This post originally appeared on Adrienne Maree Brown’s blog.
Detroit Red is someone we all know. Bright, beautiful, hustling, trying everything, wanting more, with the unhealed recent familial and current experiences of racism all around like four walls, eyes bigger than hands, prison immanent.
Malcolm X is someone we all know. Deep, raging, righteous, always reading and challenging himself, and challenging his community, and challenging his teachers. Holding court from the street corner, from the pulpit, in community center basements. A voice of his people’s history, speaking from the whip’s lash, speaking from the lynched neck, seeing liberation just there and calling us all forward to reach it by any means necessary.
El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz is someone we all need to know. He has looked under every rock and still not found the answer. He has submitted himself to God, and is just beginning to see the divine in all of his brothers and sisters, even those he had understood as his enemy. He doesn’t care anymore what people think of him, he has been alone, he has been surrounded, he has broken with every comfortable space and made room in his heart only for love. He has a lifetime of transformative experience to reflect on and offer to the world, he comes to tell us what is possible, he knows we can go with him.
We had Detroit Red, we had Malcolm X, but they took El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz from us forty-five years ago, with his whole story, and for that we must mourn, while living into the pathway he was beginning at the end of his life.
Are you supporting transformation? Who is the Malcolm X in your life, and how are you supporting him or her?