Why Black Activists Have To Rest

And why they (we) need your support

In partnership with

Hello friends,

There’s something I’ve noticed recently - a huge number of (mostly Black) anti-racism activists and DEI professionals stepping away for a while - or even semi-permanently. It’s not because they don’t care. And it’s not because this isn’t a lifelong commitment. It’s because they’re getting burned out and tired.

As I’ve said many times before, we don’t just educate people about racism; we live it. And we feel it every single time there’s another injustice. Some of those feel even closer to home, depending on our identity and our habits. For example, a lot of Black joggers thought twice about that form of exercise after Ahmaud Arbery was killed.

Many people have been doing this work for decades. And even those who’ve only committed fully to it in the last three to four years are tired - because there’s a slew of things we have to put up with that make this even harder.

  • Feeling like people want you to justify your humanity before they will care, or support your work is bloody exhausting.

  • The sheer number of Black people getting killed is exhausting.

  • The legal issues are exhausting.

  • If you have intersectional identities and are battling for equality on several fronts, that’s exhausting too.

It’s not unusual for many of us to be trying to do the work while coping with feelings of heaviness, anger, sadness and more. Burnout is real, too.

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One of my sister-friends said that she only vacationed in Black-majority countries so she didn’t have to deal with the white gaze on holiday. Because having to do that on the daily, and be hypervigilant both for yourself and your kids, is exhausting too.

So yes, it isn’t a surprise that some activists and educators are taking a break for weeks at a time to rest and recharge, and to reconsider how much of themselves they can afford to give to the fight against racism without compromising their own health and wellbeing.

We know that anti-racism is a lifestyle, not a diet, and therefore a lifelong commitment.

So as activists - as Black and Global Majority people, and ESPECIALLY as Black women - you know why - we need to give ourselves permission to rest and to seek joy.

And for those who consider themselves anti-racism advocates, it’s important to use your voice - and your funds - to offer unwavering support to lived experiencers so they can get the rest they need.

Thanks for reading my perspective,

Sharon

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I am an anti-racism educator and activist, Co-Founder of Mission Equality, the author of “I’m Tired of Racism”, and co-host of The Introvert Sisters podcast.

© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2024. All Rights Reserved. This newsletter is published on beehiiv (affiliate link).

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