Queenin' in a Time of War
I've had several friends ask me "What are we going to do?" Between the changes in politics, the ever challenging elements of adulting, and daily microaggressions my fellow millennial WOC and I have come to know; it has come to feel like a constant state of being under attack, like a psychological and emotional war with society. Though every queen is different, I've complied a list of survivor skills that I hope can be armor as we fight the institutions created to oppress us.
#1: Pack Light: Leave all of the baggage behind. Friends and family are supposed to be the people that get you through tough times, not the ones who create them. Your significant other should be someone that makes you feel like you all can get through anything together. Have no shame in distancing yourself from people who don't and/or can't live up to their titles. You can always love them from a distance.
#2: Gain Allies: I know that personally I cringe when people say "There is no hierarchy for oppression." Because of my unique experience as a Black woman I often feel like I receive the worst treatment and experience the most barriers in this country. Truth is, there are other minority groups who may not have the same experience or type of oppression, but they can understand the feeling of being oppressed, marginalized, and underrepresented. Support them and they, in return, can support you in our common goal for equality.
#3: Save your Resources: Resources are not properly allocated; the fight for equity is real. Even those of use who are financially stable, it is important to remember that things can and will change very quickly with our economy. My mother always told me that you can not go wrong with living below your means. If you're thinking about making it rain, make a list of things you want for the year and decide if its worth compromising your bigger and more expensive goals.
#4: Fortune Favors the Brave: To piggyback off number three, spending can be beneficial if done correctly. If you can, INVEST, INVEST, INVEST. Even if you think you can't do stocks right now, take the time to establish a Roth IRA. You can invest in mutual funds, starting with small monthly deposits if you must. I learned during my studies as a Social Entrepreneurship specialization that the first rule of business is to take the risk. Be brave.
#5: Build your Army: Surround yourself with like minded people. More of us are recently "conscious" but there are so many layers to that. Finding the right "woke" friends can feel like a part-time job. Take that time. Attend community events, workshops, council meetings, volunteer, and network with the kind of people you need on your side.
#6: Fight on Your Own Turf: Spend as much time as you can in the neighborhood and communities that treat you well. In these times, we never know what is going to happen. But whatever does, you don't want to be too far away from where you know somebody.
#7: Never concede: We will get through this. I know our elders keep telling us, "It's been worse." And we're all like, "That's subjective." Regardless, we have strengths that many groups do not: collective unconsciousness, history, and each other. Whether we're roasting our enemies on twitter or giving that brother/sister the benefit of the doubt in front of "company," we have a history of surprising the masses by banding together when our unity is least expected. In the words of Kendrick, "we gon' be alright."
Illustration by Shanique Lee