When you see evil, recognize it as evil, and do not give your enemies peace. - Hávamál 127
We in Distelfink Sippschaft and in all of Urglaawe recognize the need to acknowledge current events--the deaths of several Black Americans at the hands of police and vigilantes, and the outpouring of grief and anger that has, at the time of this writing, erupted in every US state and in several other cities worldwide. This public grief has been met by an escalation in police violence.
These deaths are not isolated incidents. They reflect a broader and deeply embedded dysfunction. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Atatiana Jefferson, Kayla Moore, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland and others are part of the same pattern of racism and violent disregard for black lives that killed Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner--whose final words, "I can't breathe," echo louder than ever with George Floyd's death.
And these are just the names we know of, who make headlines and hashtags.
It is easy to denounce the obvious examples of racism. But it's also inadequate, especially as Heathens, to stop there. The historical context of Heathenry includes racist and nationalistic uses of the source material we often rely on. As current practitioners, we therefore inherit a responsibility to repair the damage done--to our faith, to the targets of the violence it was exploited for, and to those who suffer at the hands of the broader systemic racism that allowed these damaging movements to exist in the first place.
If we are to honor gods of justice, gods of wisdom, and gods of strength; then we must take an active role in demanding justice, seeking wisdom, and finding the strength within ourselves and each other to turn towards this effort.
The victims of this brutality were our fellow citizens. Their lives still matter. Their pain still matters.
Those of us who are of Caucasian descent (many of whom were not considered to be “White” until our numbers were needed to keep the establishment in power) need to shake ourselves loose of the contentment that has been abetting this oppression and to see how it is destroying the integrity of the African-American community. What harms that community tears at the fabric of our whole society because the African-American community IS America. Our fates are bound together, and we need to stop watching as our institutions continue to perpetrate these crimes against our own people.
It’s time to put an end to this systemic racism and to force our police and leaders to adhere to the laws that they enforce for everyone else.
Today, Black Lives Matter and other groups joined together to organize a peaceful, highly inclusive march through Bristol Borough, Pennsylvania. At one point during that march, a lone, female voice cried out:
“What was his name?”
And the marchers responded, “George Floyd!”
And the calls back and forth of “What was his name?” and “Say it louder!” were reprised later with the names of others who lost their lives to police brutality. These exchanges alone were powerful. Too many names. Too many lives snuffed out.
The march ended in the shadow of the Harriet Tubman memorial statue at Bristol Wharf. Here, Tubman continues to point the oppressed to the North — to the safe houses and hinterland farms of her Underground Railroad.
Alas, even here in the North, justice can be elusive.
We must do better, folks, or the dreams and visions of the wisest of our forebears, including those of Tubman, will be rendered asunder.
As Urglaawer, we are charged by our goddesses and gods to call out the evil actions in our midst. Let us join together with all people of good conscience to tell our leaders and our law enforcement that enough is too much! This must end now!
Black Lives Matter!
Schwatze Lewe Zähle!
What were their names?
Hail to the fallen!