I am tired. I am tired of all the talk about injustice and little action; I am tired of the racism that goes mostly unquestioned. I am tired of the poverty that takes lives every day, of walking through slums and shantytowns. I am tired of the excuses that privileged white folks make, of folks wanting to help and doing everything except holding other white people accountable, of watching kids go to school and not learn.
I am tired of working with less because of the color of my skin, I am tired of listening to privileged people complain about things that poor people can’t escape. I am tired of going to meetings where I am the only person of color, of not being heard unless a white person says it. I am tired of being talked down to and flashed pretend smiles – you know those grins white folks give you. I am tired of secret meetings, double standards, and elitism. I am tired of violence, of sexism and of self-hatred. I am tired of greed. Indeed, I am tired, just plain tired.
While I have stated that I am tired, I never stated I won’t quit. You see, tired is only temporary. You see, I find strength from THE God who promises to carry me. You see, tired does not stop pushing or being kind to my enemies. You see, tired doesn’t mean a sabbatical, instead it means a fast. You see, tired means I sit down on the bus; it means I speak out. You see, tired means God gives new direction so I can sing. You see, tired means I hunker down and pray. You see, tired means I go the extra mile; it means I carry my friend. You see, tired means I preach with more passion, and it means I write with more zeal. You see, tired means I make friends in hard places, and means we join hands across races. You see, tired means anything BUT rest. You see, its when we are at our most tired that God will show HIS best.
Tired has looked like fire hoses and long walks as we strike, jail cells, speeches and even death threats. Yet, tired returns you to a place from which you were freed, so others can join with you, taste that freedom and share it with you. Tired has sung the most soulful songs expressing the deepest of its pain, YET it has succeeded with less and much struggle.
So while I am may stand on the shoulders of tired today, I know that I – no we, those of us who share in the tired, will get on OUR way.
(Leroy Barber is the Global Executive Director of Word Made Flesh and the Chairman of the CCDA Board of Directors)