At our pre-chapter assembly on July 7, Sister Addie Lorraine Walker SSND, challenged our Sisters and Associates to look more deeply at the elements of racism within ourselves, our congregation, our ministries, our church and so many of the systems which regulate our lives in this country. During one of our breakout sessions, we were asked to discuss and share ideas that could lead to dismantling racism.
Talk about a daunting task! How would I try to dismantle a system that still exists in various forms and situations for over 400 years? Many folks searched deeply to make concrete suggestions and create plans and models. Many became discouraged and acknowledged that the best they felt they could do because of age, infirmities, a lack of knowledge, etc. was to support all efforts by their prayers. That is absolutely fantastic and no small action, because it means the person praying believes in the need for actions.
The resources available to us in publications, online and hard copy, in all sorts of media from movies to TED talks to music, is astounding. We never learned this stuff in school and by now, we all realize that there was much we never heard about that could be called the “sin history” of the United States. There is still plenty to learn, trust me.
For instance, did you know that on this date, July 28, 1917, 10,000 African American men, women, and children marched in the city of New York as a public response to the lynchings and racial violence going on around the country? It has been dubbed “The Negro Silent Protest Parade.” Not a word was spoken as they walked silently down Fifth Avenue. The children led the way and were followed by people carrying a banner that proclaimed “Your Hands Are Full of Blood”.
This is a bit of information that few of us have heard before. It is the kind of information that helps us learn more about the lives of Black people in our country. How did I discover this fact?
The website eji.org has a link to The Racial Justice Calendar. EJI stands for Equal Justice Initiative and has tons of information where one could spend hours just checking it all out, but we do not always have hours to do that. The calendar is a simple tool and could be sent to your daily email to provide another avenue for information, reflection and daily prayer intention.
We don’t have to do major acts to show we care or have an interest in an issue. Small everyday measures can achieve just as much. And we just keep learning!