I don’t have to reiterate in detail the intense and awful onslaught of anti-Asian violence that’s been escalating throughout the U.S. in the past few weeks. I think most of us have been paying attention, keeping track, offering whatever assistance we can to our Asian relatives, and constantly working at being better accomplices in this fight that we all have a part in. We all have a stake in. We all have a kuleana to participate in. There are many ways to contribute to the huli. There is creating media that can be shared across platforms. There is the re-sharing of that media. There is calling, texting, or emailing people in positions of power and calling on them to do something within the confines of a legislative body. There is art-making. There is existing and showing love to our loved ones and oneself in the midst of a colonizer structure that would rather us choke on divisiveness and self-loathing. And there are rallies. For those of us at MMTM who were able to attend the rally this past Saturday, that was how we decided to show up for that day.
Being at a rally to protest against racial violence, in the midst of a still-going-strong pandemic, while cops and the fake state’s architectural presence are looming over us at the capitol, is an intense feeling, to say the least. There are a lot of emotions to process. A lot of mamae, or deep pain, that reverberates through the crowd. Ancient and historied pain, newfound and passionate pain, tired and needing-all-hands-to-lift-one-up pain. This is not to say there isn’t joy; to be sure, there was and is joy to be found in knowing that there is support for our Asian relatives as well as marginalized communities across the board who all decide to stand together in solidarity against agents of racism. But it is a sobering reality at times to feel that solidarity and know that truly all of us gathered and those supporting at a distance, that we are all we got in this. It is just Us and whoever we can get to come with us on the way walking into the Hellmouth together. I am still hopeful. I never lose hope. But when a white man drives by our march in his giant truck screaming “All live matter!” in an attempt to demean, belittle, and harm, I remember there are some miles still ahead. Long roads. Tired bodies. We will get there but we will be ripping off poky plants the whole way.
I write all this to say that I am frustrated these days. I am usually frustrated with the state of things but as the violence grows and the colonizing apparatus continues to show how much they do not care to change anything, it grows. It thickens. It becomes a large thicket of anger that I carry with me; for our Asian relatives as well as our Pacific Islander, Black, Latinx, and Indigenous relatives. I carry it for my tīpuna who barely survived Cook when he landed in Te Tairāwhiti and remember I might not have been here if my people hadn’t found a way. I know that anger comes from deep love with many things but especially with things like this. I know that organizations like HWF provide a safe space to talk about and create with this anger. I know there are places for this and I know that one day, we will make the world a place where my and others’ anger can be for things that aren’t racial violence and hatred. But for now, I want to acknowledge it for what it is. And its source. And remind everyone it’s ok if you feel it too. This is why we have those rallies. Why we share on media and with each other. Why we create. Why we do what we can in the midst of everything. Because there is a lot to be angry about. And we deserve to feel that and let the powers that be know we will keep huli-ing till it stops.