Open Eyes. Open Hearts.

It seems wrong to go on with this blog as if nothing has changed in the world, when there has been a radical shift in the very axis of the earth.  Since March of this year, nothing has been as it was.  The protests against racial injustice around the country have coincided with a desire to regain a sense of control stolen by the corona virus.  In the COVID-19 war, the enemy was unseen and engaging it face-to-face impossible.  In the long simmering fight against racial injustice, exacerbated by excessive police violence against the Black community, there is a battlefront to be breached.  The additional anger and frustration brought by our pandemic struggles has made this the time to fight a visible and relentless enemy.

As with most institutions and workplaces, mine is taking steps to move toward the changes demanded by the recent killing of George Floyd by four police officers in Minneapolis, a scene repeated far too often.  In response to this situation, they have planned group meetings to openly discuss feelings and next steps.  As part of that, they have asked each of us to respond to three questions on the topic.

As my statement against racism, I will share with you my answers to the three questions posed to me.

1.  Please share your feelings in a few sentences about the tragic events of the last few weeks.

I am sad that this has gone on for so long.  Angry that it has had to come to this before we begin to change.  Hopeful that it is not too late.

2. What different now? What needs to be different.

 As a white woman in America, I feel my very ignorance of the issue of racism is biting criticism. It is invisible to me and that is the problem.  I see and accept the people of color in my world—co-workers, neighbors, public figures, fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, but I don’t know the anguish they have suffered because of their race.  Listening to their stories, I hear that they have experienced thoughtlessness, hatred, cruelty, and even violence.  I don’t believe I have ever been purposely cruel or hateful, but I am sure I have been thoughtless, which is unacceptable and painful for those who have experienced it.  Listening to more stories of discrimination will make the invisible visible.

If I am to be part of a solution, I must recognize and understand the problem and see it in all its insidious evil.

3. What steps will you take to be more inclusive and eradicate racism?

I know that one of the deepest needs of any person is to be seen and understood and to be loved unconditionally.  I commit to working toward that end one person at a time as God brings lives into my sphere, regardless of race or creed, helping each one to reach their full potential.  I ask for the same from those I interact with.  No one wants to be lumped into a group.  We all want to be respected as individuals.

Being a woman in our society brings its own oppression.  Thinking through this problem has made me realize the many ways my sex has held me back:

  • Fears of rape and murder.
  • Admonishments of causing my own problems by dress or action.
  • Lack of opportunities or resources to take advantage of opportunities.
  • The trap of societal roles and expectations.

These are just a few of the ways my development as a person has been thwarted.  I don’t say these things to compare myself to a people who were enslaved, mistreated, and marginalized, but it is an important part of the solution for each of us to stop accepting the ways we submit to culture and to become all that God has created us to be, bold and unafraid in the face of opposition because, “if God be for us, who can be against us?”

It is God who gave us worth and value when He created man and woman in His own image. His love for us is complete and never-ending.  We were made for His purpose and He has given us everything we need to succeed.  I believe it is when we make peace with these truths that we learn to love and respect ourselves and each other.  This is the renewing of our hearts and minds that must take place if society is to make lasting change.  The change must start with me.

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