Whether or not you use this curriculum, that’s your choice. How you engage with a timeline on the internet, that’s your choice. And yet, here is what we want to say to you: we know that the impact of generations of medical racism, of diagnosis in relationship to the ideas of “normal” bodies, and of eugenics and forced experimentation depends on the ability of someone – the doctor, the researcher, the therapist, the academic, the detention officer, the judge – to strip someone of their complex humanity and turn them into an object to be fixed or solved or discarded or controlled. The more generations your people have lived within the empire/nation that is the U.S., the more likely it is that you haven conditioned to experience your own life and the life of those around you as, in some way, objects. This is what internalized oppression does. This is what internalized supremacy does. Neither in the same way, and both with a similar strategy.
Our curriculum asks you to resist this. It asks you to engage with this timeline as a practice of reconnection. It asks you to pay attention to what comes up inside you and to pay attention to those who surround you, known and not known.
We do not want anything on this timeline to be experienced as only information. Every one of the facts listed here points to a story; to a weave of real people living real lives in real time. Too many of us have been conditioned to meet something like this timeline as though it is just a series of disconnected information bits for us to learn.
We have broken the curriculum down into three sections: mapping the context and conditions of your home and life as you respond to COVID -19, transforming and holding trauma in this work, and working with systems and conditions. We invite you to approach the timeline through all three layers of curriculum. While they can be done in any order, the section on transforming and holding trauma is how we honor and ask you to remember alongside us that everything on this timeline is personal. Some of it might have happened to you. Some of it did not. Our invitation is that you use this section to better understand how you are responding to and transforming the truth of this pain, even as you are going deeper into understanding and practice.
You can use this curriculum individually, but our greatest hope is that you work with this material as part of a group. This could be a group of friends and/or colleagues. It could be with family members or neighbors. If you have formed or are part of some kind of mutual aid or collective care network, aspects of this curriculum will help strengthen your work together.
For many, this pandemic has been about isolation. We offer this curriculum in the hope that it supports new and deepened connection.
Reflection and integration
Hopefully, you will have moved through the timeline and worked with some of the curriculum offered as part of this work. Having moved through these questions and this process, what has changed about your relationship to this pandemic we are all living within? What is the same?
We write this knowing that the pandemic is not over. We also know that we live in a time of shifting climate; a time when the patterns of how we are connected to each other and how we survive are rapidly shifting. This is also a time of resistance and renewal. All around us we see new or renewed strategies for keeping communities safe and well that centers the inherent dignity of each individual and collective life. Our goal with this work is to hold both at the same time and without contradiction: the stark truth of violence and its impact along with the connecting joy of love and connection to ourselves, our kin, to land and to spirit.
How are you different as a result of living through all of what 2020 contained? How does this impact your sense of the future? What, at the most concrete level, can you deepen or create that brings you closer to connection while also expanding the places where you tell the truth about what has to end?
If this work has been important for you, please tell us about it. We will keep updating this COVID timeline even as, in the coming year, we work on the second much larger timeline. Come back to see the updates. Notice if and how any of the updates expand your relationship to the stories you read. And then come back and ask yourselves these questions, or questions like these, again in five years, ten and more.
Here’s praying that all of us end up with different answers; ones that keep expanding and lifting up our connections and repair while decreasing the number of stories of violence and disregard that need repeating.