Tradition & Innovation

Abolitionist Lo Dayenu

A banner with Black Lives Matter hangs over a fence. Walking in front is a Black man in dark pants and a white shirt wearing a mask.
If we supported Black Lives Matter,
but didn’t show up to actions — lo dayenu.
It would not have been enough.
If we came to actions whenever we could,
but didn’t give money to bail funds — lo dayenu.
If we donated to bail funds when we had the money,
but didn’t make reparations — lo dayenu.
If we gave reparations to Black people,
but didn’t listen to their voices — lo dayenu.
If we truly heard them when they spoke,
but failed to recognize Black people aren’t a monolith — lo dayenu.
If we realized the diversity of Black people and their experiences,
but didn’t practice radical empathy with them — lo dayenu. 
If we radically empathized with everyone oppressed by white supremacy,
but failed to reflect on our role within that system — lo dayenu.
If we understood our place in white supremacist culture,
but didn’t work to oppose it — lo dayenu. 
If we tried to dismantle white supremacy,
but couldn’t shake the idea that police are necessary — lo dayenu.
If we saw police as an unnecessary evil,
but didn’t call to defund them — lo dayenu.
If we advocated for defunding the police,
but didn’t believe police abolition was possible — lo dayenu.
If we accepted the possibility of police abolition,
but failed to consider that prisons can be abolished too — lo dayenu.
If we came to see prison abolition as a real possibility,
but couldn’t picture what it might look like — lo dayenu.
If we started imagining a world without prisons,
but couldn’t overcome our need for punishment — lo dayenu. 
If we let go of the idea that wrongdoers must be punished,
but didn’t challenge our own carceral thinking — lo dayenu.
If we unlearned our carceral thought patterns,
but didn’t learn about transformative justice — lo dayenu.
If we opened our minds to a justice that heals instead of punishes,
but didn’t take accountability for our own actions — lo dayenu.
If we held ourselves accountable,
but didn’t practice self-compassion — lo dayenu.
If we showed compassion to ourselves and all others,
but didn’t love each other with all of our hearts, 
and all of our spirits,
and all of our selves — lo dayenu.
It would not have been enough. 

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