Grieving for Judge Salas
Imagine coming from one of the hardest working groups of people, and yet still being called lazy? My Chicana mom and me, we hustled. We scrubbed toilets, dusted, vacuumed, mopped, washed dishes. My mom hustled. Every little odd job she could find. We made churros with my Nana and sold them at church events. She took on little seamstress jobs and made us Halloween costumes by hand. She worked hard for very little. The Chicanos and Latinx of this world work hard. They pick your food, they take care for the animals you eat, they build your houses, they take care of your children, they pave your roads. And for what? Usually for very little money, no health benefits, no retirement, no dental care, no lunch breaks, no cell phone during work. And to be called “lazy.” The man who killed Judge Esther Salas’ son and shot her husband described Salas as “a lazy and incompetent Latina judge appointed by Obama.” Salas is the first of her kind as a Hispanic woman sitting in her position of power.
The man who killed Salas was an anti-female attorney who frequently brought lawsuits against organizations for women-targeted events or female empowerment, such as “ladies only nights.” Men like this believe that being anti-sexism means being anti-male. They hate women. Much like the people who think that to be anti-racist means being anti-White. It’s no surprise that this excuse for a human being also referred to Judge Salas’ race in his treatise on despising women. If you’re not enraged by this, it’s either because you haven’t thought it through fully or because you have no soul. This is a Latina woman in a position of power, the first of her kind, and her life has been destroyed by a man who clearly had a violent hatred of women and yet he still had the power to practice law. And you really still have faith in our judicial system?
I left for my bike ride this evening actually feeling in a good, hopeful mood after watching Dr. Ibram X. Kendi being interviewed by Dr. Charlene M. Dukes, president of Prince George’s Community College (PGCC) in Largo, Maryland. It was a lively discussion and it felt so invigorating to hear Kendi’s message of antiracism being shared in such a widely accessible format. Dukes had excellent questions for the practical application of antiracism in our daily lives. These are not easy things to address. Kendi discussed ways for talking to racist people, what to do about racist friends. Dukes pressed on with questions about making space for White/White passing allies in the movement? Kendi responded with ways for connecting with the movement either out of morality (allyship, needing to fight on the right side) or advocacy (fighting racism because you know that the world will be a better place for you without racism). I felt excited about the formalization of these ideas and how we can use them to, in the words of Dr. Dukes, leave the world in a more just and equitable state for future generations.
But when I came home and read the news about Judge Salas’ tragic loss, my heart sank. The anti-woman, the anti-Latinx, the anti-Black, the anti-immigrant. The anti- spectrum-of-sexuality-and-gender. It’s all connected. It’s all the just variations on the same themes of fear and bigotry and cowardice and we cannot deny that it primarily comes from White people, men AND women. This is why it’s so impossible to say that White people can experience racial discrimination. White people are the people in power, and, putting on my half-White person hat here, even if we don’t see ourselves as the oppressors, WE ARE A PART OF THE OPPRESSIVE MACHINERY unless we are actively antiracist. That’s it. Those are the options.
Easy recovery day. Just a chill spin up to Moody and back down. Highlight was spending some time in Golden Hour. Too bad I don’t have a better camera. My pics just can’t do it justice. Side note, if you do ride at this time always make sure to (1) use very bright blinking head and tail lights, and (2) wear at least one bright/reflective piece of clothing. Mom hat off (I’m not even a mom).
Another 1093 vertical feet down. Just 4452 left to go. Will happily go as far past 30000 as possible for more pledges to Rich City Bikes. Stanford Cycling Against Racism for more info. Let me know on IG or Twitter Day 8 posts.