By Ernesto Saavedra
It’s summer in December.
As the leaves of autumn fall to make way for the winter to come, the heartbeat of the street lights up the night sky, emanating a heat that burns down cold concrete and systems not natural to our well-being. We dance and we sing to the beat of feet stomping restlessly toward justice. Paving a new road to a new day; a new world that doesn’t cost money or one’s life. Going against the grain; going against the current of oppression, we refuse to back down, but we are tired.
I am Guerrero. I am Ferguson. I am Palestine.
My mother’s eyes are tired of crying. Every line and scar on her hands hold stories of selling seafood in Tepic, Nayarit, since she was able to speak and walk. Her formal education goes to the third grade, her life education is infinite. My dad’s back is useless, working throughout his life in fields and restaurants making others wealthy while he survives check to check. He came to this country as a young man to escape poverty. Who would have guessed that in the land of the “free” he would be free to work but not to live.
Youth are tired of not being listened to. Completely dismissed and told to sit straight and get in line all their lives; waiting for an eternity to achieve that “American Dream,” whatever that is. I remember being well versed in memorizing and completing packets rather than critical thinking. We label our youth and set them up to fail. A few make it out somehow; we go to college feeling lost and unprepared because we’re the first in our families to attend.
My little sister is not happy with her complexion and weight. She is tired of striving to look a certain way in hopes to feel a certain way. Young men of color are tired of being stopped by racist police in the streets of Fresno and elsewhere. “You match the description,” “You look suspicious,” “Put your hands up or I’ll shoot.” Sometimes, it’s not even worth getting out of the house.
I am tired, and we are all tired. I’m ambivalent toward a foreign society and culture I’m encouraged to participate in but not criticize. Assimilate. Work to live, live to work. Watch TV. Go to college. Go to war. Vote. To some, this may come off as apathy. Maybe it is, but has anyone ever asked where it comes from? I like to think of it and call it resisting, and it’s the most beautiful thing one can do to make sense of this world we live in. However way we choose to resist, resist we must; the status quo is only there as long as we let them be there.
To sum it up, like civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer would say, “All my life I’ve been tired. Now I’m tired of being sick and tired.”