I like resistance. And in a world where every day I have to deal with injustice and stupidity I take comfort in the pockets of resistance I find. This often means that strange things make me happy; seeing a stencil peeking out of foliage, yarn graffiti, graffiti in general, a community house, a picket line, news of a strike, a union building, badgemakers and the mythical monuments specially for me. It makes me happy because I can see them, and it makes me happy that despite all efforts to erode, eradicate and erase; they’re still there.
When I was in Chicago a couple of years ago I went looking for Haymarket Square (I was there on the anniversary of the massacre and wanted to go pay my respects). Most people I talked to had no idea what I was talking about, much less where it was. Interestingly, the people who did not know anything about it were white. The only white folk I found who knew what Haymarket Square was were two history teachers in their late 60s. On the other hand, every black person I met on the street knew what it signified. When I walked to the general location (I looked it up on the internet, the socialists were having a picnic there but had failed to mention the actual address!) an old man on the street told me I was in the right general area. He also told me that he was too drunk to help with directions, but that if I asked any other black people they might be able to help. I asked a girl in a bakery, she didn’t know where it was but she did know that her grandmother knew it ’cause she talked about it a lot. So I got help from the grandmother, and two guys on the corner of the drug rehab centre.
I did finally find the square and the monument that had been built to replace the racist one that had been built there to begin with. That was the highlight of my trip to Chicago. And what it highlights is this: people with privilege don’t need to learn about things that don’t concern them, and people who are oppressed have to work to remember/forget their history and learn the history of their oppressors.
20th of November was Transgender remembrance day. Another year of bigots and fools perpetrating violence against people they can never hope to equal. I spent the day hiding from the world and thus missed going to the remembrance held by ‘A Gender Agenda‘ but I looked up the videos (go look/listen). Which brings me to marigolds. Not because I’m particularly fond of them as flowers. I like tube roses and narssici. But thanks to AGA’s project they are now going to be part of my mental map of transgender remembrance day. AGA was giving away marigold plants to each person who was there as a living marker of the people who have lost their lives to transphobic violence. I’m going to be walking around this city looking to find tiny little marigold spots of solidarity that mark out the memory of the people who should be here. And what makes me really happy is that I know I won’t be the only one.
I hope that when someone sees the little marigold I’ve planted outside my office window they will know they aren’t alone in remembering what they remember. And that we’re still fighting, we’re still here*.
*Luna Lovegood is smart.