“You ain’t gotta lie to kick it.”
-African American Proverb
In the circles I travel in, with people knowing that I am a lifetime St. Louis resident, I always get this question: “Where you out at the protests?” In earnest, I answer this way:
“I didn’t go out as much as I wanted to be. But I did what I could where I was.”
I see no reason to lie about a resume for activism. In the conversations I have been privy to, and the ones I have picked up on social media, I have found this loose thread. Like all writers, I pull at it. This thread lead me to padded resumes.
Bruh! People do this?!
Like people really do this!
When one of my Facebook friends mentioned this, my mind melted. My mind legit melted! The person that spoke about this phenomena is a proven, verified organizer and transplanted St. Louis resident–the marvelous Ashley Yates. I had to sit and have a Mother Moment and reflected as such:
Why, with all the work to do, not just and especially in St. Louis, would one lie about what it is you have done and contributed to a movement! What would possess you to think that is alright! It’s not okay. Don’t lie! Just get to work, find you some work, mane!
Saying you were there doing something when you weren’t.
This movement, any sustainable movement, does not benefit by folk lying about what they are doing, said they were doing or what they were actually caught doing! Padding your activism resume is an insult to people doing the work of networking, organizing or working to change policy! It is an insult to everything this movement means and is destined for!
If you haven’t gone out–that doesn’t mean you don’t care. If you were scared to go out–say so! If you just didn’t know what to do–say so! Repeat after me:
I will not lie to kick it.
Activism is not done for popularity, but for progress.
I will not exploit Patreon, PayPal or Facebook Messenger to get money from people and not do what I was entrusted to do.
I do not have to defend my activism to other people.
Don’t do this, fam! Don’t goop the kids out of time and money. Don’t lie to people about something you were on the periphery of! Don’t think padding your resume will ever make you the superstar activist you want to be.
I’m not going to say this movement is trash. I will say, there are trash AF things happening. There are things that need to be improved on, more self-care to be practiced, and people realizing what their grace is and stay in it! Not everyone can be on the front lines, not everybody can be in every splinter organization in the local St. Louis area. Not everyone needs to be concerned about what people’s right and left hands are doing (I cannot tell you how often I have heard this and seen it.)!
Do not pad your resume!
You don’t have to tell all the things you are doing. I haven’t, and I still don’t–that’s wisdom. In that same wisdom, I know it’s disrespectful to lie about work I haven’t done. Simple as that!
I don’t have to shout everything I do. One of the dopest pieces of advice I have gotten is this: Learn to move in silence. And I am learning to master this. I don’t have to lie if I’m working.
Now, what are y’all doing?
Does your resume stand up, or is it on a kickstand?
Do better, fam.
[images from Google]