Seventy-two hours out of every week, I carry a hotline phone. While calls come in waves and some shifts are silent, my everyday and professional lives are peppered with reminders that evil doesn’t just pierce reality through acts of power, control, and violence – it seeps through in discrediting voices and disbelieving questions. It rolls into us off the well-meaning tongues of community members who’d rather protect the status quo than hold people accountable. It wraps its tendrils around us as we walk through each system we are forced to navigate – systems that are not set up to protect our vulnerable hearts and human dignity. Evil powers the backlash wave that tries to knock down every survivor who speaks out about gender, sexual, or intimate partner violence, and it also is in the fear we swallow when we choke down our own stories, press them down deeper, grasping to avoid yet another assault on our integrity, intelligence, and truth.
Evil stains our flags with the undeniable imprints of genocide, slavery, and continuing racial injustice and then demands that we wave those flags, smiling and allegiant, as The American Dream itself is held hostage, torn from its family, held in a cage.
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