You don’t have to march in the streets to be “radical”
I just hope that other black people don’t feel pressured to attend a protest just because it’s happening in their city or community. There are many ways to fight oppression, and protesting in the streets is just one of them. The Civil Rights Movement was not just made up of marchers, but writers, artists, dancers, photographers, family, friends and more as well. Their contributions are just as important as those of anyone who is marching. Ask any marcher where they would be without the funds or snacks and water from people at home? Without the late night phone conversation with their friends and family not marching after a long exhausting day? Where would they be without the caregivers for their children when they are away? Where would they be without the revolutionary music, texts, photographs and more which have informed how we go about doing this work, and where would those works be without them?
There is no single lane defining what it means to be an “activist,” “radical” or “in the movement” and as Angela Davis says, “Radical simply means ‘grasping things at the root.'” If your work is about a fundamental paradigm shift in our society that destroys white supremacy from the foundation up and creates liberation for all black lives– then you are doing “radical” work. That can be through writing, public speaking, art, photography, providing emotional healing and support for other black people, leading dialogues and healing circles, elevating black consciousness and more. And you don’t have to march to do any of that.
On top of that, many of the marches are simply beyond triggering. White people and non-black POC constantly taking up space in them. People out in the streets theatricizing black death and pretending to be black corpses on the ground-including white people. Violence and brutality from militarized police forces. Presence of K9 units in certain places. Street harassment of black women by black men. And many of these spaces are simply not safe spaces for queer black people or black women- especially black trans women.
So don’t let anyone make you feel pressured to rally “because that’s what being ‘radical’ is about,” especially if your emotional health or safety is potentially jeopardized in those space. Different people have different roles in the movement and one is not more valuable than others. And you can make equally valuable contributions to the movement and be “radical” without ever stepping foot in a protest or going out to rally in the streets.