Last week I shared what I wrote to our congregation in response to the racist murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others (to which we must now add Rayshard Brooks). I recently followed that up with a post of next steps, especially for we who are white. Here’s what I wrote. I hope you will help me see where I get it wrong.
Last week I asked you to consider how words matter leads us to unequivocally shouting: Black lives matter!
Of course, while words matter they are not the end all and be all. We must take actions to bring those words to life.
Here are some resources for doing just that (there are of course many, many other resources available to us). You’ve likely seen a few of these already as these kinds of lists are flooding social media. Don’t be overwhelmed, just pick a place to start and get going. Together we will continue to listen and learn and grow.
I call my sermon for this Sunday, “The Past is Prologue.” So it seems appropriate to start this list of resources with some history.
1) Have you heard of the Black Wall Street massacre of 1921? Most of the participants in our Tuesday Bible Study (“The Bible for Curious People”) had not. As the president prepares to hold a rally in Tulsa — on Juneteenth of all days! — now is the time to learn why that is so reprehensible.
[UPDATE: Since then, the president moved his rally to June 20th. It is a very small step. But it is a very small step in the right direction.]
Here are two resources our study group shared to bring us up to speed on one of the most heinous acts in our country’s history:
A) This article is a couple years old, but has good — and shocking — information. Including this: “A state commission report in 2001 did say, ‘Tulsa was likely the first city in the (United States) to be bombed from the air.’” One tactic of the massacre was dropping bombs from planes on the houses and businesses.
B) This article includes a 9 minute video that is very well done. Also connects to our current situation. Additionally, this article links to the transformative long form piece by Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The Case for Reparations.” I’ve mentioned that article a number of times over the last couple years. I highly, highly recommend it as another way to educate ourselves about the black experience in the USA.
2) Here’s the statement from our Northern Illinois Conference Cabinet to which I linked in last week’s post.
Take your time to really digest these — but don’t dawdle! Don’t get overwhelmed — but don’t miss the urgency! These can be some of our next steps on our journey to become truly antiracist.