So many things have happened this week. Things that have provoked all sorts of feelings. Things that have made me sad at the current state of our country. A country that my parents came to in hopes of a better and brighter future. Dare I say, that future is still possible, and it is up to you and me to make it happen.
While the nation and the world protest the injustice George Floyd has faced, and many others before him, as a young woman you might feel helpless. Helpless that you might not be old enough to vote for politicians and policies that can make a difference. Helpless that you might not be able to go out and peacefully protest. Helpless that you do not have enough money to donate to the cause. But you are more than capable of showing love in countless other ways.
“Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22: 37- 40)
Loving our neighbor is undeniably one of the greatest commandments we are given. But what does loving my black neighbor look like? It might mean something different to everyone. To me, it means standing by their side with love. To recognize the injustice that has been happening for hundreds of years, and lend a listening ear if they want to talk. To show them nothing but kindness. To not instantly judge them because of the color of their skin. Skin is an external encasement of the soul and body. Just like hair texture and eye color, skin is an expression of God's creativity and has nothing to do with one’s behavioral tendencies. Let us remember that we were all made in His image (see Archbishop Angaelos' message below if you need a reminder).
I will never fully understand what it is like to walk in their shoes, but I can surely empathize.
I will never understand how it would feel to receive dirty looks for simply going about my business.
I will never understand how it would feel to be overlooked for an opportunity I rightly deserve because someone doesn't like the color of my skin.
I will never understand how it would feel when someone clenches their purse tighter when they see me, or move to the opposite side of the street to not cross my path.
I will never understand how it would feel if people called the cops on me just because I looked “suspicious.”
I recently watched a video of black parents explaining to their kids how to deal with police. It absolutely broke my heart to watch the fear they are living in. While I know that the majority of cops are good ones who stand to serve and protect like they vowed, there is a very small percentage that aren’t, and have caused this kind of fear. It is a sad reality that a child’s innocence will one day be robbed by the heinous crimes of injustice they witness first hand or hear about. I commend those parents who must equip their kids to face this kind of appalling reality.
We cannot stand by and do nothing as our brothers and sisters suffer. That is not the Christian way, and overall not the right way. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”
First and foremost, pray, because we know and have witnessed how prayer moves mountains. Stand by your black friends and let them know you hear them. Find a way to stand up for this cause. Pay attention to the advocates who are bravely trying to pave the path to equality. Educate yourself by reading books or watching documentaries on the subject. Have those uncomfortable race conversations with your friends and family, defend your standpoint with meekness and love. Let your voice be heard and use every platform you have to proclaim that this injustice must be stopped!
“He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?” (Micha 6:8)