I’m finding myself thinking a lot about borders these days: Who crosses them, who gets erased by them, what they sacrifice to escape, what they leave behind. One day I’m watching images of young children who have traveled thousands of miles without parents to reach the US border and the next day I listen to news reports of Israel raining down bombs on Palestinian people in Gaza. I witness from a safe distance protected by my borders: my US nationality accessorized by a passport that I use for play and self-discovery. I walk through the world with the illusion of safety, a privilege that often feels like a bullet-proof plexiglass covered window out to the world. The image beyond the glass a dull picture of people and places whose struggles I will never fully know and only understand via the strategically biased POV of US news media.
Then there are the borders within this country that get redrawn, divided, erased. In Chicago whole communities eliminated, displaced, and resettled in ways that breed quick and acute conflict. In southern states, whiteness floundering and desperately asserting its dominance with reckless gun laws, as it sinks under the rapid browning of America. Everywhere Trans people are killed and often must fear for their safety just walking down the street because they dare to traverse the borders of strict gender binaries that confine us all in roles we are aggressively conditioned to assume. So many different lines drawn around us, borderlands defined by bodily integrity, housing rights, gun violence, and the criminal justice system, which is constantly redrawing its borders to keep black and brown people trapped within its confines.
I want us all to feel safe across borderlands. I don’t want to constantly feel like my right to live must rest on the trampled broken backs of other people. I’d like to know for a fact that somewhere, someone isn’t paying the price for laws meant to appease me and products meant to pacify me. But where do we begin? I’m not quite sure but I have to believe that we can imagine our way into another way of being with each other across borders, with interconnection, and humanity, and maybe even love.
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