Madison educator and social activist Ali Muldrow believes in joyful revolution. As the Youth Programming Director and Racial Justice Youth Organizer at GSAFE, she teaches young people in our community to find their voices as agents of change through spoken word poetry. Though a tireless and courageous advocate for empowerment she knows that to be successful in the service of others it’s important to take care of oneself. In the resistance against inequality and oppression, Muldrow understands that despite the anger, fear, and hostility we might face every day the goal of any struggle is to find peace and happiness within. She posted these words of advice on her Facebook page and has graciously allowed us to share them here.

What if I told you the revolution doesn’t need your stress?

Or your overworked exhausted-ness?

What if I invited you to let go of that rage and resentment to set yourself free first?

What if I asked you to spare this movement your fear and panic at the expense of all those bitter jokes?

If I told you this movement is fueled only by your every joy?

Would you believe me?

Would you show up with a boom box and shoes unlaced?

Would you invite your little cousin to sing like church at the protest?

Would you kiss in public and call yourself courageous?

Would you hang out in your homies garden plot braiding garlic?

Would you make love more often and embrace your every ecstasy?

Would you read quietly knowing you were changing the world with each moment of chill?

Would you find yourself giving daffodils to strangers or topless in a swaying hammock?

Would you whisper sweet words to yourself in the mirror and cook dinner with a dear friend?

Would you suddenly have time to write poems or take a bike ride with your daughter?

Would you plan a vacation to someplace beautiful and savor your food for the sake of us all?

Would you pay more attention to what makes you happy?

Would you sleep in and drink wine while making art?

Would the way you feel come into focus?

Would loving people be the most important part?

Will you come to replace complaining with writing thank you notes?

Will noticing beauty become your religion?

I want to tell you the revolution will be Joyful!

Your happiness is a necessity and your love will be remembered.

~ Ali Muldrow