Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: Overcoming Protest Fatigue
As a mother to a young Black son, the recent murders of Georgy Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor overwhelmed me with mixed emotions, to say the least. While off to school one day, my son asked if I could help him put on the hood of his jacket — and I lost it — immediately realizing this trivial habit could potentially put his life in danger down the line. Overcome with anxiety and helplessness, I could not control my tears triggered by the idea that the outside world would soon see my sweet 3-year-old boy as a “dangerous thug.” The pain from that thought alone is palpable.
For many Black people in America, living in a constant state of fear is a part of our realities. A lifetime of enduring daily microaggressions, systemic oppression, and racial violence compounded with the recent spark in global conversations and protests has left me at my emotional capacity. Although the cries of the Black community are beginning to be heard and progress is being made, there is still so much work to be done.
While I validate anyone who is fired up and ready to affect change on the frontlines, to be completely honest with you, I am exhausted. Between marches, media reports of continued racial violence, repetitive “discussions” explaining why Black lives matter, and COVID 19, we all have to take special care to listen to our limits.
Whenever needed, it's okay to take a step back. You can still do your part to engage in activism by emphasizing your day-to-day personal conversations and decisions.
For the Black Community
Still Doing My Part: Integrating Beliefs and Actions Day to Day
Institutionalized political, social, economical, psychological, and physical barriers have maintained African Americans in a state of victimhood throughout the nation’s history. These effects are subconsciously embedded within and can result in many of us unknowingly operating under the premise that Black lives do not matter, even though we know they do. Ask yourself: Am I perpetuating internalized victimhood by engaging in negative self-talk? Am I limiting myself to smaller goals and activities that I believe Black people CAN accomplish?
On the subconscious level, are you acting like you matter? Here is your validation to go reach for that audacious goal because you CAN. Support and encourage yourself throughout the day by being your own cheerleader until the rest of the world catches up. When you have a firm understanding of your personal power, you are more inclined to make empowered decisions that support this belief. Being an example for how others should see and treat you is not as easy as it seems, and although it’s not necessarily frontline activism, it’s still vital for the overall success of global change.