New York City is opening up again after vaccination rollout, and it’s going to bring up a lot of important new questions as we move forward into the next stage of the pandemic. For a community organization that has historically gathered people as part of our work, this is the moment to consider the balance between autonomy and collective safety in movement building cultures. The safety work of gathering crowds is being transposed to meet the needs of the moment, but the philosophical questions underpinning it are present.
When we think about the community political consciousness as a body, we understand that nourishment means the provision of resources, talent, planning, and time. When we think of the body of an individual struggling through a pandemic, nourishment manifests as safe human connection, being able to create and sustain a stable domestic environment, being able to have wellness needs met, and having access to nutritious food. When a body survives a struggle that was designed to kill it with neglect or violence, processing the trauma that follows requires attentiveness towards healing and safety. We hope you all make the journey from isolation into community in the safest possible ways for yourselves and for those around you.
For a lot of LGBTSTGNC folks, the month of June is a sacred time when we celebrate our battles, our wins, and also mourn together. It is an honor and a privilege to work at an organization that teaches and gathers people around world-changing ideas, provides safety through shared experience in movement building, moves resources towards developing members, and builds narratives of political change into the public view. This is the space of radical compassion and connection around our shared and individual struggles.
In this pandemic time, many of us have been feeling dissociated by isolation and the primacy of digital life. As we shift into a state of return, we might hesitate to participate with the very same institutions that have created the conditions of neglect and marginalization we might feel, caught between the imperative to survive and the risk of trusting institutional power that has not historically protected us. So what is the path moving forward? How do we nourish our political bodies in these times?