This blog is dedicated to the frontline grassroots community activists who are on the ground meeting community members where they are, irrespective of where they come from. In fact, not all disruptors and societal agitators are born in the communities they represent. The radical rebel-rousers who hold the torches of freedom shine the light on the path to liberation for others to travel. The lifetime marathon for civil rights is a daily sprint for justice that can be draining to the Freedom Fighter. From time to time the torch must be passed from one runner to the next.
As a child I was amazed how birds would fly in a triangular formation like a “V.” Later, as an adult I learned that mass aviary migration; or when birds fly in an apex formation, is done to counter wind sails and gusts to make their flight less burdensome by flying in a pattern that reduces tailwind drag and increases capacity to fly further against stalling wind. Also, I learned that the bird who leads the triangular pattern at the front does not stay there the entire journey. When one bird is fatigued it will fall back and allow another to navigate who has more energy. The bird who fell back in the formation is then carried by the upwind caused by the other birds flying which gives each bird who leads a chance to rest and be carried by the others.
Freedom Fighters can learn from this observation in nature and apply its wisdom to avoid burnout, survivor’s guilt, PTSD, and undiagnosed medical conditions. Over time, unaddressed health concerns can undermine the role of the Freedom Fighter; that role which protects, liberates, and uplifts the weak, entrapped, and fallen. The work will always be present – we will not be. To maximize the efforts of the Freedom Fighter, mindfulness, meditation, self-care, and peace is vital. The supreme law and most common basic instinct of all living things is self-preservation. To preserve the torch of freedom, we must work with our brothers and sisters and know when to pass the torch on to the next runner in the race to end racism.
The Olympic Torch Relay is a tradition that began in ancient Greece. The burning torch is lit in Olympia, Greece, and travels to the destination of the Olympic games; the burning flame is passed from one athlete to the next until it arrives at the appointed location. The flame is a symbol of unity, a sacred fire that exists in each of us. The bearer of the torch is charged with preserving the flame at all costs until he reaches the next runner.
It is not uncommon for an Olympic torch’s flame to burn out or to become extinguished. When it does occur, the torch is relit, or a backup torch is used. There is no shame or dishonor to the bearer of a torch that goes out, as long as it is relit and reaches its destination. There is no doubt that Freedom Fighters will face storms, winds, and downpours like Olympic torch relay runners – but like millions of eagles soaring in an apex formation we can be lean, rested, and unified.
There is power in numbers: Peace to the Freedom Fighter who also fights for themselves.
Written By: Joshua Sams