Today is May 1. However, this day will have come and gone by the time you read this. I intentionally chose this day because of its historic significance. May Day is more often synonymous with International Workers’ Day. Originally, it commemorated the killing of laborers by police in a general strike in Chicago in 1886. This was a time of social consciousness, and growing awareness regarding labor rights.
One hundred twenty-nine years later we are witnessing the prophetic wisdom of our African ancestors who taught us, “Those who fail to learn from the past are destined to repeat it.” The light of humanity is being darkened by its inability to embrace that which cannot dry, and water cannot wet. I am speaking of spirit.
I choose this day to protest the illusion of fear. I encourage us to embrace love as the only reality. This is not a cliché statement, nor a naive declaration. It is the truth. Many have been made to believe that we are not worthy of love, so we march with signs that say “Black Lives Matter.” Today I protest the illusion of hate because it results in statements like “I can’t breathe.” Life itself is intended to be breathtaking. Instead we are witnessing the taking of breath.
Today I protest the illusion of E.G.O, which is an acronym for “Edging God Out.” Whether you view the Creator as an internal being or an external being has no bearing. We are spiritual beings having human experiences, and our outside world should reflect that awareness.
In African spirituality the idea of death is an illusion, because every death is an opportunity for rebirth. Be it an idea, relationship, or loved one. All over the globe people are demanding change, because death is constantly creating an opportunity for those changes to manifest.
On May 1, 1886, people were protesting unjust labor practices. Imagine what would happen if we protested for the right to labor in love. The many calls for justice would not result in violent protests, because the voiceless would be heard. If Tulsa would labor in love, reconciliation would be an achievement not an engagement. If Tulsa labored in love which is healing, this city and the communities we live in would reflect that love. People who are not healed are not whole. Love is a spirit. A darkness lingers over Tulsa that is soaked in the illusion of ego and power. It can only be removed with love which has no opposite. We must love justice, fairness, inclusiveness, and most importantly ourselves.
In African culture we are taught to learn from nature as it expresses natural life lessons. Imagine if we moved like a swarm of birds. We would not be co-dependent but interdependent. We would move with one another without crashing into one another’s egos. We would flow unbounded and free. On this day commit to a labor of love, and protest the right to do so.
Chief Egunwale F. Amusan
Originally published in This Land: Summer 2015.