I’ve never written about race issues. I have talked about it. I have cried over it. I have yelled and even cussed expressing it. But I have never written my words down. It’s like trying to get what’s deep in my belly out my mouth. And sometimes it feels hard. Jumbled, with a message that’s still developing within me. But I don’t have the luxury of waiting to work it out eloquently. Time is literally of the essence. So this may be messy. If you have never talked about race you will more than likely feel uncomfortable. That’s ok. Life is uncomfortable. You will live. So will I. If I’m misunderstood, or critiqued by you, for making everything about race, I will live. But this message cannot stay within the four walls of my home anymore. Justice never stays within four walls.
Come. Come in closer. Sit at the table. My black brothers and sisters are here. They have been sitting here for awhile. Waiting. Crying for you to hear. Some angry. My illegal immigrants are here also. Asking for your grace. Your understanding. Would you come and listen awhile? Would you leave your assumptions at the door? Maybe quiet your privilege a minute? Lay down your weapons of words? And just listen. Lean in and give ear to the cries.
These talks have been going on for some time now, my friends. Here’s a secret. When you are the minority you are extremely aware of it. You feel the differences immediately. It’s difficult for dominate cultures to know this. I understand. I really do. One visit to say, India, will remind you of this feeling. But you need to know this conversation is normal. It’s common to talk about race in our homes.
They. We. We want to express ourselves. We want to cry. We want to yell in anger and anguish. We want to tell you things are not always as they seem. We want to say we feel forgotten. That our struggles are misunderstood and forgotten. We want to say how could you possibly know what it is like to walk in my shoes. Unless you are a black man, how could you know what it is like in his skin.
Something quite holy happens when stories are told to open hearts. A name, a face, a story is now imbedded in your soul. This won’t be the end to injustices. But it may be a beginning. Maybe the words you hear will reach your heart. Then reach your feet. We are asking that you join us in this narrative. We are asking that you not believe the lie that racism is dead in America. We are asking that you listen. We are asking that you educate yourself. We are asking that you wake up from your slumber O sleeper. Time is of the essence.
“Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they do not know each other; they do not know each other because they cannot communicate; they cannot communicate because they are separated.
Religion deals with both earth and heaven, both time and eternity. Religion operates not only on the vertical plane but also on the horizontal. It seeks not only to integrate men with God but to integrate men with men and each man with himself… Any religion that professes to be concerned with the souls of men and is not concerned with the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them and the social conditions that cripple them is a dry-as-dust religion.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.