Alaí Reyes-Santos, Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies, University of Oregon

Alaí Reyes-Santos, Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies, University of Oregon

“As an educator, I imagine with others water futures that include us all; that do not privilege some over others like in Octavia Butler’s novel Parable of the Sword.

As an iyalocha, a tradition keeper of Afro-Caribbean spirituality, I pray every day that we all remember our interdependence with water.

I thank these waters and lands for hosting me here. I pray for the Oregon rivers that nurture me, a migrant. I pray that the ancestral guardians of Oregon waters since time immemorial are recognized as such by all. That their rights to access watersheds for fishing, harvesting, ceremony are always honored. That those of us not-indigenous to this place honor indigenous knowledge, environmental stewardship, and sovereignty.

Every morning as I pray, I look at the sky. I give thanks for the rain as it falls in Winter. I thank the river for cooling the earth, nurturing plant and animal life, and protecting us from unnecessary drought, fires, smoke. I thank the trees and shrubs that keep moisture in the dry and wet seasons.

As the rain drops hit my face, I thank the sky for hearing our prayers, us humbling ourselves in front of nature.  I hope that we all seek to heal our relationship to water and embody ways of being that enable its existence and ours.”