the day the activists overslept

(click above to hear audio description of essay, art and poem)

This post is dedicated to the activists, helpers, community servants, and the often unseen sometimes unknowable kindness warriors who continue to show up for the rest of us, to believe there is something they can do to make everything a little better, less painful, less cruel… a little kinder. Thank you for your caring and intensely burdened hearts. I am deeply grateful and inspired by your activism, and for all the ways you show up for love.

Dear Ones,

Recently I had an interesting conversation with my mother about activism. I often refer to myself as a kindness, creativity and joy activist.  While I recognize many others in a similar line of work, to my knowledge I am the only one referring to my work as a form of activism.

There are many disqualifying stereotypes about activists and the important work we do, so I thought it would be interesting to share a few thoughts and then offer a poem that has been trying to write itself these past weeks.

To me an activist is anyone who does anything to animate others in actions that offset oppression, reduce unnecessary suffering, and/or help people consider the humanity of people we may not agree with or understand. I also think activists are people who do things like have meaningful deep listening conversations that help people transmute stereotypes towards healthier understandings and possibilities of others.

We have many jobs and roles in our society that do not aptly recognize workers as activists. My husband for example is an activist. He works at 911 Communications and helps protect and save people’s lives by animating other helpers towards the cessation of human harm or human suffering.

I’ve been contemplating with tremendous gratitude all the activists and all the helpers formally responding to the harm and pain caused by Coronavirus. I’ve been watching the usual  helpers (aka activists) double down in their servitude, working more exhaustively than ever to protect, defend, heal and support people. A dear friend of mine volunteers 14 hours a day to support people who are homeless through all the problems caused by lockdown, like where to go to the bathroom, where to have a shower, where to get food… the ripple effects of lockdown are unknown and unknowable by many of us who are not connected to that form of kindness-badass activism.

Countless activists are beyond exhausted in their super-heroic human activism. They need (and deserve) a lie in, for like at least a week… but what would happen if they didn’t show up? If they decided to lockdown and quarantine and to stop responding in the caring, fully activated ways they always have? What would the world look like?

❤ becky

the day the activists overslept
by becky j suzik

the day the activists overslept
was a different day indeed.

sirens didn’t blare.
no one–at first–seemed to care.

hospital employee parking lots
were as empty as homeless shelter kitchen pots.

rules and laws passed,
squashing equally both left and right at last.

while the activists were snoring
the fires kept on roaring.

while they were peacefully resting,
everyone else began protesting.

as they were gently dreaming
those awakened went about screaming!

the day the activists overslept
most everyone else got activated instead.

❤ dedicated with great love and gratitude to Nicole Huguenin ❤

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