It’s not like they didn’t warn us this was going to happen. It’s not like they didn’t talk about the genocide of Indigenous people for hundreds of years.
It’s not like they haven’t been talking about global warming since the 70’s, it’s not like they didn’t talk about the hundreds of missing and murdered Indigenous women – and you damned well put some respect on that word and use a capital I when you spell Indigenous.
Before the colonizers came, Indigenous folk around the world respected the earth, they cherished every fiber of grass, every fish in the water, and every bird in the sky.
But then the colonizers came with their machines, then the colonizers came with their weapons, and their blood lust and destroyed what could have been, instead replacing what was with what is, and now the entire town of Lytton BC is all but gone, and there are thousands of bodies of dead Indigenous in the grounds across Canada.
They’ve only checked 2 schools and we’re up to over 500 children – dead bodies, of what once were happy, laughing, singing children. There are 139 schools across the country. 137 of them still have to be checked.
Beneath the country that the politician’s want you to think is great and wonderful, are the bodies of thousands of innocent children who were sacrificed so that white people could have a better life.
I understand a little of something about that. I was a sacrifice too. Like many of my Indigenous neighbors, I was a victim of child sex abuse and I live with the trauma every single day, however unlike the Indigenous people that I share this city with, I am still alive to tell the tale.
I hear the cries of “Why wouldn’t you listen to us?” every single day and for similar and different reasons alike I echo that sentiment.
As I write this I have to recognize that my mother is a white woman, and that she is descended from the same English people who destroyed this planet with their wars, bloodlust, and torture of innocent Indigenous folk around the globe.
I used to be proud to say that I was part English, but as the number of the bodies pile up I find myself just being embarrassed of my kin-folk for their part in colonizing a world that I don’t believe was meant to be colonized. I think we were meant to share this planet equally, and because of some truly evil people, I don’t think that will ever happen.
The dystopian nightmares that we consume as entertainment are going to become our reality and at 38 years old I am equally embarrassed that it took me this long to understand that.
I think as we’re growing up in a world that is constantly trying to kill us as we try to make our dreams come true we’re so stuck in “one day” mode that we don’t really think that we have the power to make change “now” in the moment, and yet now that I am out from the black clouds of gang life, I can see an entire world in front of me.
There are children out there who are doing things that I wish that I’d been born to do, they are fighting for equality, they are fighting for the planet, they are going to school by day, and making change by night, and they are refusing to let anything stop them, and I wonder in awe where they get the courage.
I didn’t survive by choice, I survived by happenstance, I was fully prepared and convinced that I was going to die, I had no plans to live and I made that very clear that last night. I was certain that my life was going to end, and honestly? When it didn’t (so far) literally NO ONE was more surprised than I was.
I am 38 years old, I spent my whole life thinking that every day was going to bring me a new death trap to survive and those death traps usually came in the form of rapists, abusers, and bullies, who made it clear that they thought my life wasn’t worth trying to save.
I had teachers who said as much, and who proved as much by trying to shove me down the same holes as the bullies, I had bullies who took their cues from the teachers, I didn’t have time to try and find a way to save the world, I was too busy trying to save myself.
For the first time in thirty years I have time to think and breath and just sit here and look at the world from outside the glass window and beyond being surprised that I had survived, I am more curious as to where the fuck these kids get the audacity and I am so utterly grateful for them, for you.
When it comes to what’s happening in the world from climate control, to the continual denial of the death, torture, rape, and abuse of millions of BIPOC people, these young people are our future yes, but they shouldn’t have to be.
It’s not enough to say that my childhood was robbed by abuse and trauma, as an adult I feel like I should be doing more to help, but the truth is that I don’t know what I can do – that’s not true. I can recycle more, use less plastic, donate to Indigenous communities, but that doesn’t feel like it’s enough.
It just fucking doesn’t. I want to hug the planet and make everything better, but I can barely function myself as a human being, how the fuck can I save anyone else?
I know you’re tired, I know you’re tired to the fucking bone, but no matter how big or small your platform there ARE things you can do.
- You can sign petitions about things that matter to you. Add your name to the list of voices fighting for old growth forests and reconciliation for the Indigenous community in Canada.
- You can hand out bottled water at your local community center in the hot summer weather to those who can’t afford to buy water, and unfortunately there are many of those kinds of people in the world.
- You can collect a few cans a month from your friends and neighbors and take them to a shelter for humans.
- People who live without a house always need socks, underwear, pads, water, and gift cards are super helpful because they can grab some food at a local restraunt and stay inside for a little bit where it is warmer or cooler than being outside.
There are a lot of things you can do, and even if you can only buy 1 box of water a month, or donate two cans a month, everything you’re able to give can offer someone a tiny bit of hope.
At the shelter I used to work at people used to get mad at me when we didn’t have anything for them to cook or serve. I would tell them that sometimes the best thing they could do was sit down and have a meal with some of our folks who didn’t have friends or family to share a meal with.
Some people didn’t like that so much because they didn’t think of it as “work”, but sometimes all people need is someone to talk to, and it’s the easiest kind of kindness that you can offer, having a conversation with someone who often only has themselves to speak to.
These may seem like little things to you, a gentle kindness, a soft word, a hello as you walk by, but at the end of the day every tiny bit helps, and if you happen to throw your bottles into a bag to give away to those who need the money more than you do, then that’s pretty cool too. Two problems 1 stone, it’s something I do sometimes when I’m not lazy, and I don’t give a fuck what they do with the money.
If you’re willing to take my bottles back for me, what you do with the money is up to you entirely, but they gotta get back and lord knows I ………well let’s just say that I suck as a human, it’s too late for me, but you can do better.
Lots of folks who live on the streets can’t afford masks, if you or someone you know is making them, maybe you could offer them a couple? Many of them wear the same hospital style mask for many days in a row, rendering it completely useless after more than a few hours.
Old work boots that don’t work for you might be helpful for those who do day labor, as long as they don’t have holes and tears in them, and if you’re going to donate old work boots PLEASE add new laces, at the very least, anything else is just cruel.
Fresh underwear is an absolute must at all times of the year, just ask yourself what you’d ABSOLUTELY need to have to be comfortable, and then ask yourself if what you need, is something you can reasonably provide for someone else.
When people would ask my mom why she does the work she dos, she always have the same answer, “if they were my kid, I’d want someone looking out for them too,” and by “them” she means fellow and sister human beings who need someone who gives a shit.
I hardly think that’s too much to ask.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall