My heart is heavy right now. I very reluctantly write on a topic this morning that is a bit sensitive and often neglected due to the dangers that come with writing. People will be offended, even though the intent is not to offend, never the less it will happen. Why? Well it because of history and how people have treated others throughout the timeline of humanity. In more recent years the African American community in our own context as Americans has been oppressed and treated as unequals or sometimes subhuman. This month we celebrate those who fought for equality and dared to stand up in the face of bigotry. Among those are Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who preached a message of love and peace, who dreamed of a day when life in America would not only be integrated, but when people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds can live in unity with one another loving and caring for each other without considering race or social status. To a degree there has been victory, but the human condition can only be healed through the blood of Christ.
We have spent the last twelve years teaching out children the value of humanity. We teach them about the imago dei, or the image of God that all mankind were created in. My children have been taught that race and status do not determine the worth of a person, but the fact that God created them and that all men are created in His image. Until three years ago, I would even go as far as to say my children were unable to see that people were of different races, but that they were just people. I say three years ago, because that is when things changed in their world, that is when they began to experience the ugliness of bigotry.
The past three years have been filled with comforting our children when insulted because of their race, or been told that they could not be friends with children because they were white. Things were said to them like, “Why are you here? Don’t you know that this is an all black school?” Things were said to my children that I refuse to write on this public space just because you would be disgusted with what was said. Part of me valued the experience as an opportunity to learn about this thing called hatred. It was a chance for them to see what others had to live through, and learn how to love people, even if they hate you.
It has not just been the kids who have suffered, in fact, just this morning after dropping my oldest at school I sat at a light and looked over to find a man staring me down from the car next to me. I thought nothing of it at first, until I looked again and his expression got meaner while he never looked away. I moved up a little, only for him to follow me and continue to try to intimidate me. I thought through the events proceeding and realized that he was there at the light before me, so I couldn’t have cut him off. This is nothing new, this happens to me at the grocery store, gas station, traffic signal, and God forbid I get lost while driving. It is not everybody, there are people in this community who think these things to be unreasonable but even they are silent it seams. Does it intimidate me? No. Does it hurt my heart? Yes.
This month is a month where we celebrate those who fought for equality and peace, who gave their lives as a testimony for “on earth as it is in Heaven.” I know that things are not perfect, and for the majority of the United States integration is successful and for the most part peaceful. I know that the past has shown that whites have mistreated and oppressed people of different races, but those we look up to fought for these things to be changed. They did not give their lives for us to stop fighting, but to continue educating and teaching the next generation that people should not be allowed judged based on where they come from or what they look like.
I hope that you will fight where you are at. I hope that you will love your city enough to love the people in the communities to the degree where you will be a part of educating them in the area of equality and the image of God. Lets be the generation who continues the fight against hatred, lets be the generation who fights for “on earth as it is in Heaven.”