By Doriana Diaz
A concept that I have been meditating on a lot recently is how one can begin to decolonize their creative healing practices. I thought I was intentionally doing this by buying from Black owned businesses, refraining from supporting major corporations, placing myself in pro-Black communities and spaces, and restricting my personal desire for monetary value and affirmation. These are a few things that I have been intentionally practicing within my own life over the past few years here and there. But more recently, specifically since the uprise of this global pandemic, and even more specifically, recovering through the aftermath of George Floyd, Brenna Taylor, Olueatoyin Salau, and countless other Black lives lost; all of which have been broadcasted across every major news outlet, social media newsfeed and tv screen. The concept and practice of decolonization has been ringing in my ears in a much more prevalent and profound manner.
I can admit that Black death has never ruptured my insides since the wake of this new wave of the Black Lives Matter movement has begun to take form. The stamina has lasted months longer, the outreach has reached much further corners of the globe, and the support for not only Black lives, but the spotlight on Black existence and narrative has never felt so potent to me before. When every major metropolitan city across the globe took to the streets in droves, I started to reconsider my own personal protest. I remember thinking, I needed to be out there, marching, holding up signs, chanting. I had the drastic urge to be in a physical community with other Black skin; other Black pain; other Black rage. So, I stepped out into the humid Philly streets, with my homegirl by my side, camera in hand, mask across my face, and an immense amount of resentment and despair boiling inside my body. About halfway through our march, we were stampeded off the Philadelphia highway and tear gassed by the local police. At that moment I realized, Why am I putting my body on the line? This is not where I need to be. In that moment the reevaluation of my personal forms of protest began to take a new found meaning.
I don’t need to be on the frontlines sacrificing my body in order to protest. My protest is waking up everyday and finding new ways to fall in love with my skin. My protest does not conveniently start whenever someone else is brutally and blatantly slaughtered. My protest is a daily commitment to decolonizing my healing practices, unconditioning and unlearning the way of being that convinced me to believe that I am inherently worthless. That same way of being allowed Derek Chauvin to kneel on George’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. That same way of being that possessed those two other officers to watch mindlessly as George called out for his dead mother. He knew he was going to die. That which is the same way of being that allows anyone to feel entitled to restricting Black life.
We are enough. We deserve better. I will not stop until we are given what we are owed. A chance. In decolonizing my daily practices, I show up earnestly for our humanity, I show up earnestly for our liberation, and I give us all a chance at being free.
About the Author:
Doriana Diaz is a Philadelphian creative entrepreneur and curator of The Diaz Collections. Her artistry and LLC explore cultural agency through healing vessels and archival documentations of multigenerational black narratives.
On instagram @bydorianadiaz and @thediazcollections
On twitter: @thediazcollect