On November 4, MXRS board member, Kaily Heitz, presented “Social Justice Fatigue: Creating a Supportive Environment for Activism” at the Breaking Through Shades of Color: Transforming Race Relations and Conflict conference at Middlebury Institute for International Studies (MIIS) in Monterey, CA. This workshop focuses on the idea of “social justice fatigue,” a term that has been defined and presented for several student organizations by our own Dr. Chandra Crudup. “Social justice fatigue” is a concept that essentializes the way that social justice organizers, particularly people of color, experience burnout caused by intentional and unintentional exposure to injustices. The workshop is designed to identify the various ways that we feel attacked and brainstorm how to balance sources of fatigue with practices of self-care.
The MIIS workshop audience was comprised of students, activists, and Monterey community members. Participants were first asked to pair up and discuss the ways that they felt attacked at multiple levels. Many discussed social identifiers of class and gender as a source of fatigue. After reviewing issues of structural racism and injustice, participants went back to their pairs and talked about how vulnerable members of their community might be facing compounded injustices. A poignant examples came from one woman, who discussed the relevance of considering micro and macro aggressions with regard to the large population of migrant farm and hospitality workers in the area.
We ended by drafting a toolkit that enabled participants to identify ways they felt fatigued, self-care routines that brought back balance in the fight for justice, and ideas for fostering a more equitable environment for other activists and people of color in their communities.
Although none of us realized quite how necessary this workshop would be in the coming days, it could not have come at a better time. This election acts as a call to action, and a reminder of the ongoing importance of our work as activists, artists, and storytellers. It also reminds us to hold one another. The most important self-care advice I heard repeated at the workshop at MIIS was to find and reach out to one’s community when feeling anxious or stressed.
We are so grateful that you are a part of the Mixed Roots Stories community. We aim to make story a practice of self-care and healing, of justice, and awakening–for ourselves and all those whose lives we may unexpectedly touch with our stories. Is writing or making art part of your self-care routine? We invite you to share with us how you are taking care of yourself in these challenging times.
And, we’re here to support you! If you are interested in bringing our “Social Justice Fatigue” workshop, or others, to your school or organization, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.