Zet je licht aan! / Set your light on!

make1Left

“Zet je licht aan!” / “Set your light on!”⁠⠀
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Just before we set the clocks back this year, this bright yellow message was painted by the school gate. It’s a reminder that we’re entering a really dark time of year here in the Netherlands, and that to protect yourself from being hit by a car, you need to turn your bike light on!⁠⠀
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But it got me thinking of another very LOCAL reminder I needed. And maybe you need it too?⁠⠀
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The reminder is this. In order for us to create a world that we want to live in, in order for us to “radically transform the world” as Angela Davis calls us to do, we have to each set our lights on.⁠⠀
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We have to shine a light not just on what is happening in our world and our communities, but we have to also be willing to explore the depths of our own selves, our behaviors, and what the consequences are of those actions–both for the world and for ourselves.⁠⠀
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And until we are willing to include ourselves in:⁠⠀
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💡our inquiries and empathy: to ask as Brene Brown @brenebrown suggests in her work, “What’s my part in this situation?”⁠ and “Am I speaking to myself as if I’m someone I love?”⁠⠀
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💡our care giving and accountability: to see self-care as Mia Mingus @mia.mingus said as self-accountability⁠⠀
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💡our pleasure and joy: to embrace what Sonya Renee Taylor @sonyareneetaylor calls Radical Self-Love⁠⠀
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By shining the light on ourselves, by including ourselves, we take the most local kind of direct action and in this way, we CAN radically transform the world. And we have to do it all the time.⁠⠀
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We can’t put it aside. We can’t forget ourselves. We can’t dismiss our own needs, our own care, our own accountability, our own part. If we do not include ourselves, we have nothing left to give. There is no solidarity without starting with ourselves.⁠⠀
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So set your light on with me. We can build a better world. For ourselves AND for each other.⁠⠀
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[Photo. by @kbredbeck Painted in bright yellow on the sidewalk are the words: “Zet je licht aan!” with a picture of a bike light. The grey square tiles of the sidewalk and Katie’s shoes, leggings, purple coat, and green bag are also visible. End.]

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