wear ourselves so thin, that we will be divided, rather than united in our struggle for equity and equality. When a population is stunned into stratification, it ceases to dismantle the interlocking infrastructures that incarcerate and surveil. I find myself in a constant state of saying, “What now?” “Is this for real?” “Uhm, what’s going on?” but, my wish is to say, “YOU’RE FIRED!”

Taking up this litany of questions, we can find ourselves renewed by each other’s commitment to reclaim our country as we put foot to pavement, soil, dirt, trail, leaves, cobblestones, water, etc., and move ourselves into individual and collective actions. Looking at the massive protests spawned as a result of the feckless brush of a strangled pen, held by an impetuous man-child who lacks dexterity, our country and its allies around the world are not taking these executive orders lightly. We are finding common ground in spaces and on issues that many had not considered, or who had yet to stand up or in for. Now, people are coming out of the woodwork like termites, ready to use the natural materials and gifts of our earth to co-create universal sanctuaried-spaces and rebuild fissured and gutted infrastructures in the image they want it to be, need it to be. We are swarming like bees, and will make honey along the way. We will fight for our refugees, for our Muslim kin, LGBT folk, and any persecuted group now or in the not-so-distant future. We will leave the government to ask, “What’s going on?”

So, what do we do?

* Coalition Building-We can create coalitions and work together in our communities and unite with different constituents across our states and the country;

* Protest and Demonstrations-We can walk in the streets, gather in airports, speak out, speak up, be loud, be concise, be where we need to be, and stand in solidarity;

* Sing and Chant- We can remind ourselves and each other of the important quotes and turn of phrases that inspire us:

* Revisit the Visionaries- We can re-read (or read for the first time) works of the great thinkers, activists, spiritual guides, artists, etc., who can help to guide each of us down these roads that we are co-creating.

I leave you with these lyrics as you continue to build, protest, demonstrate, and sing:

“And I pray, oh my god do I pray

I pray every single day

For a revolution.”

In the struggle with you,


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