I am sure you have heard these names over and over again: Ahmaud Arbery – killed while jogging. Breonna Taylor – killed while sleeping in her bed. George Floyd – killed while the world watched for eight minutes and forty-six seconds.
These families are in our thoughts and prayers as they are grieving the loss of their loved ones in public.
Many have said June has been a very emotional and exhausting month. We are still dealing with the coronavirus pandemic where over one hundred thousand people have died.
After hearing about these deaths and watching George Floyd die on national television, the world realizes that we also have a pandemic of racism in this country that started with the original sin of slavery.
Condoleezza Rice said, “America is a beautiful country, but it was born with a birth defect.” Africans and Europeans came to this country together but one group was in chains.
One of my mentors who works on reconciliation said, “We only want to talk about racism when the building is on fire and everyone’s yelling fire.” We saw thousands of people in the streets all over the country and other parts of the world yelling fire. They were multiracial, multigenerational groups of people marching in the streets, risking their lives because they want to see change in this country that addresses racism and injustice, including police reform. No longer do they want to see one in one thousand black men and boys die by the hands of the police. We have seen the ugliness of looting and burning down businesses in our streets. This violence needs to stop. Martin Luther King said, “Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”
Will this be the time that we as a nation stop, listen and learn so we can make positive changes to prevent this from happening again? We will have change. It will not be easy getting there. Racism will not die. To fight this racial pandemic, we will need everyone – young, old, whites, people of color, pastors, political leaders, and Jesus Christ. We know that lasting change will only come by a change of heart.
In our reconciliation workshops we discussed ways to start one-on-one dialoguing with people:
1. Spend time with a person or people of another ethnic group to really get to know them.
2. Let a person of another ethnic group tell you his or her story and listen without interruptions or justifications.
3. You don’t have to solve their problems or issues. Just listen. In so doing, you validate them.
4. Show acceptance of others regardless of ethnicity.
5. Be affirming toward others of all ethnic groups.
The Bible describes the path to reconciliation: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32) “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14)
Thank you all for your prayers and financial support as we continue to work at making a difference.
We are praying for your families and hoping that you all stay well.