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Reach for Freedom - Essay VI

The Black communities of Minnesota and across the country have once again been reminded of our own frailty. Yes, we are strong. Yes, we are resilient. However, our strength and resiliency do not negate our humanity.

In Render Free Essay Five we wrote, “Certainly, as Black and Brown women, we sense on some level, whether consciously or unconsciously, the fleeting flame of life. How quickly the fragile fragment of our light can be snuffed out by this world.”

Today, we sing the same song from a guttural place of grief. We lament the necessity to name injustice, of the murder of unarmed Black men and women. We anguish the loss life of George Floyd. We lament the smoke that billows in the wake of last nights protests. We anguish this affront to the mental health and wellbeing of our community as we face again the inequity of racist systems.


Black sisters, we invite you now to make space for yourself. Take this opportunity to consider how this injustice has affected you. What is your body telling you about how you’ve internalized this news? What does your body need? A deep breath? A broad stretch? The relief of tears? You are free to feel now. Your grief, your fears, your confusion, is not antithetical to your strength or your resilience. It is simply the full expression of your humanity.

We recognize that this invitation assumes privilege. Not all of us have the space we need to grieve or feel beyond the terror of days like these. We recognize the courage required to accept this invitation. To face the heartbreak of white supremacy and its effects on our bodies is no small feat.

Render Free takes seriously the need for space to feel and heal from the onslaught of these injustices. It is our dream that in due time, we will be the place that members of our community gather to lament, to collude, and to determine together…

WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED.



We will soon open our doors in South Minneapolis. When we do, we will invite the Black and Brown women of our community to explore trauma-healing practices. We will be a community committed to naming our inherent strength, our proven resilience and our indisputable humanity. That humanity earns us the privilege to feel freely, to take up space, to cry out when subjugated and to reach for freedom.


Excerpt from


A Litany of Survival

By Audre Lorde

And when the sun rises we are afraid

it might not remain

when the sun sets we are afraid

it might not rise in the morning

when our stomachs are full we are afraid

of indigestion

when our stomachs are empty we are afraid

we may never eat again

when we are loved we are afraid

love will vanish

when we are alone we are afraid

love will never return

and when we speak we are afraid

our words will not be heard

nor welcomed

but when we are silent

we are still afraid

So it is better to speak

remembering

we were never meant to survive.

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