This isn’t about celebrating Thanksgiving. On the contrary, as part of my own lineage traces closely back to Indigenous Americans (my grandmother), the past and living reality of Indigenous people, I want to focus on the idea that brown people should find ways to celebrate themselves. In the time of remembrance, mourning, and of course, joy.
So often, the responsibilty of being brown, Black, Latina, Indigenous American or other, feels such that any celebration of such will be judged. I find myself stumbling on this revelation anytime I type something out that may not be wildly accepted. I find myself weaving through this when speaking about my own daily weight of responsbility that is internal and tied to the many brown and black people that came before me, and the privileges of this body. And yes, it is linked to the white people in my circle, what remains unbeknowst to them and what is known.
I have found that the economic reality of the holidays, the desire to buy and the judgement if you do, may be one in which becomes yet another unfair responsbility. How many do we need to carry? But in a small and grand way, getting dressed and celebrating the movement of your body, may be a necessary pause to remember that the much of the junk isn’t yours. After all, it is how our ancestors resisted and persisted.
I stood there on a corner on the border of Bedford Stuyvesant and Crown Heights on a beautiful fall day. My dress was blowing. The sun was so bright. The history of the block in my mind. And the history of how my own body needs to move, like some grand push whenever the sun’s contrast is stark against the sky and smooth on my body.
This corner, one in which families bought, saved and made their way. And the corner in which those folks celebrate the lives they get to live and have been leading in Brooklyn for many years. A corner in which has been on the frontlines of gentrification.
A corner, any space, worth celebrating, without (for even a moment, if we try) immense responsibility. In a brown body. In this season.
To feel, as Claudia Rankin says, as we are, “alive and vibrant.”
(Photography by Stella Blackmon for LaTonya Yvette)