“In trying times, we lean on our traditions and practices, ones we have inherited and ones we have evolved, to better reflect who we are as people in the highest vision of ourselves, decolonized in mind, spirit, skin and love. The plagues of cynicism and despair hunt us in these moments looking for our vulnerabilities. They try to convince us that our lives are not worth fighting for, but our rituals and legacy serve as touchstones in surviving, resisting, combatting, and wading through crises of faith, of imagination, and of hope.

Today, we ask us all to call forth our mantras.

Call forth our protection mantras knowing that today’s inauguration is not the beginning of incomprehensible injustices to humanity.

Call forth our defense mantras knowing that all that we believe is sacred is worth guarding, giving sanctuary, providing refuge, and going to bat for.

Call forth our vision mantras knowing that our actions are sustained and fortified by the ancestral knowledge, the hope, and the possibility of what James Baldwin called Paradise.

Today is not the inauguration of our commitment in word and in deed to The Mandate, but it is a reminder to look at each other with fire in our eyes. It is a nudge to take in our lovers, our babies, our chosen families, and our extended kindred network of people we have never met with a deep breath to remember that we have always found agency despite despair.

Whether you are in the streets today or tomorrow, whether you are in your home with prayer, or just at work like any other day: we call us all forward towards our collective liberation and towards the vision of our abundance. May you go forward, taking steps back as needed, and standing in the wayside when called, with this offering from Adrienne Maree Brown,


to manage the grief
we tie our roots together
trading sorrows

to speak when there is danger
we learn to hear heartbeats
as drums

to speak of what no one has seen
we create a whisper
of hurricanes

to make a world that can hold us
we teach each other
every small imperfect part of love

we will protect you
we will hold you
we will be protector
we will be protected

i will protect the skin you were born in
i will protect your right to love
i will protect your right to pray
i will protect your right to choose
i will protect your however-body
and i will protect your total
and radical




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