I started off great. I joined in the panel discussions, attended the classes and webinars, did some advocacy work, and promoted the website to others. There was an energy in the work. Engaging with the Racial Justice Network was challenging and rewarding.
Now that the initial energy has worn off, I find it harder to engage. I let other things distract me from reading, listening, and finding ways to stay involved. I even hide sometimes from the hard work of staying.
How does one stay? It is easy to imagine that the work of racial justice will continue if I just drop out because no one will miss me; and it will. But imagine if everyone just dropped out because they were tired or bored or confused or hurt.
As I think about the work of racial justice this week, I imagine that I could say, “It’s the holidays” and “I’ll engage that afterward” as an excuse to disengage from the work. Meanwhile, injustice stays; racial profiling stays; housing discrimination stays; economic inequity stays; and the need for training, advocacy, and community engagement stays.
The challenge of staying is the challenge of doing the same thing you did at the beginning, even when you’re tired or bored or confused or hurt.
I am tired—tired of waking up to the same world I woke up to yesterday or last year, a world that sees only whiteness as the pinnacle of humanity. And because I’m white, it would be easy to disengage. But the work needs to go on; and everyone is tired; and everyone needs justice; and everyone deserves to be seen as fully human—the image of God. And no one is more tired than the people who are being marginalized, profiled, and discriminated against.
I will end with a paraphrase of something my wife said to me: If you’re tired, stay. If you’re bored, stay. If you’re confused, stay. If you’re hurt, stay. Continue the work and allow God to work through you.
Be at peace as you stay in the work, God’s work. And know that you are loved.