It’s human nature to turn away from suffering.
These times call for a different response.
A response also rooted in human nature, but one that arises intermittently across American history—standing in our discomfort as we sustainably continue the struggle for social justice.
I say “sustainably” because:
Momentum can be lost quickly.
Activists and helping professionals burn out easily.
American culture quickly steers potential allies back to consumerism and a model of perfectionistic parenting, rather than a life of giving and social activism.
For the most part, if you’re white, middle-class, able-bodied, heterosexual, and/or Christian, you have privileges—reserves of time, money, energy, and support. You can use these privileges as you educate and act in the name of equality and justice.
You have power and privilege to bolster you and amplify your voice; put them to good use and be ready to give them up. Now is the time to be a true and active ally for the long haul. Don’t lose this momentum in a week, a month, a year, ten years…
Sometimes, you may need to tend to your personal wellbeing and to take breaks from the stories of suffering you hear and read.
Please return soon, though. We need you.
Learn to hold the suffering of others and act to alleviate it.
If you’re a person of color, LGBTQI2-S, Muslim, with disabilities, without documents, or of any other oppressed group, I wish you justice, respect, safe spaces, and wellbeing. You deserve to have people fight for justice beside you, as well as on your behalf when you need to restore yourself after facing hate crimes and microaggressions. Continue reading