Letter from Lola Kirke

Dear family,

I am so excited (and of course mildly anxious) about spending time together at the end of this week.

I just wanted to reach out and share that I think in light of recent political events, it is incredibly important for us all to be as informed and conscientious as we can about this country's past, present, and future. Today, I want to draw our attention to the celebration of Thanksgiving. 

For many people (myself included), this holiday has always has been of somewhat murky origin, something to do with us white people being really nice and peacefully breaking bread with savage Indians in New England and turkeys made out of hands. It also meant a surplus of food leftover in vain, and for me personally, walking around for the rest of the day with at least the top two buttons of my jeans undone. 

But the true implications of the holiday involve mass genocide of indigenous peoples, the theft of native lands, and the beginning of the systemic racism that has kept Native American communities violently marginalized and entirely overlooked by the US Government. 

That system is still very much in place, as evidenced by the battle for clean fucking water on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota RIGHT NOW. Many of you already know lots about this, but basically a bunch of rich white men want to profit from a 3.8 billion dollar pipeline that would ruin the water supply for the reservation and destroy their sacred land. Thousands of water protectors are being tear gassed, shot with rubber bullets, and arrested daily during their non-violent protests. It is completely fucking insane.  

So out of respect for these atrocities, I think we shouldn't celebrate Thanksgiving this year or for that matter any year. We can still get together and resent each other and all that, but I think we should redirect the purpose of our gathering to something less rooted in the oppression of other people. Maybe it can just be a day to actually hold space for the love we have for each other and be grateful for the tremendous privileges we have, one of which is being part of a family unit that is politically likeminded. But it is not enough to simply label ourselves “liberal." Especially not now. We have to act it too.

So I'll get off my soap box now, but not before I pass on a link to the Oceti Sakowin, an encampment of water protectors who desperately need our donations of cash, firewood, winterized teepees, and other supplies that can help get them through the brutal winter as they continue to fight for their land and their access to clean water. If you want to know others ways to honor and help the cause, check this out too. Additionally, a group of activists I have been meeting with have set up our own gofundme to purchase some of these supplies. 

With so much love and gratitude,