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  • Writer's pictureDesirae Penton-Crosley

Living up to "Justice for ALL"

Voices Unsilenced: A Yoga Studio Owner's Call for Equality, Autonomy, and Justice in America

Hello, This is Desirae from Dragon Yoga studio in Oklahoma City. And I have something to say….

I’ve run a yoga studio for over eight years and through those years overcome lots of obstacles along the way. People have asked me time and time again to share my story, and at some point I will. But I’m not doing that today. Instead, I’m facing a few of my biggest fears: writing is one and using my voice to tell you what I really believe. I’m doing this because I’m frustrated and mad, and it’s time that I speak up even if it does nothing more than to get you to pause and think.

I’ve succeeded as a business owner and a woman, and that has earned me a voice and a platform. So I’m sharing this with the knowledge (and gratitude) that many people will read it. And--I hope--share it.

Rise, Speak, Change: Igniting the Flames of Equality and Justice in America

I write with anger, frustration, fear, conviction, and hope. Our rights, yours and mine, are being stolen by those in power who fail to acknowledge the fundamental truth that we are all created equal and should be treated as such.

Here are three foundational things I know… and this is just a start.

One. Every human is human. This simple fact means that everyone has the right to love who they want and live how they want. Gender is a construct of history and culture, burdened with the baggage of the past. I don’t care about your identity, whom you love, how you dress, or which restroom you use. Nor do I mind if you change your mind about these things. We are all human, and that alone is enough. Everyone deserves the freedom to follow their heart, feel safe, and experience love.

Two. My body is mine. That includes my uterus. The only individuals entitled to an opinion about it are me and my doctor—if I choose to seek their guidance. Men who claim to speak for God have no right to opine about my uterus. They quote the Bible while standing alongside cheaters, pedophiles, rapists, and those who degrade women—a welcome home in the Republican party. Keep your opinions out of my uterus.

Three. Black lives matter. This should be evident, so why must we assert it? Some may counter with "all lives matter," but they say it to undermine the significance of Black lives—and that reveals everything. No white legislator would willingly trade places with a random Black American because they know it would mean stepping into a life shortened by higher poverty and disease rates. The system operates exactly as intended, perpetuating the inequality and exploitation rooted in slavery, albeit in subtler forms. I harbor no illusions. A yoga studio alone cannot solve underfunded schools, restricted access to loans and mortgages, inadequate healthcare, the flood of guns, or police brutality. However, a yoga studio can become a sanctuary where people from all walks of life come together, embrace one another, and find inner peace to guide them in their journey.

The years 2020 and 2021 were riddled with disasters for the world and this country. Lives and businesses crumbled. The government failed to protect us while billionaires grew richer. Even my own life fell apart. But I made a promise to myself—this tragedy must give birth to something good. The weaknesses in our society have never been more glaring. It's time to ask ourselves: Do we wish to persist in the same old ways? Do we shrug and admit that we don't care enough to bring about change? Or are we ready to rise, speak up, and build something new?

America promises liberty and justice for all. The time has come to deliver on that promise. I'm tiredof staying silent, and I'm tired of playing nice. This is my voice, and I am using it to demand a better future.

Together, let's rise strong, challenge injustice, and fight for true equality. It's time to ignite the flames of change and create a society that honors autonomy, embraces love in all its forms, and ensures justice for every individual. Join me on this journey of transformation, because together, we can build a better America.

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