The Mercy Issue / by Simone Jones


Issue one is the Mercy Issue, in this issue we’re going to discuss forgiving ourselves and finding freedom in the process. It’s the issue in which we speak out against all the ways we are punished and vilified for existing as femme people of color. We are accepting truthful, thoughtful and poetic expression from the community in the form of written work (essays, poetry articles, interviews, short stories, etc,) photography and illustration on the subject of forgiveness and healing.

    Deciding to forgive or not forgive another is easy; we are taught early on in life that the possibility for forgiveness of people who have wronged us is entirely our decision. Authority and power are instilled in us from young, we are taught to use our values and patience to chose whether we can show compassion when we’ve been hurt. Sometimes it’s necessary that we don’t, sometimes it’s vital that we make it known that certain actions are unforgivable. There are specific wrongs that can never be made right. They are acts of violence, cruelty and dehumanizing abuse that are socially and spiritually corrupt. I’m sure your mind can take you to examples of these acts so I’ll avoid listing them in detail.

    Our moral compass allows us to decide what denotes the good and the bad, the forgivable and the unforgivable. Somehow judgement is skewed when it comes to giving ourselves a second chance. Why is it hard to believe that we are less capable of forgiving ourselves than forgiving others? Ideally, we would be the most compassionate and forgiving when it comes to self. But as femme people, we have been exposed to expectations of existing as a perfect being since childhood, abusive behavior in our communities and in the media is expected in some form or another. We take on the mistreatment, prejudice and racism we face as black and brown women and carry the burden on our backs. It eventually becomes part of our identity, almost as if the repression is some sort of confirmation of womanhood.

    I’m inspired and grateful to see the many, many women in our neighborhoods, in online communities and out in the world refusing to accept the misogyny as part of the feminine existence. The rise of femmes calling out the bigotry and inequality has made room to show ourselves mercy. For the premiere issue of Protest Magazine, we’d like to discuss the radical act of healing and forgiveness. Below are some key words and subjects the general public has used to villainize women and in turn caused us women to punish ourselves:

Women needing public assistance, Assault survivors, Unplanned pregnancy, women’s reproductive health, Mental illness, physical illness, sex-working women, Women involved in the justice system, addiction