love, thank you for your letter to me. in these last few weeks, i have found that having these open conversations about our bodies and our experiences with authority and capitalist industrial complexes [systems of prisons, schools, non-profit organizations that are about making money] have been completely liberating in how i view myself and how i am able to interact with others. i love you and am so thankful for your words, your honesty about wrestling with everything, your power.
i feel like talking about our bodies is what made intersectionality “real” for me and not some buzzword misused by folks on the left (who use this word without ever recognizing where it came from or the power behind it). a good example of this is with the history of our bodies being owned. i strongly disagree with disabled [white, straight] people who use the word “colonize” loosely to describe their experiences with the capitalist system of medicine and science. however, recognizing that disabled people share something in common with people of color, women, and with queer people is powerful, especially when it is around our collective history of our bodies being bad and needing to be controlled. after this basic foundation is made, being able to recognize that this pain and loss of authority over what is ours is amplified when living on the intersection of multiple identities is even more powerful. mixed in with my anger and my frustration is hope and excitement for the organizing and conversations that are happening around this.
you and i and many of our sisters are relearning, rewriting, recreating everything that we have been taught is true. i agree with you about people who stifle this—they are the same ones who have historically been denying what is ours. i don’t remember where i read this (it’s just scribbled down in my notebook) but alice walker once said “no person is your friend (or kin) who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow and be perceived as fully blossomed as you were intended.” i’m not sure of the context behind her words but it says so much to me. ownership of our bodies, our lives, our thinking is always about power. you are right— our anger is righteous and constructive as a tool against injustice.
i’m not sure where we go from here but am so moved by work that radical women of color are doing and the brilliance and passion of our community. the summer of our lorde project, the cyber quilting, all the writing, recording, organizing… with this work and the ways that we were (and are!) impacted by earlier generations of women of color activists, can you imagine what the future of our community will look like?
love to you, zach.