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Root Work Journal - Convening in the Ark - Volume 1, Issue 1

A Litany for Survival, A requiem for Love

derrika l. hunt 

University of California, Berkeley 





I wrote the message below as a love letter, a litany for survival, and a requiem for love. Perhaps it is a bricolage of words trying to imagine what it means to convene in the arc, what it means to honor black and sacred sites of revelation. And so I wrote this kaleidoscope of words to fellow graduate students and col- leagues during a time of deep crisis. I wrote this because many of us were and still are hurting as we expected the university, a place I have always been told was a site of refuge, to tend to our wounds. Instead, the university, this place that has been constructed as a place of healing, exacerbated already gaping wounds. It was in this crisis that I came to realize that the university is not what I always thought it was, but we, black women, can, and always do turn destruction into something beautiful. Convening in the Ark for me in this context, at this moment means writing as an act of revelation. In that sense, the university is a burial ground of sorts in the way it resembles the holding cell, and all the ways it reproduces the logics of death. I conjure all the ways my foremothers have reclaimed, reimagined, reconfigured, remade this space. I remember all the ways we have turned a burial ground into a garden. Here is an homage to the legacy of growing, cultivating, and making in the site of destruction. Here is a reminder to myself and others that the project of the university was never to love us, it was never designed to be the place for us to find the care and hope we are yearning for. But with our bare hands, we make bloom otherwise.

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