Why Resisting in Place?

Resisting in Place
3 min readJul 4, 2020

Resistance means so many things to so many people. Depending on who you ask it looks different, feels different, is enacted differently.

It can be existence within a space, intentional action within a space, the ability to live in a manner that is freeing — to experience joy, laughter, love in in the midst of adversity, it is survival, it is all of these things.

And ultimately, the hope resting within resistance is that it will result in a shift in both narrative and experience that will aid in the shifting of power dynamics.

I’ve spoken a bit previously about how this project came to be but I want to take a moment to underscore the why — why this work is so deeply critical, urgent, and important.

Nationwide we’ve seen calls for ways that citizens can act. “Educate yourself and your people! Donate your time and your money! Join an organization! Attend a direct action / protest! Use your voice and post on social media! VOTE!” And while all of these actions are important and valuable, I was still met with questions from friends. Many were committed to doing this work in the present but wanted to know how they could integrate this work into their everyday lives.

Across industries, institutions, and creative expressions, Black folks have found a way to fight in the spaces that they’re in. White supremacy doesn’t start and stop at police and prisons. It permeates every space that affects the health, wellness, and vitality of those most marginalized. Education, housing, healthcare, the built environment — what does it mean to be actively and intentionally anti-racist and resistant within THESE spaces? What does it mean to infuse Black experience and Black voice as integral to the understanding of a space versus an addition or aside? Bigger than Black faces in high spaces, how do we value Black teachings, Black histories, Black rituals, Black experiences as North stars in understanding us all and the work that we do everyday?

Within what we’ve known as knowledge and language and all of the things that Americans seem to hold dear, to what degree do you find the integration and amplification of Black voices? Each day a Black person is walking into their job or speaking in front of an industry as the sole carrier of that legacy. They’re the lone voice at the meeting or conference challenging white supremacy as a guiding ideology and framework for the work that they do. They’re the person in the meeting calling the question of why and insisting that Black experience be at the forefront.

These people are often ostracized, characterized as difficult, pushed out, and ignored. And while they fight this fight, often alone or one of few in the space that they’re in, they are not met with amplification. They are met with complaints that this movement has “no strategy or agenda” and that their concerns are “anecdotal.”

They, too, are the movement. The movement has to happen in an integrated and interdisciplinary way in all spaces and places. Black people and Black experiences need to be advocated for, protected, amplified, and valued in all spaces and places. Every system must be anti-racist and centered in the experiences of those most marginalized to be truly “inclusive.”

Resisting in Place amplifies the people who are doing the work. Who are making an effort in the space that they’re in, from the most accessible pathways for resistance to the most imaginative and disruptive. It provides a roadmap that others can see themselves in and contribute to. It creates an opportunity for everyone to get close to this work in a number of ways. And most importantly, Resisting in Place calls everyone to act. Because as the old adage prescribes, “if you can see it, you can be it.”



Resisting in Place

Resisting in Place is a nationwide initiative highlighting the work of Black Americans who are fighting racism and white supremacy within their own industries,