Recently I’ve had the opportunity to part of several conversations centered around race and togetherness. While these conversations have been difficult and uncomfortable at times – they’re necessary as we look to the future and attempt to be more united rather than divided. And, if we’re all honest in recent years these conversations have become necessary as our social and political climate changes in a way that reminds that we have much more work to do when it comes to racism. I’ve found myself asking what we as a people can do to sort out the many complex issues and within in the past month or, so I’ve had the opportunity to have some conversations around race and how we become more united.
Within the past week I have attended a conversation and on race with author Michelle Alexander based on her book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. One of the things she said during her talk was “Each of us can do something more than we’re doing today without risking our lives. We’ve got to start there, by doing what we’re willing and capable of to advance this movement. If we do, collectively, we can shake the foundations of the system.” I’m personally appreciative of Michelle Alexanders encouragement for us and I believe that we all can do something to advancement a movement of togetherness, understanding, and advocate for treating all people with kindness and respect.
This month my book club read Blood Done Sign My Name by Timothy Tyson in his book talked about what it was like to grow up as the child of a progressive Methodist minister in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Tyson highlighted that schools in Oxford, NC didn’t desegregate until the 1970s which was surprising to me since my ignorance led me to believe that schools immediately desegregated following Brown v. Board of Education, so reading and learning that schools didn’t immediately desegregate blew my mind and startled me but also made me think about how school systems across America are having conversations about equity now in 2018 and it baffles me that we are finally realizing equity needs to be discussed and that we aren’t putting our best practices forward. Reading this book put in perspective for me that the civil rights movement wasn’t that long ago and made me in many ways question a lot of what is going on in America currently as we experience civil rights issues with a different lens.
Needless to say, a lot of this left me wondering what my response to issues of race should be as an African American male living and a majority white small town in Western North Carolina, well that’s for me to figure out and don’t worry I’ll keep you updated. In the mean time I wrote this prayer:
God, Our Creator and Redeemer,
Make it our mission to fully live out the words of Micah 6:8 as we journey together. Help us to understand what it means to do justice – help us to see that justice is what it looks like to share radical love with your people publicly as Cornell West eloquently said. Help us to know that loving kindness is loving all of your people and being change-agents that speak truth to power and advocate of all people, that we realize we’ve created you, God, in our own personal image when we believe you hate the same people we do. Help us to understand that walking humbly means that we walk with you through this journey of life and that we allow your words and sprit to renew us and to shape and mold us into the who it us you have created each of us to be, servants for you, sharing your unwavering love with all that we come in contact with. Amen.
Friends, we have work to do.