How My Dreams Got Me Thinking About How To Change Gun Violence

ancestors prayers safety for black bodies Sep 11, 2023

Hey Y'all -


I've recently been having dreams that carry a warning: the old structures are collapsing and no one is paying attention.


In these dreams, I seem to be the only one aware of the catastrophe happening all around. I am trying to raise the alarm and get people to safety, but NO ONE is hearing my pleas. Everyone was blissfully unaware of the tragedy that has befallen us.


When working this dream with my dream group, I realized that in real life, I, too, have been silent about the epidemic of gun violence -- especially by police against unarmed Black men -- that is rearing its ugly head again.


I thought about holding a Grief Circle or making myself available in other ways, but the truth is I am not resourced enough myself to hold space for others right now. I'm frustrated, depleted, and terrified for my 12-year old Black male child. And it's paralyzing. 


But I am committed to living from dreams and divination, so....


I'm heeding the dream and going step back into the first role in my dream: that of the unsilent one.

In the first 3 days of this year, the Los Angeles Police Department used excessive on three separate occasions resulting in the deaths of 3 men of color: Keenan Anderson, Oscar Leon Sanchez and Takar Smith. 


Each was exhibiting signs of mental distress. Each of the three men was unarmed.


Then, in California over a span of 8 days, 25 more people were murdered through egregious gun violence - 11 people died at the Lunar New Year shooting in Monterey Park, 7 at a mushroom farm in Half Moon Bay and 7 more in Goshen, CA in a targeted execution


And with the recent release of the Tyree Nichols video, we are thrust right back into what Saidiya Hartman calls "Scenes of Subjection," and what I call Black Death Porn.


The internet is rife with all kinds of analysis about the video:

  • how re-traumatizing rewatching such violence is for Black folks
  • how perpetually watching the this kind of violence normalizes it
  • how police-on-Black violence is entrenched in the fabric of our society
  • about the difference in punishment when the offending officers are Black

and on and on.


I don't have anything to add to this scrutiny, except to echo that you do not need to watch the video to decry this type of violence/murder or to demand police reform.


I hope that you too can find your inner resource to be unsilent with me and continue to denounce unmitigated gun violence, to call for new policies for police interaction, and to living into your humanity.  


It's the only way for it to become visible.


I'd love to hear where you are with all of this, . Hit reply and let me know.


In Liberation,



I invite you to say the names of these souls that have been martyred:

Keenan Anderson

Oscar Leon Sanchez

Takar Smith

Tyree Nichols


Monterey Park - Lunar New Year mass shooting

Xiujuan Yu

Hongying Jian

Lilan Li

Mymy Nhan

Muoi Dai Ung

Diana Man Ling Tom

Wen-Tau Yu

Valentino Marcos Alvero

Ming Wei Ma

Yu-Lun Kao

Chia Ling Yau


Mushroom Farm mass shooting in Half Moon Bay

Marciano Martinez Jimenez

Jose Romero

Zhishen Liu

Aixiang Zhang

Qizhong Cheng

Yetao Bing

Jingzhi Lu


Targeted Execution in Goshen, CA

Eladio Parraz

Marcos Parraz

Jennifer Analla

Rosa Parraz

Elyssa Parraz and her 10-month-old son, Nycholas Parraz

A 7th unnamed person

🙏🏾 Ashé 🙏🏾

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