I told myself I would write my stories about working on Powershift, the 3rd National Youth Climate Conference happening in Washington, DC April 15-18. To share with my friends and family and the generations to come the work we are doing to co-exist beyond our fragmented realities and dis-membered movements caused by US militarization; to bridge north with south, to bring young people across the racial, social and economic spectrum together to understand Pachamama. She is speaking. To work toward honoring our world of many worlds.
I am in a room with people who are of european descent. The grandchildren of colonial “power”. I am the indian they want to be more like them. They want to cut my hair short and speak their language, only. “Please use English only, I don’t understand what ‘Monsanto’ means.” I share a space with them that extends across history and future. We shut the heavy, wooden doors inside the yellow mansion. I’m sure the original owner of the mansion had enslaved folk. We are after all down the street from capitol hill. The voices that fill the room are full of excitement and curiosity. Full of ignorance and frustration. Full of compassion and resilience. Full of protection and ambiguity. Full of transient spirits. Opening and closing. Lucid moments of recognition and dark moments of fear. Living inside each person. Indigenous. Black. Asian. European. Rich. Poor. Sleeping beasts ignored.
I brought in the medicine. And prayers. An affirmation for the bodies in the room to look at one another in the eyes. The portals to their souls. Their stories. Their fears. Their love. And to see themselves on the other side of that border. Social borders. Land borders. Identity borders. Genocidal borders. Bodily borders. Borders that violently separate our bodies and memory from the land. The smoke from the medicine to recognize our limitations. That have been programmed in us. The smoke to re-member our bodies and spirit, to re-establish our bodies as the conduits of something greater than the sum of our violent histories.
A prayer for european descendants to claim the violence of their predecessors and commit to make different choices. A prayer for my friends in the room crying because of the memory of exploitation and forced displacement. Of inhumanness. Of criminalization. A prayer for them to recover the memory of their ancestors traditions and resilience.
I, Joaquín Quetzalcoatl Sánchez, reinstate my interdependence with Pachamama. And I declare that all my brothers and sisters who have been displaced from Her have already dug their hands and heads into the ground and see the life force that is theirs. Hers is the infinite supply of life for me to use. For all of us to use. And bask in. and I give thanks. For the fullness I feel in my belly and in my heart as I write here, and reflect on the movements and moments in scarcity. I recognize our social crisis, like the environmental crisis we are in, is our moment, an opportunity suspended in space and time, for us to come together and restore our interdependence and relationship to the web of life. In the name of Egypt. In the name of Wisconsin. In the name of Climate. In the name of frontlines and fencelines. En nombre de Arizona. In the name of Indigeneity. En nombre del amor.
Powershift is 32 days away. What tools will we draw on to not only shift power but transform power? This could read 32 days to the revolution.