by Alexandra Wanjiku Kelbert  

‘Why do you hate white people?’ is a non-question, an accusatory statement we as black and brown activists have had to learn to address.

Everyday we are told by strangers, by our housemates, our parents that we hate.

Many of us are shamed and publicly mocked for the safe spaces we choose to organise from. We are criticized for the opinions we have and silenced for the claims we make, the truths we hold.

It is assumed that the activism of those of us who choose to come together against this system that oppresses us comes from a place of hate. We are *angry* black women, our loving rage always mistaken for hate.

Valentine’s Day is not my jam. Capitalism is not my jam. I have nothing against folx choosing to celebrate their love on that day. I guess I’m just not too enthused by an arbitrary date dedicated to the celebration of heteronormative love, that many are excluded from.

But if we are to talk about love, then the love I want to celebrate is the love that fuels me and many whom I organise with, a love which knows no boundaries.

Our love in rage extends to our family fighting, freezing their way into Fortress Europe, to our fam in the Global South always at the forefront of the struggle for climate justice, our family in Yarl’s Wood and other detention centres hidden away in remote corners of this country.

Our love and rage goes to our hijabi sisters in increasingly hateful and islamophobic Western societies, my friends who have no choice but to leave racist France to be able to live and work. It travels to our people in the US resisting under the banner of the Black Lives Matter movement, the resisters in South Africa struggling so that Rhodes and fees finally fall, our extended family in Rojava and in Palestine, in the occupied and colonised territories from North America to Aoteroa.

Our love abounds to the wonderful sisters of colour in London who every week provide free yoga or singing classes for the women in our community, for the #Heathrow13 activists who lay on the runway last summer and for the beautiful QTPOC artists who keep on keeping on making arts, making music that lifts our souls and enrich our spirits. Our loves goes to our mothers, to the ancestors that came here, by land, by sea. Chained or ‘free’.

Our love extends to our white brothers, sisters and siblings who stand to lose in this capitalist, cis-het-patriarchal white ableist ageist supremacy. The working class folk, our trans siblings, the homeless, our fam locked away in prisons and wards, all who aren’t reaping the benefits of this, hateful, (white)man-made system.

Our love abounds for all those whose everyday struggle is surviving this system that clearly wants us defeated, the single mums, the dark skinned girls sustained daily by Black Tumblr, the carers toiling with no recognition and little if any compensation.

Our love abounds for those who are no longer with us. Those killed day in and day out, by the state, by the police, by private companies like G4S and Serco, by austerity and ‘fit-for-work’ assessments. Women, killed by violent men and a system that refuses to see us.

tumblr_mc7pq0dXQZ1qzyo7nIt extends to our own selves too. Because in this world, as black and brown people, truly loving ourselves is, as Audre Lorde said, an act of political warfare.

This love I talk of is the same love that Bernice Johnson Reagon was writing about when she said ‘we who believe in freedom cannot rest’. Our love for life means that we cannot rest.

Our rage comes from a rooted understanding of the pain, suffering and injustice that exists in the world. It also comes from knowing that black girls are indeed magic, and that is why we fight. Our love comes from believing in better and holding a vision for the future.

I don’t rage out of hate, I rage out of love and I love in rage.

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Alexandra Wanjiku Kelbert, activist and black feminist. Sociology lecturer and researcher in the politics of food, gender, social change and race. Deep appreciation for radical earrings.

Follow her on Twitter: @WanjiKelbert



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