When I went to the Student of Color Conference in Santa Cruz last year, a gathering of young activists mobilizing around issues that affect minority and low-income communities, one of their great speakers told us, "be prepared to never enjoy the fruits of your labor."
It was like someone told us a secret we weren't supposed to know. It was something that was painfully true, yet familiar, something we must have known on some level but never acknowledged. I thought about the causes I had a hand in, and even more, the causes that I didn't have a hand in. I thought about the petitions I signed and didn't sign, the people holding them, the people knocking on doors and holding rallies and making movements. There's so much of it out there in the community and yet there's that universal element of it. All of us who care about something more than we are expected to, will likely never get to see the fruits of our labor.
Activism is hard. Activism is draining, tiresome, frustrating, and consuming. It is also the only way we are ever going to get out of this mess.