What’s Stuck In Your Mind: An Open Thread for BIPOC Folks

It’s been 12 days since George Floyd’s murder. The past few weeks have been unbelievable. There have been BIG thought discussions everywhere about what the uprisings mean this time, on what ways we’re not going back (whether that will ever be true?), and at what cost to whom. As someone not Black, I take seriously my role to hold tightly to hope and expectation for change and transformation, but it’s not lost on me that the birth of every new world we enter, that every piece of progress that we gain from protests is at the cost of Black lives — and that even in fighting to dismantle white supremacy, we’re building off of Black pain, grief and beautiful lost lives.

I know a lot of people are exhausted. I know a lot of people are dealing with microaggressions, in addition to the macroaggressions led by the police and the National Guard.

There are also plenty of things to talk about that are not big things: the meetings you’re invited to where white people waste everyone’s time expressing their false helplessness; the people from your high school that you know are 100% invested in white supremacy and OF COURSE posted a black square on Tuesday to pretend otherwise; the kinds and scents of candles that are bringing you the most peace right now; the big maternity pillow that you bought for quarantine that offers a sense of relief. These might sound like small things, but they’re important too!

So this is a thread where you can share whatever is stuck in your mind. I want want open up this space for the intense grief, mourning, PTSD, trauma, and all the other wounds that the most recent murders have opened up in the Black community, if you need room for that. Please bring your personal gems and gripes or your big-picture questions and feelings to the comments, everything is welcome — as long as you’re Black, Indigenous, or otherwise POC, and know that this is a Black-centered discussion.


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Kamala Puligandla lives in LA and is the writer of various autobiographical fictions. She is the distinguished recipient of her parents' leftovers and hair compliments from strangers on the street. Her first novel is forthcoming from Not A Cult. Find her work at kamalapuligandla.com.

Kamala has written 45 articles for us.

12 Comments

  1. I am seeing way too many armed National guard people with automatic guns with a periscope sight. I don’t feel safe as Middle Eastern Jew knowing that just in the late 90s-00s the cops had Nazi members hiding in their ranks.

  2. I am really angry and upset. I can’t go out and protest, but my partner and I are writing emails to our city government.
    I feel like I can’t do enough, it is just hard. I feel like I am being traumatized over and over as a afro latinx.
    I am trying to educate myself more and brainstorm how to be a more sustainable activist.
    Also gardening, lots of gardening. Lots and lots of gardening. Also I am going to make my first quilt.
    Anyone wanna chat?

      • I found these things called Charm Packs. They are precut squares that you can easily sew together for a begginers quilt. The materials are affordable for this type of project because it is a one time thing. While making clothes for myself sometimes results in $100 work of fabric, many many hours, confusion and an ugly ass garment.
        The black women in my family quilt and it also brings me back to my ancestry. I have not used my baby quilts in a long time because they are now so old I can’t bear to see them fall a part any more.
        My great grandma Nelle quilted and she was a black nurse who took care of her own.
        I am really excited to get the materials.
        How’re you?

        • I’ve taken up embroidery through this and it’s been keeping me focused on beauty and creation though a time of plague and violence. I hope your quilt does the same for you!

          • I think most of us are falling into the trap of thinking we can’t do/haven’t done enough regardless of how we’re resisting and protesting, but your emails are appreciated and I really hope you get to see tangible change at your local level soon.

            Also, quilting and embroidery are so impressive to me. I have zero attention span, but made a bunch of hats on a loom over the last few weeks.

          • @meenbot Yea, I’ve been trying to do better for my people before it became fashionable, but I think I might have to take a break. I was told if I do not go back into work Monday that I would be fired. My job is being dissolved and they are creating one where I have to be in the office. They also have refused to hire me on permanently, so I am still not considered a full time employee. I am not allowed to live in the same house as my partner’s parents now. They said we can live in the basement, but the basement is flea infested and we have 3 days to fix it. I am beyond tired and laughing that everyone around me is suddenly radical. I have been talking about black liberation for years, why does another black man have to be murdered to mobilize folks….
            I am so very tired.
            I just want to lay down for a 100 year nap.
            I am making masks now and they do not look perfect so I am freaked out, but I am trying to work with the imperfections.

  3. I’m checked out. I’ve been checked out since Walter Scott was shot in the back by police – 5 years ago. I’m now a mother to a 5 year old boy who I’m leading down a rabbit hole of unfortunate truths like, why we can’t go to our grocery store anymore (it’s been looted), why people are looting, and why there’s people in this world who want to hurt us — all while attempting to assure him his Mommies are going to keep him safe, knowing full well it’s a promise we may not be able to keep.

    I’m guilty for not being able to show support through physically attending a protest and pissed at white influencers attending for photo ops, solely to further their brand, perform allyship and turn this moment into a gross opportunity for social capital.

    I’m just so fucking over it all, and I wish there was a magic wand I could wave to fast forward through all of this, because although this moment feels different, once the smoke clears and everyone goes back to their lives, nothing will have changed.

  4. I’m really frustrated and really sad that this is the world we live in. Even though I *been* knew, it’s just frustrating to feel like real change is happening only to be let down again. I fear that’s going to happen again this time when it’s no longer trendy. I just want to be able to live my life and not have to worry about racism? Why is that too much to ask for some folks?

    I haven’t been protesting because it’s too hot for me and my chronic illness, but I’ve been doing everything else I can to support. And taking a lot of breaks from social media/the news to not stoke my anxiety.

  5. I don’t have a child so I can only imagine the fear and anxiety you’re living with and understand checking out. I don’t think you should feel guilty. You have to protect your mental health somehow.

  6. Feeling angry, depleted, and guilty. I am a Latinx woman who is a mental health professional. My practices are rooted in social justice and multiculturalism but I can’t help but think what else can I be doing? How can I better serve my Black clients or the Black community?

    I was able to join a protest in my town and it was great to feel connected and in unity with others. Now feeling tired and awful for feeling tired.

    If I feel this way, how do Black folx feel everyday?

  7. I keep thinking I should go protest, but I don’t feel safe and I’m not-which is the whole damn problem. The sound of the helicopters (and stress) keeps giving me migraines and I want to cry about everything, but that would give me a migraine too. My younger cousin is driving a moving van across the country this week and I’m so worried for him. He isn’t as scared as he should be as a young Black man with attitude. I want him to be free to be a little smartass but that’s not this world

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