A note for context This love letter from Nastasia Lawton-Sticklor to all of us marks the beginning of her Climate Disobedience Center fellowship year. We are overjoyed to welcome her to this part of our team! - Marla and Leif
In his book Freedom Dreams; The Black radical imagination, Robin DG Kelley quotes his daughter Elleza Kelley saying:
The kind of citizenship I dream of is one where we acknowledge our attachment to each other, desire to be attached to one another, in relations other than property relations. Where serving the other is a way of serving the self. It sounds very romantic, but isn’t that the origin of all the things we want to make and bring into the world? The power of the love letter is that it is written without the guarantee of a response.
Kelley then responds: “And what are radical social movements if not love letters”? (Kelley, 2022, p.xl)
My love letter started out as I imagine many do: full of earnest yet grandiose promises, eager and somewhat naive ideas tumbling out of my head faster than I could record them, and missteps scratched out and rewritten, my original mistakes showing faintly underneath my attempts to correct. Joining in the work of Climate Disobedience Center and the No Coal No Gas campaign in 2019 introduced me to the community that has held me as I continued to write my love letter with growing intentionality.
More than once, my love letter has turned into a bitter breakup missive. I cannot possibly continue to send love that is met with greed, indifference to suffering, and arrogance. Surely my reserves will be depleted. And yet Elleza Kelley and this community remind me that the power of our love letters, our movement, is that we need not enter or continue in this work for the response. The act of writing our hope, our joy, and our love in and of itself can strengthen our resolve and bolster our connectedness. Together, our reserves can sustain.
I am overjoyed to be joining Climate Disobedience Center as a fellow to engage full time in supporting our communities in this work. And when I say overjoyed, I mean shut-the-door-turn-off-the-mic-and-jump-up-and-down-squealing overjoyed. I know a better world is possible, because I have seen it in this community. Whether or not we ever get a response, our movement is writing a deeply poignant love letter to each other and our planet.
May our words be true and our ink soak through.
Image Description: Natty stands in
front of a tree, smiling widely.