I never wanted to run a marathon, but here we are.
When these protests first started, I had no idea what to do, how to help, how to support my Black and POC friends as they spoke out about the injustice they were facing. I learned, and I’m still learning.
What I think I’m learning about most is the exhaustion.
This hell-train we’ve stepped onto is a whirling dervish of fever-dreams, Wonderland nonsense, and Nazis that somehow manages to be both draining and infuriating. I’ve been on it for 35 days, to my reckoning, and I am constantly at risk of just… stepping off. I’m done with this ride. I want off.
But that’s the thing: I have the option to leave. So many others don’t.
To my Black and POC friends: I have 35 days under my belt. I have no idea how you deal with this 24/7. This world I am glimpsing in passing is exhausting to the extreme. I say this not to complain, but to convey my awe at your strength, and to offer my hand or shoulder if you need some support or a break or a white wall between you and an asshole.
To my white friends: Because we have the option to step off this ride, we can’t. We just… Can’t. We cannot leave the Black community to fight this fight alone. If we stop giving them space, stop listening, if we let their voice get drowned out, we are complicit in their oppression.
No matter how exhausted we are, no matter how tempting it is to look away, to stop sharing posts, to stop protesting and correcting ignorance and fending off bigots, we CAN’T. Because no matter how exhausted we are, the Black community is more so. We’ve only been here a month. This is reality for Black folks every day, always.
So here’s my thought, fellow white folks:
I don’t run, but I am told by humans with motivation that sprinting is different than running a marathon. This isn’t a sprint, so we can’t act like it.
We have to run a marathon.
Don’t burn yourself out. We need to be in this for the long haul. So choose one or two or three things that you can do, and do those well, and consistently. Make it your pattern. Build it into your life, so that it isn’t a ‘Until this is over’ thing so much as a ‘This is part of me, now’ thing.
Those of you who can go to protests, you do that. You’re our front line.
But some folks- many folks- can’t. There’s a lot of other options. I’ve personally found my place trying to fact-check what I see on social media as much as possible, provide references, and disseminate good information from accredited sources. Find your thing!
Medium has a great list here of things people can do here:
The point is to find something. Find anything. Do not be the person who has to tell your grandchildren you just stood by.
Be the revolution. Support our Black peers, and lift their voices up.
Black Lives Matter is never going to stop being a thing. Don’t give it a time table, or a chance to expire. Make it your life.