At church, we sing a song, “I’m Not Tired Yet,” that gives me the energy and the inspiration to persevere. Originally performed by The Mississippi Mass Choir, “I’m Not Tired Yet” allows you to leave your bed in the morning with a positive approach to the day, filled with a spirit of purpose, commitment and charity.
In light of the current administration, this song offers us a different approach to life in these United States. Instead of getting lost in a political “pity party” of remorse and regret, we are directed to get up and do something other than engaging in idle speech or speculation about a (possible) four-year Trump administration. We mustn’t waste time and begin and sustain a conversation about moving forward, despite those who wish to take us back to the ugliest periods in our history.
Yes, we can
To conquer the monstrous Trump administration, we must believe that together we have the strength – intellectual, spiritual, emotional and physical – to face all the adversity thrown in our path. We will suffer casualties, but we have historical examples that prove we can overcome and prevail.
Think on these lyrics: “Been working for Jesus a long time. (I’m not tired yet.) …Been running by day and praying by night. (I’m not tired yet.) I’ve gotta get going. It’s a mighty hard fight. (I’m not tired yet.) (No, I’m not tired yet.) I’ve been serving the Lord a long time. (I’m not tired yet.)”
Think of Fannie Lou Hamer, who was threatened, kicked, beaten and displaced because she sought the right to vote. Think how she persisted under threat of grave bodily harm and inspired a nation to embrace her cause.
Think about them
Think about Amelia Boynton who, on Selma, Alabama’s Edmund Pettis Bridge, faced Alabama state troopers who beat and kicked her until she was unconscious. Think of her self-sacrifice and the reward of walking across that same bridge, fifty years later, hand-in-hand with President Barack Obama, who honored her for her courage.
Think of Rosa Parks, who stood for us all by sitting on a bus in defiance of racist practices. And, 11 years before Rosa Parks sat on that bus, don’t forget Irene Morgan, a woman recuperating from the loss of a child who, in rural Virginia, refused to give up her seat to a White couple. Irene knew nothing about non-violence training, but she had the courage to physically fight for the right to keep her seat.
Think of Diane Nash, who sat in at lunch counters in Nashville and organized the Freedom Riders to travel in the South to oppose racially restrictive practices on interstate commercial vehicles. Think of Ida B. Wells-Barnett working to prevent the lynching of Black men.
They kept working
Remember Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, first Black female candidate for president of the US and the first chair of the National (Political) Congress of Black Women, along with co-founder Dr. C. DeLores Tucker. Think of our mothers and grandmothers who worked under unbearable conditions for us – and never yielded to being tired.
These courageous sisters did it for you and for me. We are obligated to do more than just moan, groan and complain while we sit in the comfort of our homes. We owe it to them NOT to be tired yet!
Dr. E. Faye Williams is national chair of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc.