Abolitionist RealPolitik on a Womanist Platter: Ode to the SHEroes – Jallicia Jolly

[image: a Haitian cultural performance on coping with trauma, by dancer Veronique Ignace]

From Lionheart Gyals and Downtown Ladies to ‘Welfare Queens’ and ‘Pappa’s Maybes’, I am directly from the lineage of revolutionary WOMANcestors. Bursting from delicate wombs of black goddesses, we rise with grace from trenches of despair. Birthing compassionate intolerance amidst dynamic dehumanization, with eyes that recognize the need for meaningful resistance and restoration, we, unapologetically abolish.

With coalitions that necessarily pierce the core of processes that strengthen our systematic abuse, that plunge daggers into interrelated systems of our domination, that wreak havoc on the capitalist circuits and structures that profit off of our psychological dispossession, that resist the economic exploitation and physical abuse that has built nations and empires, we, strategically abolish.

With comrades that critically probe processes of (non)citizenship and (mis) recognition, that consider the lives and conditions of non-American peoples who also suffer unconscionable state violence within and beyond state borders, that reject rigid racial hierarchies that demand that our race/color precedes our national identity, we, critically abolish.

With alliances that reimagine understandings of black liberation that challenge American exceptionalism and lingering silences in Black American activist agendas, that scrutinize the black-white racial divide and the territoriality that characterizes American understandings of racial justice, that interrogate the hyphen at which [insert here]-American joins in the politics of everyday life in our 21st century neoliberal capitalist, multicultural, militarized, anti-black, anti-non-American, allegedly ‘post-racial’ society, we, courageously abolish.

With armies that reconcile intense and cyclical psychological, emotional, and physical trauma, that introspect as we weather living whole lives amidst the debilitating burdens of interrelated, intersecting dominating forces impeding the quality of life of peoples of color both stateside and islandwide, we, uncompromisingly abolish.

With a pandora box of herstories that invites lawless utterances that know no disciplinary boundaries, that satisfy no ethical yearnings, that shatter the precepts of academic etiquette and political correctness, that move beyond traditional social, political, cultural, and economic boundaries of the American imaginary, voicing loudly unspeakable sufferings that persist from the age of american Empires, we, enthusiastically abolish.

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[image: embodied resistance to trauma, by dancers Veronique Ignace and Naomi Fields]
My abolition fucks with the dark spaces of the black box,

Birthing orgasmic glimpses of freedom;

Amidst the ongoing struggle between life and death,

it teems with vibrancy in the throes of survival;

Straddling the cracks of hope resting in the margins;

Playing Russian Roulette with resistance and restoration;

Assaulting disciplinary conventions as it abolishes cultures of conformity, political neutrality, and egotistical activism;

From Brooklyn streets to Jamaican verandas, New Orleans highways to Haitian borders, ivy towers to cell blocks, hospital wards to court rooms,

I, compassionately abolish.

With words from minds that cradled me,

embraces from arms that nurtured me;

Until death, I, abolish.

(Inspired by the revolutionary wisdom of Alice Walker, Audre Lorde, June Jordan, Claudia Jones, Suzette McLeod, Helena Ortiz, Elizabeth Torres, Veroneque Ignace, Shanti Singham, Gina Ulysse, Joy James, LeRhonda Manigault-Bryant, Joyce Foster, Beverly Williams, Leslie Brown, Maurita Poole, Jodie-Ann Geddes, Ruth Behar, Gloria Anzaldua, Maria Cotera, and the members of Project Reach Youth in Brooklyn, NY and the Women of Color Coalition in Williamstown, MA).

[About the images: Both pictures are from a Williams College Africana Studies dossier thesis on the experience of trauma of Black students in academia. Ms. Ignace says: “I use dance to communicate because I believe Black students need more communal and creative forms of production which are not taken seriously by academe today. Creative production is necessary for survival and is informed by experiential living. The dance vocabulary I continue to focus on is Haitian traditional dance (as that is the dance of my family and practice).”]

– Jallicia Jolly

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