Friday Reflections

I’ve been thinking a lot about how the human capacity to function “normally” (whatever that means), sometimes even happily, even in the midst of personal struggle, national tragedies, and/or global nightmares. As I was compiling the Friday Five this week, I thought about what it means to blog as though I wasn’t being deeply effected by events unfolding in our country and the world.

This summer, my heart has been heavy for some personal reasons, but also for reasons that don’t, at first, seem to directly impact me. While Palestinians are always targets of violence, in the past months and a half, we’ve witnessed destruction and violence at unthinkable levels. This past week, the kind of conditions we in the US have become accustom to seeing only from great distances, have developed in our backyard in Ferguson, MO.

Those of us who are not direct targets of concentrated violence and who are invested in justice often feel heavy with the weight of these realities, but also have the luxury to step away from it. We have the ability to leave our homes without panic, to go to school without daily fear that it could be bombed, to walk down the street without being shot by a cop. We have the ability to blog about cute animal videos and delicious vegan food without thinking twice.

I started this blog committed to finding a way to have a “healthy living blog” that didn’t shy away from controversial topics related to race, class, gender (etc.) when it pertained to things like food justice and health disparities. At first, it might not seem like the murder of Michael Brown has much to do with health…But what is “health” if not a world where we are free from destruction and violence and racist murder and oppression? What is health without justice?

I know this is not why people gravitate toward food and healthy living blogs–it’s not why I come to these internet spaces either. I know the importance of escape. It’s not like not posting pictures of vegan food is going to do anything to eradicate racism. But there are some days that it feels impossible to remain silent, even if it means interrupting regularly scheduled blogging.

The Friday Five is where I share things from the internet that have caught my attention over the week. This week, I’ve been immersed almost exclusively in articles about Michael Brown. So that’s what I’m going to offer here. And although I had so much to be grateful for this week, I’m going to skip my gratitude list as well. I’m holding it in my heart and sending it back out again and hoping it can seep into the universe and lift up those who cannot lift themselves.

I’ll be back to blogging with less heavy things next week—because, somehow, we’ll all find a way to go on.

America Is Not for Black People

Black Kids Don’t Have to Be College-Bound for Their Deaths to Be Tragic

Not Just Ferguson: 11 Eye-Opening Facts About America’s Militarized Police Forces

2012 Annual Report on the Extrajudicial Killings of 313 Black People by Police, Security Guards, and Vigilantes

Ferguson, The Commonality of the Police Riot, and the Long Road to Justice

On Systemic Violence, the Black Body and Reproductive Justice

***Update after original post….Things have gotten a lot brighter in Ferguson since I wrote this last night. Here’s something to bring a little positivity to this list: 

With Highway Patrol, hugs and kisses replace tear gas in Ferguson” 

Have a good weekend. Power to the people.

11 thoughts on “Friday Reflections

  1. Ali Seiter says:

    Thank you for this, Raechel. I really appreciate your discussion of blogging while being able to step away from the issues that don’t affect us on a physical level. Important things to think about.

  2. Natalia says:

    Thank you so much for this post. Your blog is still a favourite of mine for this very reason. So, so cool to read the “With Highway Patrol, hugs and kisses replace tear gas in Ferguson” article. It made me tear up. (Ferguson, MO is as far away as Gaza is from my own home, but it only goes to show that there are struggles and the need for fight for justice in every corner of the globe).

    Big hugs to you lady xo

  3. jennifer says:

    Raechel, I was introduced to your blog through my friends at Open Way Yoga in Huron. I appreciate getting to feel less alone in my thoughts…reading your words! I especially liked:

    But what is “health” if not a world where we are free from destruction and violence and racist murder and oppression? What is health without justice?

    Thank you for articulating so beautifully something that has been buzzing in my mind recently. Of late, it seems impossible to separate what goes on in the world from what goes on in my body…….perhaps that is the greatest gift that yoga can bring?
    I’ll look forward to reading more of your writing!

    • raechel says:

      Thank you so much for this comment, Jennifer! I absolutely agree that things happening in our world impact our bodies. Yoga means union right? We’re all connected, of course it makes sense that we should care about and be impacted by the health and well-being of others!

      Thanks for reading!

  4. FoodFeud says:

    I appreciate you sharing the links and talking about Ferguson (and Gaza.) “What is health without justice,” indeed. I don’t usually talk about politics that don’t directly affect me (though, really, all of this affects everyone – to different extents) because I don’t feel as educated as I could be – but that’s what the links are for, I guess.

    • raechel says:

      Thanks, Maud. I like to share this stuff because I am in a unique position where reading and learning and thinking about this stuff is kind of part of my job (in terms of what I teach and what I research/write for the academy). So, it’s definitely a privileged position to spend so much time engaged with this stuff, but I figure…I could have my readers read another recipe or an article about Ferguson, so why not use my soap box for this, you know?

      Anyway, I still think you bring some fierce politics to your blog!

  5. angela says:

    I appreciate your blog specifically because it goes beyond the scope of light-reading about yummy vegan food. I read plenty of blogs that focus only on that, and there’s totally nothing wrong with them, but I like more substance, as well.

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