An open letter to activists

Dear activists,

Be kind to yourself.

It’s important to pay attention to criticism, to be aware of your privileges, to challenge your assumptions, to listen to and respect the voices of people who are marginalized.  It’s important to work in good faith to build bridges with people unlike yourself, to work together for the liberation of all.

But while you’re doing that, take care of yourself.

We live in a culture of speed, a culture that demands everything–including thoughtful responses to complex, messy, painful issues–right now. But sometimes, that isn’t possible. And that’s ok. It’s ok to step back and take some time to process. It’s ok to let people know you’re listening, and then give your brain and heart a break before returning to the work.

And keep in mind that by committing yourself to that work, you’re already doing more than most people.

I am in awe of the work you do. I don’t know how you do it, day after day, in addition to the work of making a living and making a life.

Activism opens you up to criticism, both internal and external. But it also means that you’re already going above and beyond what it takes to be a decent human being. Don’t forget that.

As it says in the Pirkei Avot: “It is not your responsibility to finish the work of perfecting the world, but nor are you are not free to desist from it.”

Much love and respect,

7 thoughts on “An open letter to activists

  1. Pingback: Self-care is important for activists, too | Radically Mad

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