Written by Erin M. Erickson
Erin is founder and Director of Missoula Rises where this piece was originally posted, please check out the Missoula Rises website: MissoulaRises.com
So I’ve been hesitating on sharing this podcast for many reasons. Mostly because revolutionary love is complicated. It’s mocked. It can sound cliche. I don’t fully understand it. Revolutionary love feels impossible. And like its expanding energy we don’t have toward a divide that cannot be mended or even breached.
The people behind the NRA and their perverse manipulation of the public. Our own Members of Congress and other elected officials, who with ease, display a public disregard for immigrants, their families, the economically disadvantaged, black lives, our shared global environment. The forces that we don’t even fully understand that are working to undermine our news, our country. And right here in our own communities the cyclical resurgence of white nationalism and the hate they spread. In light of this and so much more, where is the space for revolutionary love? What does that even mean anymore?
And I think back to when this group was started and the fundamental core value was to protect each other in the face of uncertainty under the Trump Administration and lead all of our actions wholeheartedly. Lead with love. And we’ve taken solace and power in our human connectedness. Which means always listening, learning, inquiring and being intentional with our own words and actions. Especially since we are now engaging in activism alongside our youth. But revolutionary love doesn’t just require our output, it is centered on how we are able to tend to our pasts to open the door for us to work with grace and love behind our actions.
Given the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death, it finally felt like the right time to share this. Please listen to Valarie Kaur’s message with an open mind and heart. It is only 22 minutes.
“We love our opponents when we tend the wound in them. Tending the wound is not healing them. Only they can do that. Just tending to it allows us to see our opponents: the terrorist, the fanatic, the demagogue. They’ve been radicalized by cultures and policies that TOGETHER WE CAN CHANGE.
But loving our opponents requires us to love ourselves. This is a feminist intervention. For too long women and women of color have been told to suppress their rage and grief in the name of love and forgiveness. But when we suppress rage, that’s when it hardens into hate directed outward, but usually directed inward. All of our emotions are necessary. Joy is the gift of love. Grief is the price of love. Anger is the force that protects it.”
In solidarity, Erin Erickson
Erin M. Erickson: Erin is a life-long Montanan. She is the founder and Director of Missoula Rises, as well as a Managing Partner at Bohyer, Erickson, Beaudette & Tranel, P.C., a civil litigation firm in Missoula. In addition to working her full-time job as a lawyer, she has dedicated the last year and a half to building a cohesive, progressive movement in Missoula and the surrounding valleys that prioritize human rights and hold elected officials accountable for promoting and protecting human rights. Erin is also a dedicated wife, figure skating and hockey mom who loves to Oula.