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Except for the day of Michael Brown’s funeral, there have been protests in the streets of Ferguson every day since a year ago today when he was murdered. Among the chants reverberating in Ferguson and cities around the country this year is this one – a quote from Assata Shakur:

It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.
from Heather Wilson on Vimeo.

Black Lives Matter is not only a political movement – it is a deeply spiritual one. With a deep bow to ancestors and forerunners, this chant itself makes plain that this movement is rooted in the spiritual principles of sankofa, self-determination, collective liberation and love. 

Though the mainstream press repeatedly highlights moments of antagonism and destruction, examples that love grounds this movement are abundant. Here are just a few:

    • The Deep Abiding Love Project provides “training and resources for activists, organizers, rabble rousers, and trouble makers of all kinds…building community and organizing from the 5th dimension (love) while amplifying the voices of Black and non-Black people of color.” 

    • Facebook post by Aisha Shillingford, cultural organizer at Intelligent Mischief, in which she writes: “Our movement needs all of us and we need to come in to it with an ever expansive love that sees the value in all our approaches.”

    • The Heartbeat of Democracy – Ferguson: a video demonstrating the use of non-violent direct action to de-escalate protesters’ encounter with police in Ferguson

Love is the energy that seeks connection and unity over disconnection and separation. It is the wisdom that remembers we belong to one another despite our divisions. However we respond to the Black Lives Matter movement, we are being invited into a movement grounded in love.

#UnitedWeFight has organized protests, arts events, concerts, and other activities to mark this anniversary. They have asked us to hold silence at 12:55 PM today for four and a half minutes, representing the four and a half hours Michael Brown’s body lay in the street after he was killed.

Let us hold silence.
Let us #SpeakTheirNames.
Let us remember Michael Brown’s family and all those who grieve losing beloved people to systemic racism.
Let us keep in our hearts those gathered in Ferguson and cities around the country for Black Lives Matter this weekend.
Let those of us participating in Black Lives Matters actions today and in the future draw on the power of love day by day.
Let us each endeavor to be creative, resilient and loving as we imagine and work for a future in which systemic racism is undone.