Letter Collections

Renewal and letting go

Dear Irresistible Revolution,

February 17, 2021

“As a culture worker who belongs to an oppressed people, my job is to make revolution irresistible.” – Toni Cade Bambara, Dear Irresistible Revolution, My understanding of you is etched out of edges and angles, composed of changes and consequences, preserved in passion and patience, tethered to truth and transformation. Revolution, you cannot be evaded or erased. You live in the breath, blood and bones of every Black Indigenous Person Of Color with a disability. The mere thought of letting you go terrifies me throughout the night and the very idea of holding you eases my entry into each new morning. To turn away from you is to turn away from everything within me. I am far more emotional because of you. Not just in relation to an emotional presence but in the sense of emotional transcendence. I have 1:00am conversations with Anger, 11:00am calls with Happiness, 3:00pm discussions with Fear, …

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Dear Grief during a time of COVID-19

February 14, 2021

Dear Grief, during a time of COVID-19,  It’s been now more than a month since my brother died. My family and I have been struggling with losing our loved ones. The paused grieving process that so many people are experiencing as we wait for our families’ bodies to move out of storage freezers and into those spaces where we can find some sliver of solace.  Like many others, I want to be able to do something that COVID-19 has forced us to wait for now or give up altogether. My brother Eduardo Arturo was 34. He was Native American and Mexican. Two Spirits, and a person with a disability. He had been living with AIDS for over a decade. Our family would ask him to buy us a lottery ticket whenever we saw him because we all thought he was such a lucky person. When he developed AIDS, he had …

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Dear High School Guidance Counselor #2

February 7, 2021

Dear High School Guidance Counselor #2, When I called you about 5 years after graduating, thank you for picking up. I was scared and said something like “I’m so tired that I’m afraid that if I was crossing the street and a bus was coming, I just wouldn’t get out of the way.”  And thank you for suggesting I go to the psych ward. You mentioned going in after a tragic event and enjoying the drugs they gave. I remember the honesty in your recollection, it fills me with love for you. So, I went. It was ok. As trans icon Miss Major would say “I’m still fucking here.”  But I didn’t take the drugs. I went in because I was exhausted from all the revelations re figuring out being multiple, more than one person in this body. I mentioned it to a psych nurse. She said, “don’t take anything …

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Dear Approval Addict

February 5, 2021

Dear Approval Addict, Checking in on you. How long have you spent this week hovering over an Instagram or Twitter post waiting for a like or retweet? How much time have you spent wishing it was you instead of [Current advocate/activist who has the spotlight of the moment?] who has the byline, or panel invite, or a twitter mention from some public figure the world swoons over? Let me begin by saying, I FEEL YOU. Deeply. It’s likely you’ve spent much of your life aiming to collect a bucket full of “Yes! You’re amazings!” to validate your very existence. If you’re like me, you carry so many identities that even if you feel like you’ve received a stamp of approval in one space, you likely don’t feel the same in another. And now, if you’ve become connected in one manner or another to the disability community…well, here’s yet another group …

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Welcoming & Unwelcoming  

Dear Friend

July 7, 2021

It’s so lovely to hear from you. I’ve been watching you for a while, and I must say, I’m very proud of the person you are becoming. I hear you’ve been having some trouble at school, and want my advice on what to do. Well, I’m glad you came to me. I’ll do my best to tell you what I needed to hear when I was in your same position, without sugar coating my advice, since I’m sure you can get the rainbow version from others in your life, but sometimes you need to hear the real version, which I think I’m uniquely equipped to give you, since we share the identity of being disabled and some, though not all of the same experiences. So, you’re struggling with having to return to school, whether it’s from a Zoom environment back to in-person school, or returning after a stress free summer …

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Dear Paradox,

April 8, 2021

Oh how you’ve come around. The more days and years I wheel through this world, the more relevant you are. We’ve become close. I know you so well, and yet not at all.Paradox, you are what is past, present and future. You are… To love so deeply // to grief so deeplyTo be the oppressor // to be the oppressed To feel narrowness // to feel spaciousness To know so much // to know so littleTo be seen as a woman // to not be a woman To be visibly disabled // to be invisibly disabled To be Disabled in joy and connection // to be Disabled in pain and isolation To not be the one who made me ashamed // to be the one who can make me proud* You are the opposing truths that happen simultaneously. Paradox, the more I wake, the more I wake up to your inevitability. You are here, not going anywhere, anytime soon.  …

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Dear Community Organizer,

April 2, 2021

Damn, you’ve been busy! It’s been one hell year for you. You’ve been working nonstop. And while I am so grateful, you exist and appreciate the work that you do I am beyond frustrated with you. You see, as a disabled woman of color who is always ready and willing to go to battle with you, to be lead by you, I am constantly reminded by your actions that you don’t see me, you don’t see people like me, and our struggle is constantly ignored by you. It’s funny because being seen is so important to you. It’s essential that the world recognize your humanity. So I ask you, friend, am I not human?   We are more alike than different! If you just took a second to breathe, to pause, and recognize that we are suffering alongside you, where would we be? We are battling for our existence too. Every …

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