1. OP-ED: I Am So Tired

    May 29, 2020

    By Robert M. Sellers

    Growing up the son of a minister and two civil rights activists, one of my favorite gospel songs is “I don’t feels no ways tired.” That song, like so many other songs from my African American culture, evokes an everlasting optimism about tomorrow that is built on “the faith that our dark past has taught us” as well as “the hope that the present has brought us.”

    I have always said that Black folks are the most optimistic subscribers of the American dream, despite our long history of dehumanization and degradation in this country. This other-worldly optimism is perhaps most famously exemplified in Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech (that America ironically likes to co-opt by trotting it out every year on his birthday as a self-congratulatory sign of how much progress we have made as a society since his death).

    This morning, I woke up very tired. Not your normal tired. I woke up with a kind of tired that can only be found on the other side of loss, anger, frustration, sadness, and despair. This morning, I woke up in a state in which African Americans make up roughly 13% of the population, but comprise 31% of the people with COVID-19 and 40% of the people dying from COVID-19. I woke up in a country where a White woman can not only accuse an African American man of threatening her because he is simply asking her to obey the law in a public space, but she can actually weaponize the police for her own aims simply by repeatedly referring to him as being African American.

    The scary truth of the matter is not that she believed (or even hoped) that she would get a different response by evoking race when making her 911 call. The really scary thing is that she was right. By evoking race and Blackness specifically, she placed a target on his back, putting a man’s life in real danger. The recent murders of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery make this point abundantly clear: being a Black male interacting with law enforcement can be hazardous to one’s health. Lest we get it twisted, being a Black woman in these situations is no picnic either. I woke up in a country where a Black woman is being repeatedly punched in the head by a member of my local sheriff department.

    This morning, I woke up bone-weary tired.

    Some people argue that this country, while being built substantially by us, was never meant for us. (They are not wrong.) As such, some of these same people believe that other-worldly optimism is a sign of weakness and is ultimately what has sealed our fate as a people. They question the wisdom in holding out such faith and hope for change in a system (in a society) that has time and time again demonstrated that Black dignity, Black bodies, and Black lives matter a little less. (It is hard to argue with the logic of the question.)

    These times really do raise for me the question of how long must we wait, plan, work, march, agitate, forgive, and vote before we have a society in which all lives matter equally, regardless of race or color? In my bone-weary tired state this morning, before I even got out of bed, I asked myself why should I continue to fight to try to change a system that has proven time and time again that it simply does not regard me and people who look like me as fully human.

    As I woke up this morning, I could not get out of bed. I laid there for a while trying to grapple with my feelings of exhaustion and despair. Often, when I am struggling to understand important things in my life, I turn to my parents’ example for guidance. I tried to access the collective wisdom of those who came before me, those who sacrificed so that I could have more. I wondered what they would say about the state of race in today’s society and what my role should be. From birth, my parents instilled in me and my siblings through their words – and more importantly their actions – that the fight for racial justice is a long, intergenerational one. It is also one that we are destined to win because right is on our side.

    No matter the nature of the setbacks they faced (and there were many and some brutal ones at that), they were always able to get through them through tears and laughter, forever keeping their eyes on the prize. In many ways, they epitomized that other-worldly Black optimism. Don’t get me wrong, they never hid their own feelings of frustration, anger, and tiredness from us. In fact, that is how I recognized my own feelings this morning. Nonetheless, my parents never veered from their belief that the brightest day only shone on the other side of the darkest night.

    As I laid in that bed thinking about what lessons I could glean from their lives and what they had said to me and my brothers and sister, I was hoping for some form of instant relief from my feelings of tiredness. I was hoping that their legacy and story would wipe away my doubts about our society and where we are going. I was hoping that my reflecting on my parents’ lives would magically re-charge my batteries and somehow soothe my pain. Sadly, my reflections did none of that.

    What my recollections of my parents’ example did do was provide me with a perspective, a lens through which I can view and understand all that is happening now. This lens reminds me that this struggle is not new, nor is it likely to be won in my life time. Sadly, it is likely that more Black people will die before we become the country that remotely resembles the one described in our constitution. This lens also reminds me that this country is MY country. My ancestors sacrificed their lives in building this country.

    Their blood, sweat, and tears fertilize the rich soil upon which much of this country’s wealth and standing in the world is built. I have no choice but to fight for it – to fight to make it live up to its creed. I owe it to those who came before me, those who fought and died to make this country just a little bit better for those who came after them. They fought for me. To not do so would be akin to walking away from my birthright. It is a birthright that does not belong only to me; it also belongs to future generations of Black folks.

    What reflecting on my parents’ example provided me was renewal – not in the form of relief, but instead in the form of resolve. My reflections on their example gave me new insights into that other-worldly optimism that is foundational to the strength and resilience of Black people.

    That optimism does not reside in a belief that America will simply change, it actually resides in the knowledge that each generation of African Americans has changed America for the better and a great faith that the next generation will take the next steps in changing America even more (even if it feels way too slow). This perspective has renewed my resolve to do all that I can to make whatever change I can. For me, to do otherwise would be turning my back on the investment that my ancestors made in this country and disinheriting my descendants.

    I am still tired of this shit though.

  2. 239 responses to “OP-ED: I Am So Tired”

    1. Lisa Jeffreys says:

      Thank you for sharing your truth.

    2. Another tired person of color says:

      Thank you CDO Sellers for saying so eloquently what most of us are feeling but can’t quite express! And thank you even more for your body of work and the example you provide to keep optimism alive (despite being tired). It is much needed and GREATLY appreciated.

    3. Lynn Videka says:

      What a beautiful and heartfelt message, Rob. Thank you. It renewed my spirit.

    4. Martha S. Jones says:

      Thank you Rob. Honored to share this journey with you.

    5. Roger Fisher says:

      I have NEVER been more proud of my University!

    6. Elizabeth Cole says:

      Rob, thank you for your frankness today, and your leadership every day. I’m proud to continue this work with you.

    7. Zhang says:

      Rob, thanks for sharing those emotions so eloquently articulated to the horrific events that left so many of us speechless. I am so proud to be your colleague! In recent weeks, while tutoring my son’s American History class at home, I grew more appreciative of the disparate treatment received by people of color historically (African American, Asian American, and other minority groups). The George Floyd tragedy is an unmistaken reminder how long the journey for social justice still lies ahead!

    8. Timothy Jones says:

      Thank you Rob. You message brings focus to the current socio-political situation that we are experiencing. Praying for change.

    9. Wolf B Reuter says:

      Your deeply felt words moved me to the core. Thank you for speaking your mind. Your last line says it all. Enough of that shit. We all need to work together with respect and love for one another.

    10. Trina Shanks says:

      Thanks for your leadership and example and the sharing these heartfelt sentiments. I am glad to have you as a colleague.

    11. Beth Sullivan says:

      Thank you for sharing this wonderful, honest reflection with the world during this painful and troubled time. And thank you for the ongoing work you do at UM to make it a more diverse and just place to work and study.

    12. Leah Maguire-Schrupp says:

      Hi Rob, the bone-tired fatigue of which you speak hits hard at moments like this. Thank you for giving it a voice and for preserving the moment with your story. I hope you will give yourself permission to practice some radical self care. It is important. I fear more difficult days ahead. Warmly, Leah Maguire-Schrupp

    13. Maureen Martin says:

      I am heartbroken. I know we just fight our fight. I learned at some point that these fights are not sprints; nor are they marathons. Rather, they are relay races.

      May you find ways to heal your spirit.

      Sending you admiration and affection – and sorrow.

    14. Todd Ester says:

      “Through Many Dangers, Toils and Snares, we have already come, it was grace that brought us safe thus far and grace will lead us home!”
      Rob, thank-you sir for sharing your truth and laying out bare our shared frustration with the recent examples of injustice in our nation. I am so thankful for your leadership! A Brighter Day is Coming!
      God Bless

    15. Another tired Black person says:

      Dr. Sellers,

      Thank you for putting a microscope to the hearts of the Black community. I, too, am very tired. I’m tired of having to overly-police myself when I go to Meijer, not get too close walking down the aisles, and to appear as non-threatening in predominantly white spaces. I’m tired of being concerned for my personal safety the moment I step outside my place of residence because I am a black male. Quite frankly, I am not even safe in my own space. As we’ve seen with Botham Jean, one can be murdered in their own place of residence because a cop claims to have mistaken what floor they got off on. I am tired of seeing my Black brothers in America be murdered by the police for non-violent behavior. We know based on data that police manage to disarm, deescalate, and not kill white people everyday. This shit has to stop. Simply. I am calling upon my white peers to stand up and speak out against the racism that continues to live throughout our country. To not speak up is distracting — and their silence is loud AF. I’m tired of having to show up at work with this burden on my shoulders. Just went I thought COVID-19 was causing enough pain, now we all have the pain of watching the recent murders Ahmad Aubrey, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd black bodes. Enough is enough. We are tired of being killed.

    16. David B. Green Jr. says:

      Rob, thank you for sharing these beautiful words. Your vulnerability is light. I thank you and as a black diversity officer, i too am tired. You have give me the strength to carry on into tomorrow. thank you.

    17. Carole Duet says:

      Hi! I don’t know why but I feel your pain. I’m a southern white lady but I was raised to respect people of all cultures and colors and creeds. My mother was part Cherokee though and yes, maybe that has something to do with it since Native Americans have also suffered at the hands of so-called “freedom fighters”. I truly hope and pray that someday (if we can survive the Climate Crisis) alllll people (human beings) of allll colors, etc. will be respected and loved in this country through not only words but also through actions. Hang in there is my only advice to you because spiritual strength demands that we do…no matter what. Almost all of our heroic ancestors did and we must do the same if we are to retain our self-respect as well as gain the respect ALL good people deserve…and YOU obviously are “good people”.

    18. Laura Morgan Roberts says:

      Thank you Rob. I feel you.

    19. Exhausted Black Mother of Sons says:

      Exhausting. And they wonder why we fear the police.

    20. Elizabeth Armstrong says:

      Thank you for your leadership and sharing these reflections.

    21. Marita Inglehart says:

      Dear Rob,
      Thank you from all my heart for sharing your personal thoughts and feelings!
      With deep appreciation for all you did and do every day!
      Take good care of yourself! We need you!

    22. CW says:

      Thank you, Rob, for sharing your true feeling with strength. As an Asian American, I feel your pain, in a slightly different way. We can be tired but we can not defeat ourselves. It was the fights that our parents and grandparents fought, and it was the work that our parents and grandparents worked, this beautiful country arrives today. We need to continue the mission for us and for our next generations till one day all human lives in this country are respected and cherished. All good people need hands together!

    23. Denne Lawton says:

      Thank you Dr. Sellers, I work closely with CEO and I was just released from the hospital Saturday from my battle with COVID only to awake Monday to the horrific image of a black man being killed by the police. Your perspective articulated the exhaustion many of us feel. However you are one of the people in my life time along with so many others at the University who give us hope and a daily reason to believe that change, no matter how small can and will happen overtime. We all have to keep lifting each other up. Thank you for sharing your truth and giving us a human perspective of this situation. Sometimes vulnerability is the source for renewed strength.

    24. Larry Lee Rowley says:

      Thank you Rob…especially for being brave and honest enough to include that last line.✊🏽🙏🏽

    25. Lionel Howard says:

      Thank you, brother! This is a WHOLE word.

    26. Kierra says:

      That last sentence though.

    27. Youxue Zhang says:

      Thank you for sharing this eloquent and powerful piece! The truly sad and painful deaths show that we still have a long way to go to achieve equal right, equal justice and equal opportunity.

    28. Nita Shah says:

      As I read your message, full of deep emotions, pain, and despair, I cried. I am so heartbroken. I wish for you that may courage and strength continue to guide you to carry on the work, the hard work, the painful work that is sadly still necessary to make this country a safe and welcoming place for all. Your vulnerability is profound. Thank you for striving to make this University a place of equity and inclusion. With my deepest respect, I send you peace.

    29. Suellyn Scarnecchia says:

      As I grow older, I find myself tempted to leave the fight to the next generation. Your words reminded me that, regardless of my age, I am still responsible for change. Thank you!

    30. Donna Rich Kaplowitz says:

      Dr. Sellers,
      Your words are among the most raw and true that I have read from any university administrator anywhere in the world. I am so grateful to be able to serve the university with you as a leader.

    31. Jeff Harrold says:

      Preach, Preacher!

    32. Tired2 says:

      I woke up tired also. I had my anger moment weeks ago. So many around me are, what I deem, finally angry but I didn’t know what I was. Your words articulated it for me, “I woke up with the kind of tired that can only be found on the other side….” bingo! That’s the description I’ve been looking for! Thank you for sharing and at a time such as this.

      Stay safe. Stay healthy.

    33. Megan Eagle says:

      Dr. Sellers-
      Thank you for your eloquence, for being willing to share this, and also for your leadership and advocacy day in and day out, year in and year out. There are some wise words above about taking time and space to care for your tired soul-hope that you can feel the admiration, respect and love we send to you amidst our tears

    34. Dana Sitzler says:

      Rob, thanks for sharing a snippet of your story and your parents story. It helped give me some perspective tonight too. Many have been posting Martin Luther King Jr.’s words about rioting being the language of the unheard – and it keeps making me a mix of sad and angry – as he said those words literally DECADES ago – and yet here we are -again- black lives taken for simply being black. But reading your words tonight made me see the long view that you came back to – and that sadly we must keep our eye on – it always saddens me to say this or that won’t happen in my lifetime especially justice and equality – but harkening back to MLK again – it’s a long arc….thanks for continuing the work.

    35. Samara Jackson Tobey says:

      I love you Uncle Bob! In times of uncertainty, I am encouraged by your brave truth. America is well overdue for change. After this dark night, the light is surely bright. There is a unexplainable spark igniting in all of us and we can’t be ignored. I’m ready to be brave, courageous, intentional and unwavering in solidarity with our community. This is not the end. It’s time we collectively cultivate peace. #ImTiredToo

    36. Alicia says:

      Thank you for your candor. Thank you for every day of the struggle you have taken on and endured. Thank you for living and modeling a world-changing optimism that is, in fact, changing the world into a better and more just place. Thank you for continuing in your weariness. May you find a bit of rest. May others who have neglected this struggle or added to the burden open their minds and realize this is their struggle, too. May they begin to truly share the overwhelming task of working for justice. May we who are complicit stop ignoring our rightful responsibility to change the world alongside you.

    37. anna ercoli schnitzer says:

      Dear Dr. Sellers:

      Thank you for writing this moving, heartfelt message. So true…so true…it is so terribly, ridiculously, inhumanely unfair to treat some individuals as lesser beings because of their appearance or their heritage. I want to stand up for ANTI-RACISM. I want everyone who is–or wants to be–a good person with good values to do the same. Please, let’s be good to one another!

    38. Beth says:

      This was beautifully written and hits home. You were able to articulate what do many are feeling. Thank you.

    39. Denise White says:

      Thank you Rob for speaking resolve and hope into the consciousness of so many and for reminding us that the struggle to win is ours to win. It is by God’s amazing grace that we will…all people will continue to fight for justice and peace.

    40. Scott Roberts says:

      Thank you for this powerful, insightful, and eloquent statement. Your heartfelt words are an inspiration to us all. U-M is fortunate to have you among its leaders.

    41. Sonia Joshi says:

      Thank you for your leadership and your honesty, Rob! I appreciate how open and eloquently you shared how long we have to go to acheive equity and justice for all. We will get there!!

    42. Liz Glynn says:

      Thank you for your deeply personal, truth filled and ultimately hopeful piece. The leadership, clarity and determination to a more just UM that you & the entire ODEI team bring inspires me to act.
      Ultimately we all must fight the long fight, keep the faith and demand justice.

    43. Eugene Chen says:

      Thank you Rob, I was so touched by your story.
      “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”, MLK

    44. Deirdre Spencer says:

      Thank you so much for posting this!

    45. Martino Harmon says:

      Dr. Sellers, thank you for your effective and powerful articulation of what so many of us feel. I am excited to work with you at the University of Michigan in the near future.

    46. Julie K. norem says:

      And, as exhausted as you are, you still wrote this— maybe for yourself, but also for others. Thank-you. Sending love across the years and the miles, Jules

    47. Angie Miller says:

      So eloquently put. You write from the heart Dr Sellers.

    48. Matt Albert says:

      Thank you for writing this. I’m sorry for everything you’re feeling, and I’m listening.

    49. John R. Griffith says:

      “It is … for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

      It’s been 137 years, and we still have miles to go. Too many Americans misunderstand, but to give up is to join them in error.

    50. Linda Chatters says:

      Dear Rob:

      You have shared painful, beautiful and truthful sentiments and demonstrated the courage to state them unequivocally and without apology.

      Thank you.

    51. Patty Barbato says:

      Thank you for sharing this. I See You. I Hear You. I have much work to do.

    52. Tanisha Scottham says:

      Thank you for your honest reflections on our times. The struggle continues. Hopefully, it will light a fire on the bystanders.

    53. Tracy says:

      Thank you for sharing. It’s past time for change.

    54. Jeanice K. Swift says:

      I am so deeply moved, Dr. Sellers, by your powerful truth.
      Thank You for sharing.

    55. Sandy Graham-Bermann says:

      Rob – thank you for your honest words, your continued fight, and for all that you do and have done to make this world and this university a better place. Your parents raised a great son.

    56. Taryn Petryk says:

      Thank you Dr. Sellers. Your vulnerability during this time is the greatest gift that you could have given – as an administrator and a Chief Diversity Officer. Thank you for showing what true, courageous leadership looks like.

    57. Brother Rob,”let me hold something.” You might recall this phrase, in the Black community, refers to a family member asking another family member for some money that wasn’t a loan, right? “Something” is a valuable item that would be used for whatever reason. Well, Brother Rob, you just gave me “something to hold” that I will be forever grateful. Thank you!

    58. Donna Reed says:

      Well said, Rob! Thank you for your courage and honesty to speak the sad truth, for all you have done, and for your leadership and resolve to continue on. You are not alone. Sending heartfelt love to you and yours.

    59. Brother Rob,”let me hold something.” You might recall this phrase, in the Black community, refers to a family member asking another family member for some money that wasn’t a loan, right? “Something” is a valuable item that would be used for whatever reason. Well, Brother Rob, you just gave me “something to hold” that I will be forever grateful. Thank you!

    60. Reggie Armstrong says:

      Mr. Sellers,
      Thank you for your frank and pointed comments. By the way, I am mad as hell also.

      Reggie Armstrong

    61. Laura Scott says:

      My heartfelt thanks for your message, and the power of your words to evoke the tiredness you feel. May we join you in lifting the mantle of tiredness together, so that everyone can breathe easily.

    62. JAMES JONES says:

      So proud of you brother Rob. You inspire, you lead and represent. Thank you!


    63. Martha Kirpes says:

      Thank you. I’m keen to do my part to bring forth a United States that lives up to its constitutional promise.
      Martha Kirpes

    64. Christine says:

      Dear Dr. Sellers,

      Thank you for baring witness to the past and reminding us of what is acceptable now.

      I am sorry that you, your family, and friends have to endure more civil unrest. Many will not forget: we remember.

      You do not stand alone. Be assured that many stand with you in the need for us all to take responsibility to restore and preserve our core USA Constitutional values that make our country great.

      We must carry each other’s burdens.

    65. Paula Lyons Moses says:

      Thank you for your honesty and thank you for getting up and pushing forward.

    66. Yan Chen says:

      Rob, Thank you for sharing your feelings and thoughts about this tragedy, which I watched with horror and distress. I am deeply moved by your resolve. African Americans are not in this by themselves. We must fight for justice together.

    67. Well said, Dr. Sellers. I struggle with you. I see you. I hear you. I will do my part. ✊🏽🌈

    68. San Duanmu says:

      Dear Rob,

      What a powerful and moving piece! Thank you.

    69. Steve Harris says:

      Doctor, thank you for writing this… I’ve shared it with my boys and it’s helped provide an explanation of why my brother and I have been ranting about this same crap that never seems to end. Sadly, the part that is most frustrating, which you pointed out, is we won’t see it change in our lifetime…. worse, neither will my boys.

    70. Eddie Castañeda says:

      Your expression of your feelings, anguish, exhaustion, and rejuvenation have just uplifted many of us!

    71. Jennifer Smith-Grady says:

      Dr. Sellers,

      Thank you for sharing this. I see your pain, I stand with you and the African American community. I am the white mother of brown children. Just today I had to talk to tell my son that he doesn’t have the luxury of being loud in a store or walking out wearing an item just purchased from the store due to the risk. My heart aches for him and every one else who literally risks their lives in the act of common human mistakes that would be shrugged off or ignored in lighter colored folks. Thank you for sharing this again. I see you, I stand with you.

    72. Debi Khasnabis says:

      Thank you Rob for this beautiful, heart-wrenching essay. And for sharing the strength and vision of your parents and ancestors. When you are tired and weary, I hope you will see near you a friend or colleague to lean on. I stand with you, ready to work side by side with you and other visionaries, guided by our freedom dreams, gazing toward the future with hope and belief that with each generation we come closer to justice, and to paradise.

    73. Harvey Pillersdorf says:

      I am drawn to see the “optimism” as a mix of trusting justice and the survival – based delusion that is Stockholm syndrome. I’ve read each response. I appreciate the mutual, humane reflections of support. I fear that the greed- and power-addicted, misguided people who control the means of production are unwittingly marching us all toward catastrophe as factions stay confused in hurt and blame. I pray that we can steer this ship to arrive where justice is, and mutual love and respect sustains and supports all life.

    74. A guy who had to change his name to stop receiving death threats says:

      The issue here goes much deeper. It is and has been about racism against black people, however, the coverage of that racism keeps expanding to include a blanket on Latinos, and Muslims, and “reactionary” racism to a certain event, as an example during the COVID-days people of chinese descent or anyone who looks from East Asia or anyone wearing a turbin after 911 which were mostly Indian Sikhs.

      We need to tackle the issue at its roots and not just piece by piece. We need to go back to the definition of what it means to be American. Those who were forced to come to the US as slaves, or those who came on their own because they were following “the American Dream” hoping they can integrate (like myself), find themselves in a place where they don’t fit the American definition. While the Declaration says “all men are created equally”, why is it it’s not the case today? Why does it take centuries of pushing to include “women” are also created equally.

      I am not black, but I am discriminated against just for the way I look or just by name. I was thrown out of a restaurant once because they read my name. I had to change it to land an interview. Uber drivers keep cancelling my trips because they see the name.

      All this talk of making a change in culture will not work unless there is a change in what it means to be American and who belongs in that definition. You need a constitutional amendment, you need congressional policies, you need to enforce fines when such incidents occur. It needs to become like a speeding ticket. When incidents are turned into national court scenes, they can’t be replicated. You need the law to recognize men and women are created equally. You need every government agency to recognize that based on clear policies not just feelings of sympathy.

      I am talking not because I have continuous issues with the police like black people do, which I have to admit is a nightmare, I (and my kind) have an issue with my neighbor, the person on the street, who sees me different and throws a brick through my window, who pierced my car tires, and who put death threats against my kids in my mailbox. I believe those are just as bad as the police brutality and racism.

      if things don’t change at the legislative level, it will take many generations to make small changes as Robert said, but it will only take one incident to set back all that effort. After all the progress made since the LA riots in the early 90s, we are back but at a larger scale.

      I don’t know how to fix it. But when the dust settles, it’s time for the brains at top Universities, top corporations, and Government to form a task force to lobby and start making such tangible changes.

      There needs to be a consequence for the government not making the changes necessary for equality of all citizens. In a generation from now, it will be Latinos then Indians, then….

    75. John says:

      Please stop being a racist, Mr. Sellers.

    76. Amber says:

      This is beautiful. This is what we need to hear. I don’t know how to get there except to keep sharing this message and pointing out a broken system. As a white woman who attended Detroit public schools, I’ve seen more firsthand than some others, but I will never know what it’s like to have a different skin tone and to be treated as less for that reason. This is unacceptable. And yet racism continues. We have to be better than this. Thank you, Dr. Sellers, for your eloquent words in this time of despair. Thank you for explaining the truth and thank for setting DEI goals for our organization. Thanks also to President Schlissel as well for working hard to get knowledge across all of UM. What a dark time for this world. HOPE!!

    77. Kayren Gray says:

      Thank you for sharing. Your words helped me process the tired feeling I too am experiencing. Thank you again. We have work to do America.

    78. Patti Brazill says:

      I needed this. Thank yiu

    79. Sabrina Owens says:

      Dr. Sellers,
      Thank you for speaking your truth in a manner that many of us are feeling, and reminding us that the battle to true freedom and justice must continue. For me, to do anything less would dishonor the memory and work of my grandfather, Rev. C.L. Franklin, who marched along side Dr. King and other political leaders to shed light on issues facing the disenfranchised.

      It hurts to the core that we are still fighting this battle in a very similar way decades after. It is exhausting. It is bone-weary. It is scary. We should not still have to fight for basic freedoms and equality in education, employment, living conditions, medical care, a fair and balanced criminal justice system. We should not fear those who are supposed to ‘serve and protect‘ us. We should not have to educate our sons on the ‘rules of engagement‘ with the police. We should not have to pray that they ‘survive the stop’. We
      are sick and tired of being sick and tired, but we must forge on.

      May God continue to bless you in your efforts to bring equity and diversity to those of us at UM.

    80. Lan Deng says:

      Thank you, Rob, for such a beautiful message and for what you do every day! It is people like you that make America strong, the reason for immigrants like us to come to this country from all over the world. Our children are growing up on this soil. We all bear the responsility to make it a better place for them and the generations to come! The burden shall be shared!

    81. Sad and Tired says:

      Thanking you for your words. The struggle continues. i truly have sadness in my heart.

    82. Rachael Seidler says:

      Thank you Rob. I am here, and I see you.

    83. Sally Oey says:

      Thank you, Rob. We desperately need to share our stories. Thanks for setting a powerful example.

    84. Robert Kennedy says:

      Dr. Sellers,
      Thank you for your voice. I wish you the strength to continue to lead us through this.

    85. Elizabeth Moss says:

      I am an 80 year old white woman who is grieving for our country. To Dr. Sellers and “another tired black person”: yours are the first words of solace I’ve heard. Hope. Thank you and thank you to the beautiful Asian-American woman who forwarded this to me. We are in this together. Your struggle is my struggle.

    86. Jamie says:


    87. Malcolm Tulip says:

      Thank you Dr. Sellers.

    88. Myra C. says:

      Resolve, though weary, to keep moving because they did and because it is what they expect of us for those yet to come. Thank you for working through and eloquently sharing these thoughts in such a time as this.

    89. Kevin Jones says:

      Thank you for voicing what I know so many of us felt but could not articulate. These emotions are so so familiar. Yet, somehow this time feels different. Maybe I’m being naive, but I have to believe this can be a moment in history when enough of America came together to create momentum and actually moved the needle, even if just slightly.

    90. Tammy Tucker says:

      I am angry and tired. I’m tired of being used for my intelligence and then dismissed. I’m tired of unconscious bias being the excuse for professional negligence! I am tired of inequity, stupidity, and malice.
      “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.” I’m showing up today with armour on my heart. I will walk around bullshit gingerly with my mind stayed on justice and common decency. This is my fair warning.

    91. Beth Johnston says:

      I hear you. I am listening. I stand with you.

    92. Tujuana Jacobs says:

      Your profound words of wisdom has enlightened and uplifted my spirit today. I too “will continue to do all that I can to make whatever change I can.” God bless you, Dr. Sellers and thank you for your message during this dark time.

    93. Sheira Cohen says:

      Thank you for your words.
      Can we fight together to defund and disarm the campus police? To invest in crisis management teams and not armed police to respond to campus concerns? I applaud your optimism that this a long-game and one that will take time but I hope that doesn’t preclude radical change and radical solutions. If other Universities and School systems in Minnesota and elsewhere have severed ties with the police, can’t UM do so as well? DEI will never succeed otherwise.
      How UM responds to today’s Diag protest will also be a marker – will they take a knee and join (and long-term, not just for a few moments) or will they use teargas and incite violence to clear campus and downtown? Will UM police stand with students and the community against the county police who punched a women in the head and he still has a job and isn’t in jail?

    94. Patti Fitzpatrick says:

      Thank you for sharing your perspective so eloquently. I am truly sorry that we have not made more progress in the fight for justice and equality.

    95. Kolette says:

      Thank you, Mr. Sellers and Michigan Medicine.

    96. Tami Dupie says:

      Thank you Dr. Sellers. I stand with you.

    97. Ellen Rowe says:

      Thank you so much for writing and sharing this Rob. I am so proud to get to work at a University with such courageous and eloquent leaders.

    98. Tired is an understatement says:

      Thank you for stating what we are feeling and maybe aren’t able to express. TIRED! EXHAUSTED! ANGRY!

    99. Thank you Rob for your truthful words. Even though the injustices are still present in our lives, your words inspire hope and faith that with each generation there is a positive outcome for us.

    100. Clare Kolevar says:

      Thank you for your heartfelt honesty and courage to speak the truth. I am so sorry for your pain.
      Your parents would be proud to hear you voice the anger, pain, and “tired-ness” of so many. From all of our leadership, your letter is the best that I have read thus far.

    101. Sennettra Gilliam says:

      Dr. Sellers,

      Thank you for sharing your truth, our truth. Walking the walk that we walk as Black men and women in America, will never truly be understood by those that don’t look like us. It simply amazes me how being black in America continues to be our biggest burden, even in this year of 2020. We, as a people must continue to hold on, through our frustrations, through our anger, through our tiredness, through all this bull that is continuously thrown our way. It’s through our solidarity, through OUR shared pain and experiences, will we be able to overcome. We must continue the fight, a fight that, if I am being completely transparent, shouldn’t be a fight at all….it’s our right to live in this country just as free as our white counterparts..and not be afraid to send our children, husbands and wives out, fearing that they won’t come home. Jesus help us….We will stand strong together and continue to speak our truth and demand change….tired as hell and all.

    102. Kendra says:

      Thank you for taking the time and energy to make yourself so vulnerable.

    103. Mary Schlitt says:

      Your words are exactly those that we need at this moment. Thank you for using your voice and position to speak your truth.

    104. Feeling Broken says:

      Thank you for sharing this.

      I felt this in the depths of my soul. As an African American woman with multiple degrees, graduate degrees, a sense of love and acceptance for everyone I echo your sentiment. I am tired of this shit. This is not a black versus white issue. This is an everyone versus racism issue. Part of healing is acknowledging the disparities and generational trauma. It exhausts me every morning when I have to have the “what do you do when a police officer pulls you over” talk with my husband. A big teddy bear who wouldn’t hurt a fly. It exhausts me to still be followed in stores, pulled over and profiled by police simply because the color of my skin. It exhausts me to worry about all my black father, my black brother, my black nephews etc. It exhausts me to worry when my husband takes our dog out for a walk, and try to make sure he looks “as less threatening as possible”. It exhausts me to ponder having children due tot he state of this nation. I am just exhausted. Worrying about my job, COVID19, and the unrest in the world.

      Jesus take the wheel…and drive fast.

      What has given me a glimmer of hope this morning is the knowledge that I work for an institution that recognizes the significance of not keeping quiet.. That is given me an opportunity to even vent these feelings on a board. That sent out a system wide email condemning racism, and acknowledging that it is still a problem today. There are more people for the oppressed than against the oppressed. That gives me hope.

      Let me end by saying that when you hear people say “BLACK LIVES MATTER” it is NOT saying that All lives DON’T matter. Its kinda like every October walking for Breast Cancer awareness. That is not saying that all other cancers don’t matter, it’s just saying we are focusing on this one right now, and bringing awareness to this particular one.

      Here is to brighter days ahead..to love..forgiveness, inclusion, healing, and hope. We are all in this together.


    105. Dom Washington-McNish says:

      Thank you, Dr. Sellers, from the bottom of my heart for being able to express the very pain I have in my own body and mind. This pain and worry I have for my own children. We are in it for the long haul, and it is exhausting to realize, and such a struggle to comprehend, but we push on.

    106. trenab says:

      Dr. Sellers,
      The last few mornings, I found it difficult to get up and start my day….so much emotion, turmoil, fear, and pain – also, so much love, support and caring. Thank you for your heartfelt message.
      My faith keeps me going…
      Prov. 3 Verses 5 to 6. [5] Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. [6] In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

    107. Dear Vice Provost Sellers,
      Thank you for your incredible inspirational message. I am honored to know and work with you. So many of us are tired, but yours are helpful and awakening words. Please continue with your hard and necessary work and, of course,

      Be well,

    108. Rosalind Moffitt says:

      Thank you, Dr. Sellers, for your leadership and sharing your real emotions with us.

    109. Linda Wood says:

      Thank you Dr. Sellers, for writing this, for your work, for helping us feel your exhaustion.

    110. Fellow Faculty says:

      Hi Rob,

      I’ve watched you (from afar, at seminars and presentations) as a UMich faculty member over these last 20 years with tremendous admiration, but never knew where your inner resolve and “grounding” came from. Learning a bit about the struggles and convictions — as well as frustrations — of your parents and family helped supply some of that background… but makes me realize the immense distance still to go before everyone is judged by the content of their character.

      When I was growing up, remarks about the relative capabilities of different ethnic groups were made so casually that no one even questioned them. Today, my own teenager really doesn’t know the “race” of anyone in their class, and finds it weird that people ever made a connection between outward appearance and inner abilities. So, I’m hopeful. But until entrenched institutions completely disengage from those ideas, we’ll keep having these situations arise.

      Thanks for all you do at the University and wider community to keep that long march going, even though it takes its toll on a spiritual level.

    111. ellen says:

      Dear Dr Sellers,
      Thank you for rising up despite your bone-tiredness and sharing your perspective, experience, despair and encouragement with us. its time for me to come off the sidelines and make your fight my fight. i pray for the grace and humility and strength and resilience for all those who walk this path in all its challenges.
      Sincerely and gratefully,
      Ellen (nurse at dexter family medicine clinic)

    112. Tomarra Adams says:

      Provost Sellers,

      A colleague shared your post with me as I have expressed a very similar sentiment. As an Black woman, a single mother, and an administrator in higher education, I am tired. I recognize this does not mean I can stop my work though. Our generation still has much to contribute, even in our most weary moments. I appreciate the space and capacity to be able to lean on each other.

    113. Arthi says:

      Although I cannot begin to comprehend your despair and weariness, your message has inspired me even more to try to understand and fight for justice and equality. As an immigrant who has lived in this country for nearly 2 decades, I have felt some of what you have and also seen the appalling conduct from people in authority and those with power – who are actually here to protect and serve, but instead hurt and kill.

      Your message has inspired me in more than one way. I am encouraged to fight and continue to fight for every step that I can move forward, while the next in line after me will push it another step forward.

      I truly appreciate hearing your true feelings, this helps as it also makes it okay for others like me to feel similarly on this path and while we continue to fight injustice, racism, systemic discrimination, harassment, and more.

    114. steve kern says:

      Dr. Sellers – thank you for reminding us of our duty to respond to the call of our country’s legacy: the blood, toil, sweat and tears of African Americans as they suffered and built this country. It demands respect as well as a vision we cannot lose sight of.

      There is so much work left to be done to heal the country and bring us to a more perfect union.

    115. Gerald Higgins says:

      Dear Rob Sellers-

      I am a white, male professor and I feel exhausted as well. It may be that I am growing weary of what I have seen over the last 6 decades.

      I am the son of 2 ministers and the older brother of an African American sister who my parents adopted in 1962, having obtained an “exception” from the state supreme court in Connecticut because they were white and my sister is black. My father took me to several civil rights marches in the 1960s, and we were attacked twice by counter-demonstrators wielding rocks, bottles, and other rudimentary weapons. Later when I marched for justice in Washington I was shot by the DC police (rubber bullets) who were “protecting” President Richard Nixon. When I was married in 1980 in Capetown I was forced to sign a document testifying that I was a white person marrying another white person (Nelson Mandela was still in prison on Robben Island).

      I now live on land just west of Ann Arbor in Washtenaw County and I commute about 10 miles to the medical school. I love and respect every human (and every living thing) as I learned at a very young age. Out here one of my neighbors is a member of a group called the Michigan militia, and he is a state police officer, but I treat him with the same respect and kindness as I treat everyone else. Nonetheless, in my community in rural Michigan, there are no residents that are African American, Latino, or Asian American. Yet many who live here are poor and resent what they view as the entitled liberal elite of Ann Arbor. Up until the coronavirus pandemic, I lived a life in 2 very different worlds.

      Thank you for your inspirational words! I am so frustrated by the polarization and hatred that I have experienced over a lifetime.

    116. Hello World says:

      Thank you Dr. Sellers for this heartfelt message!

      As a first-generation college student and an Asian-American growing up in both a largely homogenous Eastern Asian country and a mostly White/Asian neighborhood in the U.S., I have found it ironically difficult to voice against societal injustices because of my own unique perspective and upbringing. Many times, I couldn’t fully wrap my head around an on-going issue because I had rarely, on a personal level, encountered a similar incident despite of the constant social media bombardment on a daily basis. For many years, I couldn’t vicariously sympathize with the fear of said life-threatening pull-overs by police as an American of African descent, nor could I grasp the all-encompassing exhaustion and despair thereof, had I not been there to experience and to feel.

      In the advent of social media, recent recordings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and racial remarks against Asian-Americans had me shaken to the core as I couldn’t help shedding tears as I scrambled for tissues. The rolling images of how these two young men had to run and to beg for their lives in the face of police misconducts and fighting to prove their “Americanness” in 2020 hit too close to home and made me reflect how far we have come, as a nation, from Trail of Tears to Chinese Exclusion Act to Japanese Internment camps to Brown v. Board of Education and civil rights movement in the 60’s, just to name a few. It has been an ambivalent experience juxtaposing the celebration of Crew Dragon Demo 2 and the on-going public outcry for justice. Is it really, as mankind collectively, easier to land people on the Moon and build a space station than to treat each other as equals, with fairness and respect?

    117. Darlene Ray-Johnson says:

      Thank you for sharing our truth! Other’s have stated that they are tired of being tired. The George Floyd incident has made me realize that I am beyond tired. I am weary, plain and simple. And I am angry! I am angry at the officer who so callously snuffed out the life of another Black man – father, son, brother, citizen. I am angry at the three officers who were complicit in this murder. I am angry at the justice system that fails us over, and over, and over again. I want to be hopeful, I truly do………………………….

    118. Thank you for your emotional, intellectual, and political leadership. This piece is a gift of embodied scholarship on Black intergenerational tactics and teachings around tiredness. It takes shape as you wake up to exhaustion and as you write staying fast in that space, time, and posture. Speaking in this way–fusing “a riff, a call, and a response” (Gabrielle Foreman) into a personal-public report on the work that precedes going to work-wow! I will assign this in a UM fall minicourse in English on professional life writing (first-person accounts of purposeful work and its speculative futures in a 1619 frame).

      And yes,: first and last lines and the refrains in between.

    119. Derek Lee says:

      Thank you Sellers.
      Need to continue reading uplifting words. I have found myself struggling to sleep at night for the past 3 months due to endless thoughts/fears of being black in America. I know I’m far from alone, but reading intelligent well-thought words from others sharing my concerns lifts my spirits.

    120. Victor Caston says:

      Thank you so much for this —so moving and so necessary

    121. Magdalena J Zaborowska says:

      Dear Vice Provost Sellers,

      I appreciate your message very much, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for speaking out and for not fearing to be vulnerable.
      The opposite of racism is anti-racism, and the opposite of hatred and violence are tenderness and care.
      That is what we need for the country and that is what will make us stronger as an institution committed to social justice.
      Thank you for your leadership.


    122. Mary says:

      Your words bring tears to my eyes – heartfelt and inspiring.
      As a white girl growing up in Detroit during the race riots, I felt the pain that my friends and neighbors endured as black citizens. I had no idea as a child, why they should have to. The Catholic Christian views that my parents instilled in me, as well as my experiences as a child, taught me that all are equal in God’s eyes. I pray and implore others to see each other through the eyes of a child – innocent and loving towards all.

    123. Roland Hwang says:

      Your work and your mission is our mission and work, collectively. Tired or not, we must soldier on.

    124. Julian says:

      I relate tyo your letter as a hispanic, however as an influential member of the UM faculty/administration how are YOU asking a difference pragmatically.
      I see the acceptance rate for AA and Hispanics hovering pretty low, my friend.
      The Ross school accepts a low number of minorities (Blacks and Hispanics) through their intra-campus transfers. This is an area where YOU, Dr. Sellers, can assert some influence. I think talking and writing relieves some of every ones frustration and disbelief of those that are filled with hate and anger in our society but where is the hard data and the work realized, if the numbers of Black and Hispanic students at UM are not fully supported in a REAL and meaningful way. I believe only through education and financial security and vitality can we be on equal footing…but make no mistake there will always be idiots. . Subtle racism is present and alive to UM students of color (Hispanics/AA) is right in your face…look at the Ross intra campus numbers acceptance percentages. This is just one example.

    125. Jenna says:

      Thank you for sharing such a moving and personal reflection.

    126. Nicole Henley says:

      Wow! I never thought I would read the words written by another person and feel as though they are my own. Thank you Dr. Sellers for sharing such a sobering truth that’s reflective of so many African-Americans living in America today. I am an African-American, Christian woman who continues to believe that one day our children’s children will live out the freedom that our ancestors fought so hard for us to experience. I’m a believer that we are dealing with a rooted spiritual battle of hatred and evil, and prayer works! I’m encouraged by your heartfelt words to continue to have faith, hope, and courage to fight for a better tomorrow. I pray you and your family continue to stay healthy and safe during these uncertain times.

    127. Kathy Devereux says:

      Wonderful words Rob. I truly felt it. I pray one day we can all heal and just be individuals without any labels.

    128. Gina Poe says:

      Your words, Rob Sellers, brought tears to my eyes as I looked at my own son, just turned 18, and thought about the burden our messed up society places on his shoulders. Back when I was a young woman I decided not to have children because the world is so dangerous. It was a reasonable stance. Fortunately for the survival of our species, love, indeed, biology isn’t reasonable. So, here I am with four children of whom I am proud. I think about the hopes I have for them to be able to change this world to be better – and the tiresome burden that my aspirations put on them. And so I work now for their sakes, to try my best to make this world better now, so that their burden is a little lighter when I can no longer share it.

      Thank you for continuing to get out of bed, for finding the strength from your parents and from generations of fighters before us, and for doing this exhausting work for the sake of our children and our children’s children. May this point in history serve as a(nother) defining turning point – a chance for everyday heroes to shine their guiding light and bring us all to a better place.

      May all of us be at a point in not too many years from now where we can stop and celebrate, rejoice at the fruits of our labors, the purification and atonement, the FRESH START we can make after all this work is done. We are in this together, brother.

      Over here in Los Angeles doing the good work, too (almost joined your UM team before I was lured away!), your sister, shoulder-to-shoulder, Gina

    129. Judy Wolf says:

      Fighting the good fight for any group that is “other” (gender, race, class, sexual orientation, faith, etc.) can seem Sisyphean. Thankfully, unlike Sisyphus, we can see progress. It is frustratingly, and terrifyingly, slow, but your points about our ancestors and our descendants are on point. We can’t give up, for we’d dishonor them — and ourselves.
      And if we give up, those whose hearts are sadly host to misunderstanding and stereotypes, bigotry and hatred, fear and violence will no longer have anyone to challenge their beliefs.
      If that ever happens, God (or the deity of your choice) help us all.

    130. LIsa M. Green MA, LPC - PhD Candidate says:

      Dr. Sellers,
      I greatly appreciate your transparency and courage. Thank you for sharing. I was beginning to feel defeated by the events occurring around me at home, at work, and in society. I believe I am finally sick and tired of being sick and tired. Not physically sick but spiritually, to the point of almost allowing the venom of racism, sexism, and all the other -isms to tarnish my spirit. But I too come from a long line of Ministers and fighters for justice and my renewed vow is, “I’m not tired yet!” Namaste and God Bless.

    131. Will Glover says:

      Thank you for sharing your power with us all Dr. Sellers, and for setting an example of grace, power, and compassion.

    132. LaShorage Shaffer says:

      Thank you! I could not express the “tiredness” I have been feeling lately and where to find resolve in a hope that THIS TIME there will be change. Your words lifted off the screen as if my thoughts were being read. Thank your for your reflection and your courage to share. Peace and prayers!

    133. Earl Smith says:

      Dear Bob:

      From an old friend, thanks for your post!

      Earl Smith

    134. Claudette Grinnell-Davis says:

      Thank you, Rob, for continuing to speak truth to power even in the midst of the bone-aching weariness you are feeling. I am thankful for the ways you have served the University of Michigan, beginning as a GSI during my undergraduate years and then as Area Chair during my PhD and now as Vice-Provost. I learned a lot from you, and here is yet another opportunity to learn again. Sending prayers for peace from Oklahoma…

    135. Dr. Sellers, I am a white woman in her 50’s. I’m sure people will wonder why I lead with that, so let me explain. You words touched me at a level that has seldom happened in my lifetime. I am 1000% with you and the Black community in your feelings of outrage and sadness and, yes, tiredness. I have struggled through my life to remotely understand why I as a white person should fear, hate, disparage and denigrate someone because they are black. What does skin color have to do with the person in front of me? Does their skin color make their mind, heart or soul different? I have never been able to answer those questions. Nor have I been able to answer those questions when they are asked of people who are “different” because of their weight, religion, gender or sexual orientation. Why am I considered an outlier in a white community because I don’t see color? Why do we even say white, Black, Asian, Latino, etc, at all? We are all members of a shared community — yes I may have different traditions or beliefs than you but does that change the fact that I want the best for my family? Does that change the fact that you want the best for yours? No, and for me, it never will. Thank you for sharing such a poignant, heart-felt message.

    136. Tonie Owens says:

      Dr. Sellers,

      Thank you for sharing your story, it touched me to my core.

    137. Ken Resnicow says:


      Thanks for every word but for me the last line carries years of weight.

      “I am still tired of this shit though”

      In solidarity.

    138. Duxin Sun says:

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. What a timely and moving piece! At this critical time in history, your voice sent a powerful message. As members of Asian/Asian American community and UM-ACP, we share and support the same view.
      It is surprising and sad to see that history seems to move backward in the past few years. The best outcome of 50 years civil right movement seems to be disappearing overnight. The unjust treatment to African Americans and other minority groups seems to be normalized. The open racism seems to be encouraged as speaking one’s mind. All of these highlight the importance of ODEI office and the wonderful job you have done in the University of Michigan. Every one of us can do our part, and we stand together to make our community a better place.

    139. Definitely food for thought

    140. Diane M Harper says:

      Thank you

    141. Lirong says:

      Thank you Dr. Sellers. I am neither white nor black but I am also “tired”, of government/police/law keeping breaking their promises/making false enforcement. Now we are talking life, lives, disappearing in front of us, in the 21st century, let alone amid this pandemic crisis — it has already put too much weight on everybody. We could only hope and do something to make it a little better every time.

    142. Kathy says:

      Loved every word!

    143. Mika says:

      As a fellow African American–part of the “Black Folk,” crew…I sincerely and wholeheartedly, “THANK YOU,” for your eloquence and most importantly for, “KEEPING IT REAL!”

      I am hurt, I am tired, and I AM SCARED!!

      Who is next?? Will it be my husband? My son? My daughter? Will it be me???

      I AM SCARED!

      I am scared, yet I am encouraged. Why? Because “change,” is coming. How do you know? Because Mr. Floyd, God rest his soul; IS a martyr of sort, and because of his death it is NOT just us, “Say(ing) his name,” it is the world.

    144. Lynn Glazewski says:

      How can I help you carry your burden? I feel as if I owe you and yours a great debt.

    145. Thomas Michael Vincent Ward says:

      Dr. Sellers,
      I’m a 69 y.o. White male who now lives in Worcester, Massachusetts. Raised in Detroit and a product of its public schools. My MSW from Michigan made me focus on supporting young people and set me on a path that allowed me to slowly chip away at the everyday tragedy that high school students struggle with on a daily basis. My days of marching and waving a placard are behind me. I will continue supporting individual students or a student who picks up their unique cross and vows to fix things, even incremental progress is worthy. Keeping the faith …. that’s all we have.
      ~ Tom Ward, School of Social Work, 1979

    146. Cheryl Marks says:

      Thank you for expressing our heartfelt pain, our brokenness and our hope. You are very much appreciated…. Baltimore mom, wife, sister, family and friend.

    147. Gail Kuhnlein says:

      Dr. Sellers, thank you for sharing your pain, your perspectives, your story and your optimism. These are heart wrenching, heartbreaking times. This quote from your post resonated strongly with me: “Nonetheless, my parents never veered from their belief that the brightest day only shone on the other side of the darkest night.” I will help to work toward and believe that the brightest days are ahead. Peace and love to you and the world, especially to people of color, Gail

    148. Amanda D says:

      Thank you so very much. Reading through this I saw the images of my mother and grandmother praying, singing, and swaying. My parents were activists as well, but somehow they were able to shield us from their hurt, but when I would see them standing in church, praying, singing, and swaying I felt their pain, I felt their tired. Thank you for the reminder of our commitment and our duty, no matter how weary.

    149. John Burkhardt says:

      Rob, your powerful statement, couched in the context of deep fatigue and justified anger, carries the challenge directly to us. So many—and I—have lived in the faith that “justice will prevail” but without evidence. None of us can make an altar of our hopes. None of us can breathe until this sin is scoured.

    150. Gwdaver says:

      Thank you for renewing the collective resolve through your message and renewal of your own –
      No one is free when others are oppressed.

      ~Author Unknown

    151. Nojin Kwak says:

      Thank you, Rob, for sharing your honest thoughts and feelings that we need to hear–amen and amen.

    152. Angeline S Lillard says:

      Consciousness is raising, bit by stubborn bit, we are getting there my man, and I understand why you are tired tired tired. All white people must take on responsibility as too few of us have yet, to stand up, to speak out, to stand by and defend and help our darker-skinned brothers and sisters and others against the ignorance and violence of those who fail to empathize with all they and their ancestors have suffered, and who would perpetuate the negativity our ancestors bestowed on this land.
      We must keep fighting the good fight, for MLK and so many others, before and after. My heart is aching too, and I pledge to lend strength to this fight where ever I can.

    153. Daniel Sellers says:

      Big brother,
      Thank you for that! Our parents are very proud to know that their instructive freedom approach has truly powered your spiritual, emotional and social growth! Leaders lead!

      Danny Sellers

    154. Carol Rose Kahn says:

      Thank you Dr. Sellers for your beautiful words that cut through the headlines , the videos , photo ops and politics.
      Your last sentence is pure spiritual poetry and brings me to tears

    155. Melissa C. Carter says:

      My exact sentiments. Can’t give up.
      Thank you for encouraging the young and old of all colors, creeds and cultures.
      “I don’t feel no ways tired”
      Rev. James Cleveland

    156. Tim Coble says:

      Wow. This was sent to me by my friend, Jeff Johnson, and I couldn’t be more glad he did. This touches on feelings I couldn’t begin to express. Thank you very much. I hope your university understands the treasure they have.

    157. Heather Walline says:

      Thank you for sharing your story. I hear your words and care. You are right to be tired and angry. I am committed to the black community and all people of color to stand with you and for you.

    158. Tim Williams says:

      We done sir. Well done.

    159. Michelle Adams says:

      Thank you for sharing your very moving and important story. I will be sharing your words with my own family in hopes we can continue to grow in our understanding, respect and love of all.

    160. Marilyn Roubidoux says:

      I am tired, angry and sad but also repeatedly thankful for MLK for the huge difference he made for the hope for equality, and opportunity, for my generation of women and for Native AMericans. My father had said “I always had to think twice, because I was an Indian” relative to the police in the western state where we lived. Thank you for your message.

    161. Well done, classmate/teammate. This is something that should be shared broadly.

    162. Ann Lin says:

      Dear Rob – Thank you for lifting and carrying so many of us at this university. Thank you for always speaking the truth.

    163. Natasha Taylor says:

      Thank you for using your platform to paint a real picture and be a voice for a demographic of the University, both academic and medical that feel like we cannot speak this truth out loud to anyone but our own. Thank you for being brave and open and honest for us.

    164. Dear Robert,
      As a woman who graduated over 36 years ago from U of M, thank you for your courage and leadership to share your heartfelt message with all of us. You showed grit and grace! You spoke of how your parents inspired you to have optomism that change was coming.

      Now, we see far too many set backs to the dreams of Dr. Martin Luther King. However, consciousness is rising across ALL races! We all watched in horror the videos that have been played and replayed of Geroge Floyd. It was like a lynching in 2020. Three others looked indifferently to the death of another human being and did not intercede. I pray and yes, I do think, we all are taking time to pause and see all the injustices African Americans have suffered.

      I have been doing Mission work in Guatemala the last five years alongside my friends from an Allen Temple AME Church in Mt. Vernon, NY. I love the women and men whom I have had the pleasure to work, pray, cry and serve with from this church. I have forged some amazing relationships there and can not bear the pain, sadness, injustice, and judgement that they have had to endure. How could any woman who has a son who happens to be African American, not worry?Thus, I too am tired of indifference, lack of empathy, despair, or thinking this is someone else’s problem. We as a country must challenge one another to move forward on the issues of race.

      I grew up outside of the riots of Detroit in a nice suburb. However, I walked with members of Focus Hope into Detroit to promote buiding understanding, cooperation, and relationships between whites and blacks. Plus, offering skills to bring economic opportunities. Let’s engage and have dialogue over the elephant in the room, RACE. Let us NOT judge asomeone as a threat just because of the color of his or her skin. I pray that others can build the amazingly positive, helpful and deep relationships that I have come to have with my friends at Allen Temple. We are all more alike than different and we must work to break these chains of institutional bondage. I pray that you know your words are very important for all of us to hear right now! We are all very tired and weary for the social injustices but yet, I can not imagine what you have experienced as a black man. I am in support of my University, my Country and my fellow Americans changing this country into a country where people are judged by the contents of their hearts and character versus the color of their skin. We must all band together to change this horrible situation but hopefully, peacefully.

    165. Betsy Snider says:

      Dr Sellers:
      Thank you for lifting your voice and sharing your bone-tired weariness with the world. Your eloquence is moving and your pain is carried deep inside, stretching back over generations and carried forward, unfortunately. But it is that carrying that will lift us all, including us white people, to the promise of this country. As a Michigan grad (law school and LSA), I want to thank you for sharing with us your vision and hope.

    166. laurie says:

      This is a beautiful letter,truly inspirational thank you.

    167. Alicia says:

      Dear Dr. Sellers:
      I will not even try to emulate the power of your words nor the eloquence of the people who have answered to them.
      But I want to tell you that you are not alone. Millions of people around the world have reacted and are very aware of what happened to George Floyd and what it means in our human reality.
      I am an alumni of U of M, was helped greatly by Ms. Patricia Wulp at CEW and I am originally from South America (which makes me a “Hispanic” in America.)
      I am proud of what you have done in your life and of how you articulate your truth during these very sad, tragic and indescribable times. I will try to share your words and those of your readers, as they are a light in the darkness.
      At 76, I don’t dare to go out and protest, but I will help in any other way to continue advancing the cause of justice for all, seeing through our physical appearances, our true selves.
      I hope to meet you someday, Dr. Rob Sellers and tell you personally how I feel.
      Thank you for sharing your tiredness with the world.

    168. Veretta C. Coleman says:


    169. Che says:

      Thank you! Your words are moving and evokes a desire to to make now the time for change.

    170. Dale Jerome says:

      You’ve said it all, Rob. Will we never learn? I was feeling so dejected and you have given me some hope reminding me of those small incremental steps we’ve been able to take, given me hope for a path forward. I join your “resolve to do all that I can to make whatever change I can”. But what a slog it will be and so much heartbreak and suffering between steps.

      Thanks for writing this piece, Rob. As you can see, it has helped a lot of people through our recent crises.

    171. Lynn Smith, BBA 69 says:

      I have been profoundly moved by Dr Sellers’ words and pain. And by the comments of so many others. I stand with all of you.
      We cannot afford to lose the energy, life and talent being sucked away daily dealing with any kind of discrimination.

    172. Maria E COTERA says:

      Thanks so much for these words Rob, they are very meaningful to all of us who share your sense of exhaustion and your hope. Holding you and others up in my heart during this dark time.

    173. Anita Martinez says:

      Thank you Dr. Sellers! We all grieve with you! I know it took a lot of courage to share your heart. I’m proud of your transparency! Tu lucha es mi lucha!

    174. Martin Fallon says:

      Thank you Dr. Sellers,
      Your letter should be shared with all places of worship and all those elected to public office, those responsible for education, and those leading banks and brokerage houses and in control of law enforcement. Everyone with leadership positions needs to be reminded of their collective responsibilities to the public good, because the status quo makes them complicit in our current social problems. Know the issues, fix the issues or leave the not-level playing field, because this 400 year old dilemma is not going away.

    175. Jay Hack. LSA '73 says:

      Comments from a 68 year old, white, New York attorney who specializes in representing banks. LSA Class of 1973. I posted this elsewhere a few days ago, but I think it is appropriate here.

      I first tangled with the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s club wielding thugs in 1969. It looks like they haven’t learned their lessons yet.

      I don’t know whether the evening violence in recent demonstrations has been caused by outside left-wing agitators, white supremacist agitators, or just local people who are pissed off, but I just don’t have it in my heart to complain about it. If I had spent my entire life worried about whether that minute would be my last because some police officer or white vigilante could decide to shoot me or choke me to death and know that he would get away with it, I doubt that I would control myself if I finally got a chance to show how angry I was.

      I have read and heard many stories of Holocaust victims and Holocaust survivors about what it was like to walk down the street in Germany or somewhere else in Eastern Europe facing the constant fear that the Gestapo would sweep you up and deposit you in a concentration camp. I have recently been reading the diary of the young girl from southeastern Poland, where much of my mother’s family came from, who was eventually killed in a Nazi massacre with a lot of the other Jews in the town. Although I don’t know for sure, I believe that my mother’s cousin, her cousin’s husband, and her cousin’s child (who would have been my second cousin) were killed in the same massacre. It is hard, probably impossible, for me to put myself in the shoes of parents who have been forced to have what has apparently become known as “the talk” with their sons. I always thought that was when my wife and I had a talk with our sons about how to treat women when they went out on a date, not how to be obedient to an overbearing police officer in the hope that my child would not become a statistic. But if I think about my mother’s cousin walking down the streets in Przemyśl after the Nazis took over, I think I understand, at least a little bit.

      So I just wanted to say that some violence, looting and arson just doesn’t make me angry at the demonstrators when I see that the treatment we got from the Washtenaw County Sheriff over 50 years ago as left-wing antiwar demonstrators is still being meted out on the local citizenry as punishment for standing on the sidewalk while Black.

    176. Dear Dr. Sellers,
      I am a Michigan Ph.D. and retired professor and academic administrator. I have some sense of the enormous responsibility and challenge you have in your position. Your courage, strength, honesty and resolve are an inspiration. I am grateful for your life and work and lift you up in my thoughts and prayers.
      Blessings on you and all of us working in the name of justice.
      Patricia Vandenberg

    177. Robin Nwankwo says:

      I wondered why I am still hopeful given the aggressions recorded over the last few years. Reminds me of the killings in the Southern communities my mother lived in. Her stories were laced with fear and her counsel to us was to swallow and look away in order to survive. Dr Sellers your message gives voice to my hope. Our future generations deserve our stand.

    178. Dan Brockman says:

      Thank you.
      I graduated from the UofM 60 years ago this month. Marches were just starting in far off Alabama. And today years later we still need to reach and teach those misinformed individuals who perpetuate racism. It’s a mission for educational institutions across our country. Students keep failing, but don’t stop. Keep on going. Keep on teaching.

    179. Thank you.
      “We Who Believe in Justice Cannot Rest Until it Comes.”

      When I graduated from UM in 1964 largely ignorant of both existing political storms and future ones bearing down, the thought that a war 10,000 miles distant would soon radicalize me was inconceivable. Amidst of that war abroad and the violent-on-one-side civil rights and class wars at home, Martin Luther King lucidly linked racism, poverty and militarism. Under slavery, huge profits were possible south and north. Post Reconstruction racism continues to ensure faster and deeper accumulation of wealth by a few. Institutional racism is not in human DNA. Today you have to be willfully blind to avoid observing how the institutions of our ruling economic/social system are fundamentally corrupt and unsustainable. Wealth surrounded by poverty. Privilege surrounded by insecurity. Healthcare, education, housing limited for the many. A constant barrage of murder, incarceration, diseducation, hunger, sickness, homelessness imposed by race, class and gender unplugs a revolt. Oil profits demand climate destruction; the youth rise up. A tiny virus shakes the failing empire to its core; answered with creativity.

      Tired, exhausted even. Until justice comes…

    180. D. G. Griffin 67 says:

      This train left the station a long, long time ago. We get on board during our time. It came through Ann Arbor a number of times. I remember it rolling through the Diag in the mid-60’s. And it keeps coming. As each new passenger boards, the light in the front shines brighter and brighter into the darkness. No matter the obstacles, it keeps rolling on. Progress, progress, progress. We look back to see where we came from. We look forward to see where we are going. Progress, progress, progress…

    181. Cece says:

      Thank you for sharing your heart, Rob. I pray that it doesn’t fall on deaf ears. May we be the change we want to see in the world today!

    182. Diana says:

      Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing them.

    183. Janalee Graham says:

      Well said. Praying for God’s wisdom, protection, and justice for all Americans.

    184. Harvey A Somers says:

      Dr. Sellers,

      The resolve you are so eloguently sharing with us, despite your profound sense of tiredness, should inspire all who read your statement. I hope your words will have impact and you will continue to speak out.

      With respect, Harvey Somers, Ann Arbor

    185. Theadra Fleming says:

      Thank you,
      Today, I breathe better than yesterday.

    186. Elizabeth Hofmeister LSA ‘85 says:

      So incredibly powerful. Thank you for sharing your soul. The U of M makes me proud every day, but never more so than after reading your article. Dr. Sellers, you are an inspiration.

    187. Paul Downey says:

      Thanks, Dr. Sellers. I appreciate your words and thoughts. We should all look at our own role in helping America to “live up to its creed”. And I’m pleased that we can move this discussion forward at Michigan.

    188. Amy Young says:

      I am just one more person who is deeply appreciative of you sharing your story with such raw authenticity. It is a powerful message that is affecting so many people deeply & I have shared it widely. We are very fortunate to have you as part of the UM leadership team.

    189. Nan Hatch says:

      Thank you Dr. Sellers, for sharing what many of the rest of us are finding hard to put into words. We have so much work left to do. You remind me again how proud I am to be a member of the University of Michigan community.

    190. KellyAnne says:

      What a powerful message. I hope that you can find some renewal also in the appreciation and support of your fellow members of the U of M community. We are with you in these dark days.

    191. William Arnold says:

      Thank you, Dr. Sellers for sharing your commitment as a way of inspiring hope and renewal in others.

    192. Mark Abboushi says:

      Thank you for the words of wisdom. You have no doubt done your parents proud. From being a classmate of yours in both Walnut Hills High School and later at The University of Michigan, I have always been impressed with your deep sense of optimism. I see it even here, at this time.

    193. Michael J Brenner says:

      Black lives matter — immeasurably, and I do not understand why as a society we do not all understand how precious each life is. And Black words matter, too. Thank you, Professor Sellers, for reaching within and finding the strength to share your poignant reflections to help us grasp where we are, where came from, and how far we have to go as we look to the long, arduous road ahead. In times of grieving, anger, and uncertainty, you are a beacon, shining a light on the path forward amid one of the darkest hours in recent memory. What we have seen is the legacy of hundreds of years of racism that are woven deeply into the fabric of our shared history. The deaths are all the more traumatic, being cast against the backdrop of a pandemic, where suffering in death has been distributed so inequitably. The tragedies of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery are a clarion call for moral reckoning as a nation.

      It is also imperative that we recognized these tragic and disturbing deaths for what they are — not isolated events but the tip of a vastly larger iceberg of racism that extends far deeper and far wider than we can consciously discern — which makes stubborn, indefatigable optimism all the more important. We are in this together. It is difficult to imagine racism more graphic than what we have borne witness to in recent days, and as we reflect on these tragedies, it behooves us to remember that an at least equally deep wound is inflicted by the far more insidious structural racism that is embedded in our institutions, our culture, and ourselves.

      Some years ago I first read Camara Phyllis Jones famous article, “Levels of racism: a theoretic framework and a gardener’s tale” and it changed the way that I thought about racism. Twenty years after its writing, it speaks to the work before us. Her more recent work reveals how the deleterious effect of stress related to racism strips away years and decades from the lives of Blacks. Racism exacts unimaginably more lives and lifetimes than we will ever see with the naked eye on any TV, radio, or smartphone. When these deaths are long behind us and we are lifting away the rubble of lost lives from the pandemic, let us remember Vice Provosts Sellers’ enduring wisdom that we should hold fast to our optimism for the future, and that it is a long road, on that links us to ancestors and the extends long beyond us. Through learning and through knowledge we can slowly step forward. Thank you, Dr. Sellers and all who took the time to share your voices, your experiences, and your optimism.

    194. Norma says:

      Thank you! Perhaps, the time has come for you to follow your parents lead.
      Norma M.

    195. Yun-Ru Chen says:

      Thank your for your message that is inspirational. Studying at UMich more than 25 years ago as an international student, I felt more inclusivity and diversity than discrimination (although it existed) at UMich. I always take the lesson learned with me and remind myself of my commitment to humanity. I know it is a long way to go for any society, but we should never give up hope and vision.

    196. Deidre Dorre-Fuller says:

      Thank you for taking the time to share your pain, to give hope and to encourage us all to find our inner strength. You are not alone! I hear you and want to help. We all fear for our families, futures and humanity. May God guide us through these dark days and shine His light upon us all may His truths ring loudly in the ears of His people. 🙏✌️❤️

    197. Jeff Lewin, BA '72 says:

      We are all tired, but we must keep moving. Thank you for your contribution. I was part of the White support group in the BAM protest & strike in Spring 1970. Our victory was a small step toward building a more diverse study body. It has been a long path. I was proud of U-M’s position in the 2003 Supreme Court decision in Grutter v. Bollinger. I am proud that U-M has a Chief Diversity Officer. I was moved by your words and your “great faith that the next generation will take the next steps.”

    198. Erica Meyer says:

      Dr. Sellers,
      I appreciated reading your piece. It is enough: the injustice, the degradation, the brutality against Black bodies, and the theft of Black lives. The overwhelming injustice penetrates our educational system, health care, law enforcement, employment, political process, housing, and financial system. The video of Mr. Floyd’s murder, along with the story of his life and the events of that day, has shown the country, reflected in one police officer’s eyes and deeds, the horrible reality of racism. But it is so much more than one (or four) police officers. Racial injustice is baked-in to every important system in American life. It makes me angry and tearful just thinking of the monumental task that is remaking these systems.

      I hope that Mr. Floyd’s death (and all the other murders of people of color and daily injustices born by people of color) is not in vain. Perhaps, for a breath, people who have not spent their lives and their careers working for racial equity will come forward and carry of bit of this load along with you and every Black neighbor and friend and co-worker. Maybe some will take it up as their work. Maybe some White people will take this moment to show their children how to live their lives in ways that make our country better or to demand change. No doubt those children will grow up to witness injustice and racism in their future, but the alternative is worse; it is to be complicit with the system. I hope that more people will join your efforts and stand up against what has been so wrong for so long. It is no wonder you are tired: you have made real differences in the lives of students at U-M, and this is so hard to do in this country. I am proud to be an U-M alumnus and wish to express gratitude for the work you have done. I will try to lend support, love, and compassion, and work to bring about substantive change in my community, in my family network, in my friends, and in my children. Thank you for your words and your work.

    199. I see you. I hear you. I stand with you.
      This country may not have been meant for POC (and I understand why you say so) but I for one would be devastated if we were a country without diversity. And I am so proud of my university for supporting you writing this. I understand your fatigue but you are not alone in this fight, nor in your devastation at the continual news cycle of Black men and women dying needlessly.

    200. Priscilla Lisicich says:

      Dear Dr. Sellers,
      Thank you for sharing your deep felt emotions and your personal story. You have inspired many as i can see from all the posts. Your testimonial resonates with our African American community in Tacoma. Now is the time for white people like me to continue stepping up as allies and co-conspirators to lay the foundation for the change we may not see in our life-time, but change that is critical to our democracy.

      Thank you,

    201. Dave says:

      Last year in 2019, 19 unarmed white people were killed by police, and 10 unarmed black people were killed by police. Also, a police officer is over 18 times more likely to be killed by a black male, than a black male is to be killed by the police. Think about these facts.

    202. Randall R. Smith says:

      Being tired, marching, looting and setting cars afire do not address the issues haunting us from 1619 Jamestown. We need to specifically address how it happens that public officials can have 18 serious complaints in 19 years of service and still retain their jobs. How is it none of those present during the recent unpleasantness never called 911 during the incident? Why is so much said and so little done to bring “all men are created equal” into reality?

    203. Amy Schulz says:

      Rob – thank you for sharing these powerful and heartfelt perspectives. Your leadership, and that of others in the University community, continues to be critical to our efforts to move forward in the face of the continued assaults on justice and equity. I look forward to continuing to work with you toward the vision of equity and justice.

    204. Johnny Linn says:

      Thank you for this message. I really appreciate it. As a gay man, I can relate to your feelings on may levels, but I still have my white privilege, so I can never fully understand. I think that is the problem that so many liberal people face, they truly believe they do understand, but you can only understand your own story. I can’t understand what is like to have a person cross the street because I am a person of color and they fear being near me. I can understand what is it like to be called a sissy, fag, and other names on the streets of Ann Arbor. I can’t understand what is like to be treated differently by the police, because my skin is a darker hue. I can understand what it was like to have stones thrown at me in high school for being something I was still struggling to understand about myself.

      This act was beyond my reasoning. I have yet to be able to see the full video of what happened to Mr. Floyd. I also feel physically ill each time I hear about another of my trans sisters, most who are people of color, murdered each year. There are websites that keep track of those murders, because rarely do the new outlets cover those murders, and we do not want to forget that these victims existed, they mattered, and they were loved!

      We have a lot of work to do at UM, in Michigan, and in the entire US!

    205. Leslie Leuschner says:

      ….. As a white woman with black family members inside our lovely and amazing Bi-racial family … I say, my heart has hurt for all the years I’ve been old enough to see the racial divide and racism that happens. This was a wonderfully written article that really makes one learn and F E E L the struggle. You are tired today …. just Rest today …. and get back up “tomorrow” and carry on with your ancestors dream … it WILL happen … and yes, I too wish “sooner than later”…..

    206. David Michener says:

      Dr. Sellers,

    207. Scott Wimer says:

      What a beautiful and heartfelt piece of writing. I am a white man, and I feel exhausted. You really put into words how discouraged and exhausted you and many other African Americans are feeling.

      I hope we can all take care of ourselves during these dark times, and also work towards correcting the gross injustices in our country.

    208. Dear Dr. Sellers,
      Thank you so very much for your heartfelt and searingly honest report of what you are experiencing, I get it about being so tired. I have always been an optimistic, hopeful person and so I always, without even thinking about it, look for hope. I love the way you talked about all the seemingly intractable problems we have and still found a way that we must be hopeful. I agree with you that hope helps us work for change, and the belief that even though we don’t know when it will get better, it will, it has to because we truly are better than this. I do believe in the better nature of all of us. I graduate from Michigan in 1975 and have always been so proud of my university in what it stands for and you only add to that pride I feel and I know all students, faculty and alumni feel. I don’t think we had a diversity officer when I was a student, but I’m so glad we have one now and that it is you!

    209. Regenia Lumbard Griswold says:

      Dr. Sellers, I wish that I had read your article prior to waking up this past Monday morning. By doing so, I might have been spared the unfamilar feelings of sadness and despair as I began my day. Your narrative gave voice to my feelings that morning as I thought about the senseless and shocking public murder of George Floyd just one week earlier. I realized that I was also weary at the prospect of sitting through Zoom meetings with white coworkers who would be fixated on images of rioting and looting versus the horrific circumstances of yet another African American killed at the hands of white police officers or vigilantes.

      Thank you for your articulating our pain, as well as for reminding us of our strength and courage to “Fight On”–a more contemporary gospel song than ” No Ways Tired”! I am encouraged and confident that our children will continue the fight as they have already picked up the mantle. As an African American alumna of the University of Michigan, I am so grateful to you for sharing your feelings in such an open manner.

    210. Luis says:

      Promise me you’ll always remember

      you are braver than you believe
      stronger than you seem
      and smarter than you think

    211. Les Satin says:

      Thank you, Dr. Sellars. Your words and thoughts mean a great deal.

    212. Thank you, Dr. Sellers, for putting your thoughts, feelings, and considered possibilities to paper. You touch our hearts and draw us to listening.

      I am white, 83 years old, a long-ago veteran of the Civil Rights Movement, and have seen way too many jury and grand-jury decisions leaving yet one more policeman in this country freed to see himself as a “warrior” against something never quite named but certainly to be feared.

      Too many black men have been murdered by policemen in this country for us to feel much more than ready to fight some more to achieve perhaps just a few more steps toward real equality . . . but then, maybe, this time somehow just FEELS a little bit different.

      And while I dare not give in to a feeling of optimism . . . I do feel myself inching just a tiny bit closer to the possibility of hope. Perhaps this millennial generation has totally had it with yet one more unacceptable leaning that was handed down to them unjustified.

      And I want to stand here, out in the street, arms waving wildly and cheering loudly, godspeed to us all.

    213. Ellen Elliott Weatherbee says:

      Your comments are excellent, Rob!!! Thanks for being so specific and so graphic. I personally will try even harder than I do now. I promise that in your name. Please keep talking to us–you are a huge voice of reason, power, and sense (mixed in with your frustration).

    214. Dr. Sellers, I was finally able to really take this in. You are remarkable. Your body of work, mentorship, vision, and administrative role show a legacy of resistance, and this text further exemplifies that. I am blessed to be in the number of people observing and basking in your resplendence. May God continue to give you and yours the resolve to work justly and with fortitude.

    215. Thank you Mr. Sellers for your powerful story about being black in America. I am a 71 white Canadian retired teacher. Watching protests unfold in the U.S., Canada and around the world fills me with hope that this time “a change is goin’ come”. I believe educational reform is critical if equality of educational opportunity is ever to be a reality in the U.S. for African Americans. In Onario funding is distributed equitably across school districts. It is not tied to a community’s ability to raise taxes to fund publicly funded education. That means that whether you are black or white, rich or poor if you attend public schools the same dollars are directed towards your education. This helps to level the playing field going forward. If it can be done here, it can be a reality in the U.S. as well. There needs to be reform to ensure equality of educational opportunity.

    216. Richard Dougherty says:

      Rob, what a touching and meaningful statement. I suspect that you wrote this before demonstrations have swept across the country. Maybe a lot of people are waking up. Your parent’s optimism might finally be justified.

    217. Laura Patterson says:

      Thank you, Rob. Your words moved me deeply.

    218. Darnell D. Jackson says:

      Bless you the ground that your great grandmother and your grandfather walked on because they “planted shade trees under which they would never sit.” We must plant shade trees for others right now. In the words of Judge Damon Keith “we all are walking on floors we did not scrub and we are racing through doors that we did not open.” The pain is real. The hurt has a life of it’s own. The hate we see right now is like a cancer that competes to live off our health cells every hour of the day. Unlike cancer, invisible in most cases to the naked eye, the pain from hate is seen, witnessed and documented for all to see in plain daylight and the microscope of indifference just eats away at our individual and collective desires to act and fight. The real pain occurs when we see, witness and feel this cancer of indifference and… we do nothing. Einstein said it well, “The world is not evil because of the evil doer but because of those who do nothing. So, I say to you my brother, now is the time to make real the promise of “the pursuit of happiness” for all humankind. Now is the time to renew our strength for the cause of justice. Like the old gospel spiritual says, “I’m in no ways tired” because “eyes have not seen and ears have not heard the great things in store for peace and justice and righteousness. “No lie (of injustice) can live forever.” In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, “right crushed down to the earth shall rise again. You can’t keep a Black man down in the valley unless you stay down there yourself. Now is the time for justice for the oppressed and the oppressor. The oppressed and oppressors are all tired of this SH*#! Right is on the scaffold, wrong is on the throne but only if we are indifferent. Now is the time to be woke! “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord” and when we get to that day and yes, we will get to that day… That day will come and we will all walk together, saying in the words of that ole time spiritual, “free at last, free at last!” Thank God almighty, we are free at last! So Rob, fear not! Tire not! Despair not! Righteousness is at hand and it will flow like a mighty stream!” No… “life for us ain’t been no crystal stairs but we still climbing and our daughters and sons of all races, of all creeds, of all religions and of all genders will get to the promised land together…”
      On this foundation we should all promise that “our” children will see this bight and shining day. A day that is coming soon. Now is the time! Darnell

    219. Dante Michael says:

      Dr. Sellers does a beautiful job in expressing sentiments related to home and belonging that i think we can all relate to as children of immigrants, slaves and even native peoples. regardless of how we came to this place america, it is all our home, now. as descendants of these many different, yet proud peoples, our collective pasts, present and futures are intertwined as one strand unifying our collective struggle for liberation and freedom. we all belong here; and it is our birthright to claim our home. there are few words that describe the sort of pain and hurt that one feels when you are made to believe that you don’t belong; even though this place is where you can draw a line connecting yourself to the many generations of people that came before you like constellations pointing to your cosmic beginnings. those bright burning stars who struggled, sacrificed and loved in this place remind us of the road we have traveled to arrive where we are now, today. that i could be denied association to this place, prevented from communing with my ancestors, and be forced to live as a stranger in my own home is an excruciating and infuriating pain that spreads like wildfire beneath the skin, traveling throughout the arteries, incinerating blood and oxygen until it suffocates the mind, and i black out. after the fever resides, and i regain consciousness, i am left drained and exhausted; and though i closely examine my body for any injuries, i can’t seem to pinpoint the deep and resonating sensation of despair. these feelings are encapsulated in Dr. Sellers experience of tiredness. the kind of tiredness that seeps past the skin, through the bone and into the soul. however, we, the next generations of young, inspired and starry-eyed folk must remember to continue to support one another as we build up our homes and struggle to claim our collective birthright. it is incumbent upon us to do so. for what are we, if not the hopes and aspirations of the countless lovers, fighters and dreamers who called this place home, too?

    220. Barbara Rimer, BA, 1970, MPH, 1973 says:

      I struck along with many other people, Black and white, during the 1970 Black Action Movement to increase the proportion of Black students. Much has changed, but too much has remained the same. Now, I lead a school of public health, and we are facing similar issues today. i am moved by your writing and your work. Thank you.

    221. Catherine McCallum says:


    222. David Palmer says:

      One of the things that I am sick and tired of is the reaction in this country. Government and Companies say nothing and do little unless there is a place burning somewhere. I received an email from Petsmart the other day pledging changes to help people that they employ. I replied back, Where are you the rest of the time? I cannot stand how we stand up and support equality when the world is burning but once the fires are out SILENCE. I will admit that I am a White man, but I am also American Indian and yes Black. Those are MY people. All of them not just the ones that look good on an application. Yes my ancestors are all those things and a few more. As time goes forward there are more and more people like me with a very diverse background. But I am tired of people not recognizing that Color is nothing but your skin, it does not make you who you really are. It makes me puke every time my future son in law calls and says that he has been stopped. I fear for him because of the ignorant people of this world who will not see that he is a MAN not just a black man. People just need to sit down, shut up and treat everyone like we all are the same because we are. We are all the same race the HUMAN race, too many people do not get that point.

    223. Eileen McMyler says:

      Dear Dr. Sellers,
      I have been reflecting on how to respond to your letter since it was shared with the Michigan Medicine community. I’m committed to learn what anti-racism actions I can take to change the culture and stamp out institutional racism in our country. However, I also wanted you to know that as a white privileged woman who is also a dog owner, I was ashamed by Amy Cooper’s behavior. And I hope and pray that some day in our near future when this story surfaces again, people will turn to each other and ask, “Did that really use to happen in the United States in the 21st century?”

    224. Clyta DeWitt says:

      Dr. Sellers
      I am deeply moved by your open and raw emotions spilled out on the page here. I am sorry for all the hurt, I feel that it was important to send apologies. May we all see a miracle by the end of 2020 and call 2021 the Great Enlightenment.

    225. Judith Anderson says:

      Thank you for sharing your experience, feelings, and thoughts. More importantly, thank you for sharing the narratives of resilence, strength,and the call for the recognition of humanity. Well done sir.

    226. Gary Jones,MD says:

      Thank you, Dr. Sellers
      I am a 69 yo white man. I marched with my brothers and sisters here in New Hampshire last week and I pledge to you that I will NOT remain silent. My children will NOT remain silent. And we will NOT forget.

    227. Jim Zemina says:

      Dr. Sellers – Why is it so hard to get along? We have open hearts, (I pray), but it takes courage, perseverance, and a few moments of our time to also listen. Yes, listen to what a friend, colleague, or stranger has to say. It just takes momentum to move a hill and more…

    228. Emily says:

      Thanks, Dr. Sellers for sharing this topic and it’s very helpful to me

    229. Staff UofM says:

      Dr. Sellers,
      I am a staff member at the U, and have been for a very long time and I have been part of this University ..Thank you for speaking your truth, and not being afraid. As a white woman you inspire me and give me the confidence and optimism to express justice, love, and peace. Thank you.

    230. Md tokeer says:

      My thinking along with many other people, Black and white, during the 1970 Black Action Movement to increase the proportion of Black students. Much has changed, but too much has remained the same. Now, I lead a school of public health, and we are facing similar issues today. i am moved by your writing and your work. Thank you.
      Government different Black and white but action government .

    231. Laura says:

      I live in a community and work there. I see no racism! I have all races come in my work and I do not see color! All are beautiful! There are different races in my neighborhood as well! I live in one of the richest suburbs of At. Paul, MN. I do not know if that makes a difference? There all races working at my work, both male and female. No racial issues at all! So what are we doing right that others are not? I am white and at one point in my history I lived in the worst part of the city if Minneapolis. I never was scared. I worked and had African American friends. Loved them! Did not lock doors of home, no problem. 1999

    232. I feel truly glad to have seen your site page and anticipate so a lot all the more engaging occasions perusing here. Much appreciated again for all the subtleties.

    233. Francesca Sparacino says:

      Thank you for sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings.

      You are right. This country was built by and from the blood, sweat and tears of our brethren of color. More than any single group, we as a country owe our gratitude and allegiance to those who through bondage, strength, faith, resilience and grace gave to us that which we have still not paid the bill. I may not be able to feel your weariness on the same level that you feel your weariness, but I feel your words and your emotions and grievance. I ask that you feel, reflect, heal and move forward with solid strides.

      Rest assured however, that you have allies that are not going anywhere but by your side. We pay homage to you and we will with all our might fight with and for you. This country’s self evident truths are no one’s self evident truths if those self evident truths are not for ALL. Your fight, our fight..will always be on the right side of history. Truly, God-speed to you.

    234. Willa Bugnon says:

      Your words spoke for me, the feeling that I as a child of Jim Crow, sometimes in such rage can not can not articulate with such clarity as you have so wonderfully achieved. Thank You!

    235. Malcolm says:

      I’m tired too. Tired of all this hatred. Some people tend to believe it just goes one way, though.

    236. Salubritas says:

      I would like to give you huge thumbs up for the information you have shared in this post.

    237. John says:

      I’m a white man and I’m tired too. I think we all are. Our Western society is tired. It’s time to do nothing now and just sleep through these fragile years. Madness is here now and chaos will follow. Maybe from the ashes some time in the future humans will awake into a better world – perhaps a world without ideologies, without philosophies, without isms and schisms.

    238. Brian says:

      Seems like, in this case, the outcome was that an entirely new put-down was created and that this “Karen”def. lost.

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