Here are some excerpts from the Berkley Center celebrating this pagan insanity:
"A circle of flowers forms a sanctuary honoring the space where George Floyd was murdered by police. According to residents I talked to, like Larry Holderfield, the inner sanctum of that circle of flowers is referred to as “church” by the community.
Mourners enter the inner sanctum as if entering a holy space. They quiet themselves. They kneel. They cry. They sit in silence to reflect and grieve. The sites where black people are killed by police often become altars—sacred spaces to mourn Black death.
Black Lives Matter (BLM) chapters, along with organizations affiliated with the larger movement for Black lives, channel deep grief and trauma caused by racial injustice into political action through a spiritually informed movement. They are fueled by a faith that consistently celebrates Black life.
Melina Abdullah, chair of the Department of Pan-African Studies at California State University, Los Angeles, and co-founder of BLM-LA, opened the event explaining that while the movement is a social justice movement, it is FIRST AND FOREMOST A SPIRITUAL MOVEMENT.
She led the group in a ritual: the reciting of names of those taken by state violence before their time—ancestors now being called back to animate their own justice:
“George Floyd. Asé. Philandro Castille. Asé. Andrew Joseph. Asé. Michael Brown. Asé. Erika Garner. Asé. Harriet Tubman. Asé. Malcom X. Asé. Martin Luther King. Asé.”
As each name is recited, Dr. Abdullah poured libations on the ground as the group of over 100 chanted “Asé,” a Yoruba term often used by practitioners of Ifa, a faith and divination system that originated in West Africa, in return. This ritual, Dr. Abdullah explained, is a form of worship.
Those participating see themselves as the carriers of the tradition. The inheritors of the duty to protect Black life.
The movement infuses a syncretic blend of African and indigenous cultures’ spiritual practices and beliefs, embracing ancestor worship; Ifa-based ritual such as chanting, dancing, and summoning deities; and healing practices such as acupuncture, reiki, therapeutic massage, and plant medicine in much of its work, including protest. That work, though, often remains invisible. "
The Fight for Black Lives is a Spiritual Movement