WorshipWeb: Braver/Wiser: A Weekly Message of Courage and Compassion

Who We Can Turn To

By Aisha Ansano

"It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains."
—Assata Shakur

A sea of faces -- of many ethnicities -- in an anti-racism, and arms raised in solidarity.

Sometimes, being on social media is actually good for my self-care.

In the days leading up to the white nationalists marching in Charlottesville, and during the weekend, and since, I have found myself comforted and empowered by being part of a community that stretches beyond those I'm physically near.

A video of clergy marching before the white supremacist rally, then silently kneeling in the streets, brought tears to my eyes.

Three invitations to counter-protests in Boston this weekend as the white supremacists come to town gave me a place to channel my desire to do something.

A video of a crowd pulling down a confederate statue in my hometown of Durham, NC has brought a smile to my face every one of the countless times I’ve watched it.

Audio of "Who We Can Turn To"

Listen to Rev. Aisha Ansano read her reflection.

If it weren’t for Twitter, I wouldn’t have found out about a rally happening in NYC, where I was on vacation. I joined over a thousand other people gathered in Union Square. We held a moment of silence for Heather Heyer, who was murdered in Charlottesville by a white supremacist who drove his car into the crowd. We joined our voices in chants: No justice, no peace and el pueblo unido, jamás será vencido—"the people united will never be defeated." We heard from folks involved in Black Lives Matter, and the Democratic Socialists of America, and Black Youth Project 100.

As we left the rally, I heard someone say that they found it depressing—but I didn’t at all. I found it powerful to look around at all the people willing to show up on short notice and say no to fascism. I found it heartening to watch the little girl standing next to me keep holding up her “NO NAZIS” pin. I found it reassuring to know that I am not alone in my rage and grief and pain and determination. I found it heartening to know who I could turn to.

What happened in Charlottesville is nothing new. We know how to fight it, and it is done in community—wherever we can find it.


Spirit that runs through us all, help me to remember all the ways in which I am connected to others. Remind me to look up, to reach out, to find those doing this work alongside me and join them.

About the Author

Aisha Ansano

Rev. Aisha Ansano believes in the spirituality of food, the power of community, and the importance of self-care. She is the affiliated community minister at First Parish in Malden (MA), and a co-founder of the dinner church consultancy Nourish.


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