We have all heard the news. The Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade and dissolved abortion rights across much of this country. This decision was foretold by an infamous leak about a month ago, but that doesn’t make it any less shocking. Abortion rights have seemed secure to many of us for almost 50 years, so even though some had predicted this outcome, it is natural that it still overwhelms us. We easily become accustomed to how things are, and Roe v. Wade was decided before many of us were born. It is comfortable for us to think that the rights that we have are the ones that we will always have. But this belief, though understandable, easily leads to stasis and stagnation.
It is also deeply untrue. We are alive, and so the systems that we compose are living systems. Our families, our communities, and even our nation are all living entities, not set in stone. Rights and responsibilities change and evolve. They can grow or they can recede. They can advance or retreat. This is one of those moments of receding and retreating. We must acknowledge that conversative activists worked for decades to achieve this result. And though we may deplore the result, their methods, and their motivations, we must acknowledge their tenacity and their understanding that a system can always be shaped by those who form it.
The guide and activist adrienne maree brown teaches us about “how humans… can learn from the world around us how best to collaborate, how to shape change.” She makes it clear – the world around us is always changing. We are part of that world. We must live within the change of the world, and we can also shape change through our own actions and intentions.
This is our tragedy and our promise: we are part of living systems. Those systems mean growth and retraction; life, death, and rebirth. We can fight against it. We can try to gain what we want and hold on. But we will never be successful. Instead, we must live within a process of organic change.
In this moment, how do we connect with those who have been doing the work of shaping change towards liberation for all of us? How do we grieve what has been lost and join together to shape what we will gain? Please take the time you need to rest, to mourn, to recuperate. And then let’s rise up and shape a massive wave of change together.
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