We Vow to Break the Yokes

FloydBy Grecia Lopez-Reyes, an L.A.-based community organizer. This was written for a memorial for George Floyd in L.A. (right) a few weeks ago.

Jesus of Nazareth, you who were wrongly accused and crucified by the state, break the bonds of injustice.

We have gathered here today in pain, grief, and anger demanding justice. We gather remembering the life of George Floyd, who as Jesus of Nazareth was crucified by the State. The murder of George Floyd and the wrongful killings happening in our black communities has shaken this nation. You have woken us up Lord, because justice demands it! Continue reading “We Vow to Break the Yokes”

A Sustainable Culture Built Around Anti-Racism

resmaaAn excerpt from an interview Kristen Moe did with trauma therapist Resmaa Menakem, originally posted on Medium (May 24, 2020).

…we will not fix the problem of structural racism and racial violence in this country unless we heal the ways that racial trauma lives in our bodies. It will not happen. One thing that white people and white justice leaders are starting to understand is that there’s work to be done among white people — and that work has to be embodied. White people have got to start to lean into how to create culture around the abolition of white body supremacy. Not workshops, not book clubs, but culture. There’s been a culture built around segregation and assimilation; but there has not been a sustainable culture built around anti-racism. Not yet. How do we build a culture in which white people name their children in the tradition of anti-racist heroes? What are the stories of that culture? What are the rules of admonishment and rules of acceptance? What does the elderhood process look like in an anti-racist culture? How do we teach our white children about race in a way that is open and honest but doesn’t center them as the standard? How do we leverage our white body currency to make lives for our children less arduous? How do we develop the ability to notice when we’re taking up too much room, or when we’re hiding because we’re uncomfortable? Continue reading “A Sustainable Culture Built Around Anti-Racism”

It is Time to Wake Up

gethsemaneThe following devotion was offered by Rev. Solveig Nilsen-Goodin during the weekly online gathering for ELCA leaders on “Being Church in Times of Crisis,” Wednesday, June 17, 2020 (The Commemoration of the Martyrdom of the Emanuel 9). See video here.

On Maundy Thursday of 2020 I posted about praying like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Today, as tens of thousands take to the streets daily demanding racial justice and systemic change, Jesus’ call to WAKE UP couldn’t be more urgent. Dear fellow white Christians, the hour is upon us. It is time to WAKE UP! Continue reading “It is Time to Wake Up”

White Folks, Relationships are Key for Movement Building

Shenk 2
Demonstrators at a June 14 nonviolent assembly and vigil supporting the Movement for Black Lives and in honor of loved ones killed by police violence in Grays Harbor County, Washington. Photo credit: Chaplains on the Harbor, chaplainsontheharbor.org.

By Tim W. Shenk

Part 2 of “Don’t Delete Your White Friends.”

I wrote a short piece recently, encouraging my fellow white people not to delete our white friends who post hurtful or misinformed opinions, especially around race and racism.

Lots of people have read this piece. Many have gotten what I was trying to say, but I don’t think I was clear enough. It’s not about penance or doing hard things out of guilt about our whiteness, and it’s not about staying friends with white supremacists. Here’s a second attempt to say more about what I was driving at.

I want to be clear that the “don’t delete white friends” proposal applies to people we’re actually friends with — in real life! Not just on social media. “Don’t delete” is less about curating a Facebook profile and more about an orientation for our actual lives. The friends I’m talking about are people that at some point have shared something significant in common with us. People who have some reason to care about us and what we think, and vice versa.
Continue reading “White Folks, Relationships are Key for Movement Building”

Divine Strangers

Birmingham
Birmingham, Alabama 1963

By Tommy Airey, a sermon on Genesis 18:1-15. For Storydwelling, a local community of belonging, ritual and resistance in Central Oregon (June 14, 2020).

“Abraham looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. He said, ‘My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant.’”—Genesis 18:2-3

For some context: Abraham and Sarah are a very wealthy couple who cannot get pregnant. They try and try, year after year, decade after decade. Nothing. Late in life, God promises that they will have a child. Ten years pass. Still nothing—so Sarah gives Abraham her slave Hagar as a surrogate wife to bear their child. Hagar is Egyptian. She is a Black woman. When Hagar gets pregnant and gives birth to their son Ishmael, Sarah gets resentful and violently abuses her. This was the original version of The Handmaid’s Tale. Continue reading “Divine Strangers”

On Racial Justice and Evolution

jyarlandBy Jyarland Daniels, executive director of Harriet Speaks

*Re-posted from social media (June 9, 2020)

One day I will write a book (as too many people continue to ask me to do). And a chapter of that book will be my evolution as it relates to race, racial justice and racial equity work.

That chapter will go something like this:

For much of my child and young adulthood, I was suffocated by racism, but didn’t recognize it as such. Later, I had my own personal awakening. The removing of the scales that clouded my vision started in college and in my early corporate life. In my protest, I walked away from a very lucrative career in business. I have receipts of what I have given up to do this work. Yet, I have no regrets. I only regret that I left bodies in my path. In my harshness and reactionary ways, I didn’t stop to consider that power is important to making change and somebody still needs to have a seat at the table; because, if you aren’t at the table then you are on the menu. I didn’t stop to consider that speaking up to in a way that allows you to heard is just as important as speaking up. Continue reading “On Racial Justice and Evolution”

Apocalypse of Whiteness

whitenessBy Jim Perkinson, a sermon for St. Peter’s Episcopal Church (Detroit, MI)

Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. (Paul, heading off to Rome and ultimately, his death, in II Cor 13:11)

Farewell.  The entirety of the message for today.  Farewell to the world you thought you knew.  Farewell to the country.  To certainty.  To your identity.  To the expectation of progress, well-being, comfort, a good end.  And maybe, most important of all, farewell to the story we have been living in.  We live inside stories—a whole mess of stories—origins stories, initiation stories, trickster stories.  Leslie Marmon Silko says at the end of the day, when the dominators come, when the colonists come, when the supremacists come, when the humans come (if you are a fish or plant or mountain top) all we have are our stories (yes, even non-human creatures probably have stories they live).  But if we are the ones who have been doing the dominating, the colonizing, the reducing, being the “human masters over” everything else as the Psalmist unfortunately says—then what our responsibility comes down to is narrating—and embracing—an “ending.”  How do we end and end well?  Continue reading “Apocalypse of Whiteness”

Day of Fasting and Focus

ppcFrom Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival:

Join us Monday June 8th, two weeks after George Floyd’s death, for a Day of Fasting and Focus which will culminate at 5:00pm when we are asking people to stop where you are for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in silence in honor of the time George Floyd had the literal knee of the state on his neck.

Take the pledge to participate in a National Moment of Silence in Honor of George Floyd and other victims of police brutality on Monday at 5pm EST. Continue reading “Day of Fasting and Focus”

More is at Work than Passes for the News

SehestedBy Ken Sehested

Almost every breakthrough begins with a breakdown. Goodness is not thereby assured; then again, neither is our breath, day by day.

We hope to be effective; but our perseverance is not hitched to efficacy. We insert ourselves, compassionately and intelligently, because that’s who we are. (Or at least who we are becoming.) Continue reading “More is at Work than Passes for the News”