Learning from Laughter: Speaking Truth to Innocence

lydia die inBy Lydia Wylie-Kellermann. First published on Geez’s blog.

The sun hits my face hard as I listen to the water from the fountain. As I look up and around, I am aware how little this downtown resembles the city I know anymore. The faces are all young and white (not unlike my own) playing beach ball, listening to live bands, sipping mid-day cocktails, and eating from food trucks. I look down at the 25 black bodies lying on the cement draped with signs and names of those killed at the hands of the police. On my lap sits the one-and-a-half year old who is my constant companion and teacher these days. He watches intently holding an air of seriousness in his body. Continue reading

Twas Grace

black christBy Lindsay Airey. Originally published in the Detroit Catholic Worker paper On the Edge. Lindsay is a marriage & family therapist, radical disciple, and recovering AlAnon member, living and working alongside her husband Tom, the Larkins St. Community, and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. Her activist work has been focused with We The People of Detroit, organizing around the ongoing water struggle.

“T’was grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved.”      -John Newton, Amazing Grace

If not for grace, I could never meaningfully engage the inner work of healing and repenting from white supremacy. This “taught my heart to fear” kind of grace is what compels me into this work. It is also what keeps me in it. Perhaps understood most deeply by recovering addicts and abusers, this “amazing” grace is foreign to the distorted, cheap & enabling grace vended on the daily at your local mainstream, white-dominated, suburban and affluent Christian church. Meanwhile, on the outer fringes of the (c)hristian tradition, this slave-trader-turned-abolitionist kind of grace may be the penultimate anti-white supremacist/anti-racist “program” we Christians have uniquely to offer the struggle for racial equity and reconciliation in America. Continue reading

Putting your shoulder to the wheel of history

quote“White people are taught that racism is a personal attribute, an attitude, maybe a set of habits. Anti-racist whites invest too much energy worrying about getting it right; about not slipping up and revealing their racial socialization; about saying the right things and knowing when to say nothing. It’s not about that. It’s about putting your shoulder to the wheel of history; about undermining the structural supports of a system of control that grinds us under, that keeps us divided even against ourselves and that extracts wealth, power and life from our communities like an oil company sucks it from the earth.”

– Ricardo Levins Morales

Claiming his body as his Own

ww communionWritten by Lydia Wylie-Kellermann for a neighborhood Eucharist.

In a time when we are so mindful of the violence and racism done to black bodies and mindful of the privileges of our own bodies, we pause as a community to remember another body. One that was targeted and murdered by another violent system over 2000 years ago. Continue reading

Selma: The Wait Ain’t Over

selma-bridgeBy Tommy Airey

Who murdered Jimmie Lee Jackson? Every white lawman who abuses the law to terrorize. Every white politician who feeds on prejudice and hatred. Every white preacher who preaches the bible and stays silent before his white congregation.
Martin Luther King in Selma (1965…2015)

There’s a chilling scene in the just-released Selma where Lyndon Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) peppers George Wallace (Tim Roth) over why he won’t ensure that black Americans have full protection to vote in his state. The notorious governor of Alabama assures the President that he doesn’t really have the power to do anything even if he wanted to: that’s up to counties and cities. And besides, if black folks get the full power of the vote (as enshrined in the Constitution a century earlier), then they will move on to more “demands:” for jobs, housing, health care and more.
Continue reading