We Have the Power to Redeem the Soul of America

Blog by Associate Colette Parker

COVID-19 has laid bare the systemic oppression that is at the root of inequality in America.

Civil unrest has highlighted what Black and brown people have known (since forever): that we have been historically denied constitutionally guaranteed rights, on the basis of the racial construct.

If you’re anything like me, you may have found yourself trying to figure out how you can move the needle toward (what seems to be the ever elusive “thing” called) racial justice. Some are still searching for a way to make a positive difference. Some are still wondering if they CAN make a difference.

I say to you: Yes. You CAN!  As a source of motivation, I offer these words from the late Congressman John Lewis (written shortly before his death and published in The New York Times on the day of his funeral, July 30, 2020):

“Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble.”

The question now is: Are we willing to do the work?

Are we willing to admit that the declaration of our country as a beacon of freedom (a nation where there is equal justice for all) is a lie?

Are we willing to admit that the forced removal of indigenous peoples and the institution of slavery marked the beginnings of a system of racial injustice from which our country has yet to break free?

Are we willing to admit that deep-seated systemic inequities that disadvantage people of color are still woven into the fabric of our institutions?

Acknowledging these truths are necessary, IF we are serious about dismantling systemic racism and working to repair centuries of harm inflicted on an oppressed people.

As more Americans are awakening to how systemic racism has cheated generations of Black and brown children and as our nation experiences this racial justice reckoning, it is up to us – ordinary people with extraordinary vision —  to create the “more perfect union” that ALL Americans deserve. It is up to us to create a future of harmony where everyone can benefit.

We can start by heeding Lewis’ instructions: vote and participate in the democratic process; study and learn the lessons of history and accept that the truth does not change; continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe; put aside hatred; stand up, speak up  and speak out, when you see something that is not right.

Together, we “can redeem the soul of America by getting in … good trouble, necessary trouble.”

Posted in Associate Blog

17 responses to “We Have the Power to Redeem the Soul of America

  1. Jesus has already redeemed my soul…But thanks anyway for offering. And there is NOTHING wrong with “the soul of America.” We all enjoy the same rights in America, regardless of PAST discrimination. Cops arrest about ten million people every year. In less than a hundred of those arrests, an unarmed suspect gets killed, and most of them are white males. “BLM” = “Big Liberal Myth.”

    1. There are nearly 160 million more white people in America than there are black people. White people make up roughly 62 percent of the U.S. population but only about 49 percent of those who are killed by police officers. African Americans, however, account for 24 percent of those fatally shot and killed by the police despite being just 13 percent of the U.S. population. When you do the math, Black Americans are 2.5 times as likely as white Americans to be shot and killed by police officers. Black lives ARE in danger and they DO matter.

  2. Thank you, Colette. I keep wondering if this time, maybe this time, the reality of racial injustice in our country will finally be recognized and dealt with. How does a nation
    undo the damage of so many centuries, impacting every facet of Black lives?
    John Lewis’s funeral was a needed gift during this summer of our discontent. May his message continue to motivate us to actiion in our small corners of the world.

  3. Thank you Colette…your call to deep truthfulness about our racist history; to examination of our current values, both spoken and hidden; and your challenge to be courageous once we are finally woke , needs to be heard again and again it seems……so again, thank you.

    Peace, gratefully,

  4. Thank God for your presence among us. I too watched the full service for John Lewis 3 times that day. I was reminded so much of my days as a teenager in the 1960’s and watching and hearing this man who was bringing understanding along with Martin Luther King. What continues to saddened me is that for too long many people are still not aware of what slavery has done to our families. Many of us who are white have grown up ignoring the reality of what our country has done and continues to do.

    For those of us who were taught before we even could fully understand that all people are created equal it makes me wonder how people can be so cruel.

    To all of your questions I say a profound YES. To your challenge I say I am on board. To your willingness to speak your truth I say AMEN.

    I am growing hopeful that through our collective prayers and challenging all people to be the Truth that Jesus asked of us. Love one another as I have loved you.

  5. Colette,
    As a white woman religious born in America I ask forgiveness for all the pain, injustices, deaths we have caused and pray we can make amends one day at a time to show that Black Lives Do Matter.

  6. Dear Colette,
    PLEASE KEEP WRITING! You always add a new thought, a new inspiration, to my conviction and will to move us in the right direction. I have read that white people should not look to black/brown people to educate us on the important issues in racism. But I have learned the most from writings that correct the false notions that we were raised with. I still feel frustrated about not having an answer to what to do to decrease white privilege and bring balance, but I want to keep learning.

  7. Thank you Colette for another profound blog. Where there is a will there is a way. We cannot be silent.

  8. Thank you,!!!!
    You help us to see that we cannot change the past, but must create a New Beginning if we are ever going to move forward. If we do not learn from our history we will keep repeating it, we cannot change it and grow together.

  9. Thank you Colette, for you inspiration. Thank you for the reminder of Mr. John Lewis’s quote! Our country was founded due to injustices, the founders experienced, from their home countries.

    To end racism starts one person at a time. Change comes, when wrong is acknowledged. We have to see it first.

    Life matters, let’s not forget the children taken from their, misguided and emotional pained, mother’s womb.

    Our Father in heaven, has sent Jesus to show what was right. All are equal before God.

    Tomorrow may we vote for what is good and true, for lawmakers who respect others and who are humble before God. God centered men and woman.
    May God keep our country in his merciful care.

  10. My prayer is that we correct our vision so it is indeed extraordinary…. looking at today and the tomorrow’s with clarity if direction.

  11. Thank you, Colette, for setting before us the call, the challenge, and the work we need to do. I pray I/we will take the steps we need to take.

  12. Thank you. Colette, for continuing to challenge me and others to not passively sit by and leave the hard work to others. May God bless you and your efforts.


  13. I wrote previously about my difficult experiences as a college professor with a couple black students. Nevertheless I do not want to be racist. I want to discard my intrinsic (unconscious) biases. Please pray for me and please help me discern what productive work I can do in my community to help.

  14. Thanks, Colette, for your loving and challenging echo of John Lewis’s legacy. His funeral and a recent documentary about his remarkable lifetime of passion for justice evoke in me an eagerness to keep on doing the inner and outer work these times require.

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