Feels Blind Literary, Issue #5

Winter 2020

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Stairs To

Chris Biles

While I ended election night in 2016 crying and drinking straight from a bottle of wine with one of my best friends, over the next 24 hours I got to work. I put the pieces in place to launch Feels Blind Literary; I planned a benefit for Safe Harbor and Health Brigade, two local nonprofits that serve communities I knew would be directly impacted by a Trump presidency; and I had four difficult but necessary back-to-back conversations with my college students, I still have no idea how I managed to get through those classes or start planning a benefit and a magazine, working on zero hours of sleep. I was running on pure adrenaline, fueled by anger and uncertainty.

Four years with Trump at our helm proved worse than I could have ever imagined during those 24 hours in 2016, however—children in cages, family separations, forced sterilizations at the border, equating white supremacists with peaceful protestors, politicizing a public health crisis that’s resulted in the deaths of over 300,000 Americans and counting. Still, I launched Feels Blind as a direct response to Trump, seeing the project as one small way to elevate the voices I was certain his regime would try to silence, and since I repeatedly have witnessed these voices refusing to stay quiet in too many ways to count. As a result, a large percentage of our population finally started listening to #BLM activists, agreeing there needs to be systematic changes to policing in this country. A record number of people voted in the general election and Trump was defeated, first when President-elect Joe Biden was named the projected winner on November 7th, then time and time again in the courts and via recounts. Black female activists largely were responsible for flipping Georgia blue and have the chance to do so again in the January Senate runoffs. Two COVID-19 vaccines have been authorized. Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, a Black woman, is the key scientist behind the Moderna vaccine, a vaccine that also was funded in part by Dolly Parton. Personally, I've seen my college students become more civic-minded each semester. I've made many new friends though protesting, volunteering, publishing, and canvassing. I've also had the privilege of working with a badass team of editors and collaborators at Feels Blind, women who support each other and inspire me. Basically, I got comfortable AF in my own skin over these past four years and I've witnessed this happening with mostly everyone I know and love as well, many continuing to speak out or discovering their activist voices for the first time.


I write all of this now to remind myself of where we are at this moment. We can't be complacent with taking back the White House or even winning the Georgia runoffs in January. Trump is a mere symptom of a much larger problem in this country. If these four years have taught us nothing else, I hope they've taught each of us that we have so much individual power and even more collective power, power we can harness to continue pushing for meaningful change at the local and national level. We need to completely reinvent what's possible in this country for all of us, but especially for those who are the most marginalized among us. 

 

Thank you to all of those who shared your brilliant stories and art with Feels Blind Literary over the years, trusting us with your work. And a huge thank you to all of those activists who continue to do far more than me and push me to be a better person every single day. There are more of you than I could have ever imagined four years ago. It was important for us to launch Issue #5 on the Winter Solstice, as it felt symbolic that we'll now gain an hour of sunlight each day going forward as we inch toward spring. While this project emerged from my love for punk rock and a need to act in the face of anger and uncertainty, our commitment to this publication now is fueled by hope and a determination to push for change. We hope you enjoy the pieces in this issue as much as we do. I can't wait to see what we do together next. XO, Lindsay