Days before November 8, I completed the most epic journey of my life.
A plane ride into the Brazilian jungle, a smaller plane ride deeper in, 4 days of traveling on a boat (read: canoe plus engine) upstream in the Amazonian rain forest to live withthe indigenous Huni Kuin.
Words fail to describe the experience. But suffice to say I understand the words deathand rebirth better than ever. I used to drink the word freedom from a glass but now, a spiritual curtain lifted, I stand under a waterfall.
Upon leaving, our heads bowed, one of the shamans explained to us who the Hunnikuin are. "Our nation," he said, "does not have borders. Our nation is anyone who is committed to peace, to love, to harmony. Our nation is everyone who is a warrior of consciousness."
But this is not how everyone thinks of the word nation. To some, the word nation means borders, it means hate. To some, when they say freedom they actually mean fear. To some, a nation is built upon separation not elevation.
And for those of us who are awake and know that we are children of light, our hearts can become weary fighting for our siblings to crawl out of the dark. But that's exactly what we need to do.
The human body itself is a community. When disease enters, every cell becomes activated. Messages fire between the immune, nervous and lymphatic systems. Oxygen travel to the parts most in need. White blood cells fight to undo the poison. Each cell is an individual with the purpose of making the whole better.
We are each a cell. Our body is humanity, and we have a disease. But we are white blood cells, and we must fight.
I received a message today out of the blue, a friend who had been silently following . She said that now, more than ever, this work is so important. She shared her own story of being silently queer because of the real fear that exists in this country. She wanted to say thank you, that she's grateful, because projects like this remind her to use her voice.
Art has always been a vehicle for revolution. And now we need to spread it like wildfire.
On January 21, the day after the inauguration, we are premiering Names of Women and taking it on tour fully equipped with activism tool kits, community organizing resources and mechanisms for healing.
We are taking this to schools. We are speaking with students, building grassroots communities, creating a web of change agents. Because if art has been a vehicle for revolution, schools have been the site for ideas to take hold and movements to spread.
This film is already being used in a "Women, Health and Medicine" class and, in thespring, appearing in a double ticket film screening about reproductive justice. And this is just the beginning.
We need your help.
**If you have connections to any high school, college or community that could benefit from screening Names of Women, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Let's ignite this movement together.
In the meantime, take care of yourselves and one another. And remember, a fever isthe body getting better.