Your black friends are tired. Move on their behalf. Make space for their voices. They are tired of yelling to be heard. Make room to listen.
Listen to the stories of being in the backseat of Pop’s car in 2018 and hearing about how one day, walking down the road, Grandma Peaches was verbally assaulted by a white man because he simply didn’t like that she was walking down the street while he was driving by.
Listen to how they used to work the fields with M’dear as sharecroppers—knowing full well that share cropping was the white man’s acquiescence to the abolition of slavery.
Listen to a dark-skinned mother tell her first-born that there was a time she didn’t think her light-skinned friend would like her; because racism is so engrained in our society that it seeped into the psyche of the melanin-rich skin tones, and pitted light against dark within the history of the oppressed.
Listen to the stories of the father who was once a, “high yella,” kid who had to remember not to ride his bike on the other side of the viaduct for fear of rocks being thrown.
Listen to the stories of the brother who just wanted to be able to drive without a fleet of police officers searching his car for what we all know wasn’t there.
Listen to the stories of the brother who always loved the stage and simply wanted elf ears that matched his skin-tone so he could play his part authentically, and not look absurd.
Listen to the woman who holds two degrees, is the head of two departments and isn’t just, “the little colored girl who sings.”
Your black friends are tired. Move on their behalf. There are allies and advocates and there are partners in moving forward, but trauma is exhausting, and it seeps into the very make up of who a person is.
The years are long, and hope can often seem fleeting because the battle for equality continues and this messy war wages on…and your black friends are tired.
But through the exhaustion we continue to battle for these inalienable rights; we raise our voices, we speak, and we learn. We raise our arms and we lead—and we will not stop, but when the burden gets heavy and when the fight gets long, be the Aaron and Hur on either side holding up our arms, because your black friends are tired.
Your black friends have stories. Be a part of the narrative. Don’t ignore the battle they are waging. Come close, bring a stool, get side-by-side and hold up their arms.
“When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset.” Exodus 17:12 (NIV)