a soft space for folx at the intersections + other work by kristen trudo
america will be: designing our liberation, an altar for our dreams
o, yes, i say it plain, america never was america to me, and yet i swear this oath— america will be!
--- from let america be america again, langston hughes
kristen trudo (they/them)
in my dream of liberation, i think of you. i think of us. the possibilities of who we will be.
in my dream of liberation, somehow you aren’t dead anymore. and the universe will gift us with more time.
in my dream of liberation, maybe we are sitting together on the couch, sharing an intimacy we never had - your gentle laughter and my own making music in my parents’ home. maybe you’re holding me as i move through my heartbreak - and i remember my worth. maybe you’re shuffling through a pile of tattered, fading, photographs - telling me all about the loves of your life. and when i hold them, i recognize the gift of cradling your world in my hands.
in my dream of liberation, i never internalized racism. white supremacy never seeped its way into my body. i never hated myself for being black. and i never thought you were less than for the same fact.
in my dream of liberation, i don’t carry this guilt anymore. because i recognized our worth and i told the whole fucking world about it.
in my dream of liberation, this shit isn’t just aspirational. black lives really do matter. and i really am worthy of being called your wildest dream.
in my dream of liberation, i think i believe in god or the universe or something good. or true. because america is no longer trying to kill me. and i am no longer suffocating.
in my dream of liberation, america will be free. and her freedom means my own. and my freedom means that i will see you and know you and return to you. and you to me, somehow.
jae shepherd (they/them)
in my dream of liberation, america will be free. free from cops, jails, and all institutions that keep black folxs in chains. free from capitalism. free from trauma & it’s everlasting effects on mental & physical health. free from the violence of toxic masculinity, white supremacy, queer & transphobia. free from the constraints of the gender binary. in my dream liberated america i will be free to walk down the streets without a shirt or binder just these trans titties outcha chillin without my blessed body being violently gendered and sexualized. in my dream of liberation, america will be uncolonized. a safe and affirming home for black folxs not just to exist but to prosper, be soft, happy, healed, and whole. in my dream of liberation, america will be rooted in the deep transformative magic of black love.
nick speed (he/him)
in my dream of liberation, america will be... rehabilitated.
in order to achieve a magnificent metamorphosis, this country must confront a savage, violent past and dismantle the myth that is the american dream. the “home of the brave” must never forget that we are also the home of racism, terrorism, homophobia, transphobia, and rape culture. this process will be extremely painful, but it is our only option if we are to survive. we can’t afford to keep putting band-aids on our gunshot wounds.
our liberation will require grueling labor and collaboration from all of humanity. no “race” is immune from this responsibility. white people must first acknowledge their sins. all those generations of pain, violence, and murder cannot be buried forever, and must be addressed. one of the most important questions white people must ask themselves is “why was the nigger invented in the first place?” (see also; negro, coon, and thug) our nation’s freedom hinges on their ability to provide an answer. people of color have been for centuries, and still are, systematically, physically, and emotionally jostled to the underpinning of society. these terrible atrocities have taken their toll, rapidly eroding what is left of the moral fibers in america.
as you can imagine, this has caused a tremendous amount of pain, rage, and hate among black and brown people. these emotions are inevitable and valid, but cannot consume the body and culture. people of color must not only dismantle the white supremacy within themselves, but see white people for who they truly are... not as devils, but as our siblings, very confused and problematic siblings, but family nonetheless.
the citizens of this country must carry these responsibilities with them, each and every day. it will require tremendous amounts of love, humility, and empathy. it is our duty to evolve as human beings, to create a better society and planet for future generations.
these words were inspired by women of color and james baldwin. i wholeheartedly believe that all black and brown women are superheroes. women of color have been at the forefront of every significant movement in this country, despite being strangled by the grips of patriarchy and racism. they have also been at the forefront of my own life. when i take the time to reflect on my journey and the people who have influenced it, i can't help but think of my partner, mother, stepmother, aunts, grandmothers, adopted family, and friends... who just so happen to be black women. beyond a shadow of a doubt i wouldn't be alive today without their love. over the past month, i have gotten the privilege of reading "nobody knows my name" & "the fire next time" by james baldwin. discovering these treasures has been a spectacular intellectual and spiritual experience for me! baldwin was able to beautifully articulate my struggles as a black man, born in a country that is terrified of my existence, and the work that is necessary to achieve true liberation in america. i am eternally grateful for these human beings. while being captivated by their precious light, i was able to recognize my own.