With a challenging year soon to be behind us, we asked community members to share their vision of what they hope becomes of our city post-pandemic.
by JM Wong
What if care was the organizing principle of our society? Not profit, not white supremacist garbage masked as liberal paternalism in the form of “diversity” that would hire cops of color to continue to target Black and Brown folks on the street just living their lives.
What if care was my people who are here finding home as guests on Turtle Island, shredding up the myths of american empire force-fed to us through aid packages and free trade agreements, with jobs that colonize our psyches and rob us of our life forces?
What if care was us acknowledging our presence on someone else’s ancestral lands? Lands that are marked by Indigenous peoples’ resistance, the Black radical tradition, and also by Chinatown histories of striking railroad, textile factory, and hand laundromat workers?
What if this kind of care — not the citizenship test, not words from twisted tongues that we are forced to regurgitate — was how we are oriented to this country?
What if care was my dear homie F, and all the other homies locked up in cages, being able to go kick it with me and the squad at Lake Washington on a full moon night, setting intentions and sharing prayer? But not before we fish off of that one dock and share why we love the story of orca whale mom Tahlequah who carried her dead calf around for 17 days and what that teaches us about mammalian grief, which is as deep as the ocean waters and as resilient as the light that hits it everyday. We know now that Tahlequah has a new baby calf! What if care was more shared moments of freedom, not captivity? We don’t stop organizing till our families are alive and free.
What if care was my bestie, undocumented in status, being able to return to the homelands, to introduce their mother to the new baby, so it is not just the screens and distorted sounds of choppy Wi-Fi that will etch the visual and audio memory of their child’s ancestral bloodlines? What if this child could play with her grandmother so my bestie can rest sometimes, not replying at all to my insomnia texts because work has kept them up too late? Organize childcare for everyone and especially the single parents who hustle while they deal with the regular challenges of life and sometimes while still doing the work to heal for themselves and the futures they nourish.
What if care is everyone living lives of exploration, of ease, of connection?
What if care is the organizing principle of our society?
Care that is creative and tenacious, relentless and wholesome, abundant and kind. The kind of fierce love that helped us survive the pain, loss, and heartbreak of 2020. A world where this love is the uncompromising foundation of our society, is the hope that anchors me into the future. We got you, and each other, 2021!
JM Wong (they/them) is a queer child of the Chinese diaspora living on Duwamish lands (Seattle) via Malaysia/Singapore and many cities in between. They write about movements, desire, and longings across distances and bordered spaces. Of diaspora, of the logistical supply chain stretching over ocean waters, of connections transcending prison walls, of crossings over to the ancestral realms. What we each journey through matters, and the futures we imagine begin from now. They organize with COVID-19 Mutual Aid, Free Them All WA, and the FIGHT/APICAG family.
Illustration by Alexa Strabuk