Being in this line of work can often be discouraging. We see a lot.

Deaths, police shootings, sexual assault, the strategic underfunding of public education, racist politicians, a stripping of basic human rights.

But I’ve been doing a lot of reading of works by Black and Brown thinkers in the last few weeks, many of whom have been engaged in movement work and activism for decades.

Through reading their words, I’ve found that while despair, frustration and anger are all valid, real reactions to the insanity of our world, dwelling in these emotions for too long and letting them fester and shift into resignation is the ultimate privilege.

It’s okay to be upset; unimaginably upsetting things are happening every day in the world.

But people continue to fight against injustice. And to be deflated for too long, to let the bastards win, to resign ourselves to “What is the point?” lines of thinking does nothing to create the changes we want to see in the world. And if those amongst us who are the most marginalized — Black people, indigenous people, people fighting against oppressive regimes, trans people, undocumented people — can continue to fight, must continue to fight, because there is no other option, it is up to the rest of us to carry that burden with them.

Because even if we don’t immediately see the fruits of our efforts today, tomorrow or even in the next decade, we have to believe that our struggle for justice will have an impact for the next generation and beyond.

It’s as abolitionist and activist Mariame Kaba says: “Hope is not optimism. Hope is a discipline… we have to practice it every single day.”

And the more I do this work, the more I see that hope and action every day.

I see it when I watch protesters march in the streets, their feet tired from every step, their faces glistening with sweat. I see it as I record the words of mothers who have lost their sons to police violence speak at rallies. I see it when tenants go door to door, asking their neighbors what they need to survive, and then thrive. I see it as young people take up this work of asking questions, pushing back and speaking truth to power. I see it in all of us.

And that’s more than enough hope for me.

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