I attended the “Frames & Filters Workshop” – an excellent presentation and time well spent! In the past few months, I’ve also read several of the Justice resources we ordered for the BelPres Library, such as “Tears We Cannot Stop” by M. Dyson and “Between the World and Me” by T. Coates. Even though I spent many of my teenage years being a minority white among black American students and having some black friends, as well as my father participating in the Selma, Alabama march with Martin Luther King, Jr. in the late ‘60s, I only recently became more fully aware of the privileges my “whiteness” affords in our society, and also a deeper understanding of the realities faced by people of color.
This particularly became more personal as I reflected on a recent phone call from our “son”, George. My husband and I “sponsored” George 20 years ago through an organization called Metro Ministries in Brooklyn, NY. George was a darling little 6 year old black kid with a big smile who stole my heart when I saw his photo at a Children’s pastor conference. George’s father, a drug dealer, was murdered when George was 2 and he grew up in the dangerous inner city of NY. He says without Metro Ministries and the power of Jesus, he would either be in jail or dead.
George is now married with two children and lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, and is a man filled with the love of Jesus. We usually call or text about once a month, but this time the call came on a weekday evening – a rather unusual time. He told me he was returning home from work and was on the side of the highway with a flat tire. He was getting it fixed but his wife was worried and there was concern in his voice. We talked for a few minutes, he said he was about ready to be on his way, and we said our goodbyes and I didn’t think much more about it. Only later as I was reading Coates book, did this conversation with George come to mind. My “eyes were opened”, so to speak. It was what George DIDN’T say that I finally understood – that he was a black man, along the side of the road, and vulnerable to potential harassment by a passing motorist, or a policeman just because of his color. It saddens my heart to know that George, and now his bi-racial son, and people of color face such concerns each and every day they step outside their homes.
I’m so grateful for the work of the Justice Team to bring the “Frames & Filters” workshop to BelPres, as well as keeping us informed of other opportunities in our community to increase our understanding of each other’s realities and how to live together the 3rd WAY – the JESUS WAY, loving our neighbor as ourselves, and looking for opportunities to bring justice and healing in our own walk in life.
May God richly bless and guide you and your team,
BelPres Libraries Ministry Coordinator