I’ve been thinking a lot about Harriet Tubman. I’ve been thinking about how, in the midst of slavery, she declared, “My people are free.”*
Harriet Tubman wasn’t just courageous. She wasn’t just brilliant, and skilled, and purposeful, and determined, and compassionate.
Harriet Tubman was a visionary.
She could see beyond the circumstances she was born into, to a more beautiful, expansive future. She could imagine a world where Black people were no longer enslaved. But also: Harriet Tubman knew that her people were free even when they were enslaved.
It is this kind of freedom, the kind that can’t be granted, that I want to live into in this moment. This freedom lives in my heart and my imagination, no matter what is happening to my body, no matter what is in front of my eyes.
In Harriet’s vision, I am not separated from those ancestors who lived every moment of their lives on the African continent. I am in contact with people living seven generations in the future, watching them enjoy the shade of a tree my children planted.
In Harriet’s vision Tamir Rice is alive. It is the day of his birth, and his mother is cradling him in her arms.
In Harriet’s vision, Breonna Taylor has started her new job, and she’s loving it. She is a healer, mending folks’ bodies with her skills and their spirits with her smile.
In Harriet’s vision, George Floyd is napping peacefully on his sofa on this lazy Saturday afternoon. The living room window is open, letting in a warm breeze. He is surrounded by all of his ancestors and all of his descendants. They are breathing with him, for him, though him.
My people are free. My people are free. My people are free.
*Thank you, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, for sharing this beautiful truth.