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Existence is Resistance!!

Updated: Jun 20

Happy Juneteenth!!

Some of you might remember the violence I experienced on Juneteenth 2020. As author and social work colleague Resmaa Menakem would say, my Black body and mere existence felt undeniably disposable to a white woman who simply saw me existing. My body, spirit, and mind were deeply and severely wounded. I carried the memory of this violence in my body, mind, and spirit, holding space for my tears and grief, and acknowledging my fears whenever I went out in public. For a long time, I refused to go anywhere without my now-husband, my defender and protector. I still struggle with PTSD in spaces where I lack community.

Today, I am on a week-long visit to Isleta land, under a contract with New Songs Rockefeller Philanthropy and Social Roots LLC, providing mental health support for young Indigenous women and femmes who are stepping into activism, resilience, and community healing within their tribes. I am incredibly honored and grateful to be here, sharing and holding space, while also learning from them. These brilliant young leaders have given me immense hope for our future.

I have been listening to elders who have survived Alcatraz, boarding schools, violence within their communities and families, and systemic oppression. I am profoundly grateful for these stories of resilience, which I needed to hear. I am eternally grateful to be alive today, creating new memories of community and healing, and continuing to walk in my purpose. The devil cannot stop what God has placed in me! They cannot kill us all, and our existence is resistance!

As an Afro-Indigenous woman, I know both of my ancestors are proud of me. I invite them and God to continue guiding me as I quiet my own voice to listen to their direction. Most importantly, I am proud of myself for healing and not being afraid to step back into this work. She tried it! But my God and divine protection is what kept me!!

Happy Juneteenth, family, and Free Palestine!

Sending love and light,

Roicia Banks Stewart, MSW, MLS

If you need context to this blog, I incuded my story in the video link below, please be mindful that it is extremely triggering.

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