From a Black Mother to Her Son

An Act of Love

PCFrom Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter and the founder of Dignity and Power Now, in a recent interview with Krista Tippett:

It’s both rage and love at the center of our work, I think. From the beginning, Alicia Garza’s “Love Note” to black people that ended with, “Our lives matter, black lives matter,” it was from a place of rage, but also from a place of deep love for black people. And I think that — when we show up on the freeway, when we chain ourselves to each other, that’s an act of love. That act of resistance is an act of love, that we will put our bodies on the line for our community and really for this country. In changing black lives, we change all lives. And I think that’s the conversation that needs to be penetrated into folks, right? This conversation about black lives mattering is a conversation about all lives mattering, and I think that our work shows as such.

When we have actions of people — have they ever been a part of a Black Lives Matter action — it’s deeply spiritual. It’s often led by opening prayer. Folks are usually sage-ing. We use a lot of indigenous practices. People build altars to people who have passed. And so it’s this moment to both stand face-to-face with law enforcement, but it’s also this moment to be deeply reflective on the people who’ve been killed by the state and give them our honor. It’s an honor to protest for them. So many of our people, names have been lost, and so we’ve said, “We will not forget you. This protest will keep you remembered.” And Sandra Bland was a perfect example. When she was arguably killed inside a jail cell, we said, we will not forget your name, because so often the names are forgotten.

25 Years Later by a Long Shot

RiotsBy Tommy Airey

We have come over a way that with tears have been watered,
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,
Out from the gloomy past,
Till now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

James Weldon Johnson, “Lift Every Voice and Sing”

Last month, we posted up in the pews of an old black Baptist church in Watts for the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s powerful “Beyond Vietnam” speech. We belted out James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the so-called “Black National Anthem,” a song I first heard before the last college basketball game I ever played in (at L.A. Southwest Community College, just a few miles from where we sang in Watts).

A few days later, we joined up with Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries to help staff “Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the L.A. Uprising,” organized by a group called ReconciliAsian, spearheaded by Sue and Hyun Hur, a Korean-American couple who pastor a Mennonite church in Southern California (keep Hyun in your prayers as he heads to North Korea this week). This space provided story-telling from different leaders (black, Latina, Asian and white) bearing witness to those chaotic days in the aftermath of the acquittal of three police officers in the Rodney King beating trial. Continue reading

Morally Coherent & Socially Irresistible

Michael Eric DysonExcerpted from Michael Eric-Dyson’s “Abraham, Isaac and Us,” reposted from OnBeing.org:

The only meaningful interpretation of transcendence we might propose is to strip the term of its philosophical and theological orthodoxy and offer instead a more forceful definition. Truth can be described as transcendent if it illumines the time and place of its emergence as well as other places and periods. Truth’s transcendence is not pegged to its authoritative reflection of an unchanging reality that everyone would agree on if they had access to it. Truth happens when we recognize the expression of a compelling and irrefutable description of reality. Truth is not irrefutable because it appeals to ideals that escape the fingerprints of time and reason. Truth is irrefutable because it is morally coherent and socially irresistible. Continue reading

Place-Based Resurrection

PerkBy Dr. James Perkinson (right), a sermon on Luke 24:13-35

I want to begin with a word of prayer before we jump into the gospel for today, but to facilitate that, first—a story about prayer and some necessary preliminaries. I have a half-Filipino poet friend in Detroit who tells of his first experiences of the Lord’s prayer, while growing up. Whenever he heard “Our Father who art in Heaven,” his five-year-old vernacular ears could not compute “art” as anything other than what happened when you put paint on paper, so his five year-old mind supplied a little slurred “n” in there, and what he actually thought he heard was “Our Father, who aren’t in heaven.” And it rattled him; he couldn’t figure it out; he says he kept thinking, “Well, where is he then?” If not there, then where? But he gradually came to hear it as a positive affirmation: a God who “aren’t” in heaven, because that God’s “place” is really right here, with us. A deep intuition, I would say, for all—what I would call place-based confession. Continue reading

Always Vigilant

audreFrom Audre Lorde’s “Learning from the 60’s,” a talk delivered at Malcolm X weekend, Harvard University, February 1982:

Revolution is not a one-time event. It is becoming always vigilant for the smallest opportunity to make a genuine change in established, outgrown responses; for instance, it is learning to address each other’s difference with respect. Continue reading

A Knowledge Gap

StevensonFrom Christina Gregg in an article entitled “Bryan Stevenson: America’s failure to deal with history of slavery and Jim Crow has manifested” reposted from AOL.com:

As a white nationalist says President Trump incited him to shove a black female protester at a campaign rally last March, a new museum in Montgomery, Alabama aims to advance truth and reconciliation while addressing the often unspoken reality of racial horror in America.

Burning black people alive, hanging them, mutilating their bodies — the graphic history of U.S. racial violence is a shameful and difficult thing to confront, says Equal Justice Initiative founder and executive director Bryan Stevenson, adding racially-driven hatred present today is “a manifestation of our failure to deal effectively” with that past. Continue reading