Posted on 5 Comments

Two Different Dreams: The American Dream and MLK’s Dream

The American Dream: The set of ideals (democracy, rights, liberty, opportunity and equality) in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success. A promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all people. Rooted in the belief stated in the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims that “all men are created equal.

My parents chased this dream from Ghana, a beautiful West African nation known for its natural vibrancy, bright kente colors, friendly people, and of course, its gold and cocoa resources. It’s overflowing with business opportunities that many Americans take advantage of. Conversely, many Ghanaians also go to America for opportunities. Some, like my parents legally moved to America to get a higher education. Entertainers such as Kofi Siriboe, Boris Kodjoe and Idris Elba are of Ghanaian heritage and are talented actors that are shaking the industry (and melting hearts with their tall, dark and handsome optics). The new Chief Brand Officer of Uber, Bozoma Saint John, is a proud, strong Ghanaian woman who is taking the business world by storm.

There are so many people from the African diaspora that are thriving in their homeland and/or outside of it. In fact, even their existence is a blessing to society. Yes, that’s right. Even though it’s beautiful to see the accomplishments that many in the diaspora have earned, many people have found it necessary to lead conversations with their qualifications in order to justify their worth to American society. It’s admirable and even inspiring, but just not quite necessary in these contexts.

But I digress. Here we are in 2018, enjoying a 3-day holiday to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – a man who dedicated his life to eradicating the racial tensions of the United States and instituting freedom for African Americans in many arenas. He stood up for the marginalized. He stood up for Black people, who like my parents, Idris, and Saint John, had a dream but just weren’t given the opportunities to pursue it or the infrastructure to thrive in it.

In his famous “I Have A Dream” speech, Dr. Martin Luther King said:

“It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment….In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”

To put it in the words of Michelle Obama, the wife of President Barack Obama, “When they go low, we go high” even when it’s hard. In fact, without Dr. King, it might even be fair to say that the 44th president wouldn’t have been the first African American U.S. President. And  yet, even still, Dr. King’s dream hasn’t been achieved just yet. Just days ago, the 45th U.S. President said and I quote: 

“Why are we having all these people from s***hole countries come here?”.

He was referring to people from Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras and African countries in the temporary protected status program. Beautiful people of all shades of black and brown that contribute so much to society and aren’t deserving of such comments no matter their status.

(If you want some statistics about that, check out this video.)

Talk about going low. It’s quite ironic that this country that takes pride in calling itself the “melting pot” has a leader who seemingly does not see the value-add that lawful residents of this country intrinsically bring to the table. But I guess it’s not too surprising:

There are schools in the south that just got integrated (or are still segregated due to gentrification). There are people still being lynched, beat up and killed because of the color of their skin. There are countless Black men incarcerated for selling weed and yet countless white people starting weed businesses, illegally or legally, because it’s “trendy” and inconsequential to their livelihood.

So yeah, I guess I can’t be surprised that America still isn’t completely practicing what it preaches, but that doesn’t mean that I am not saddened by the hypocrisy of it all.

America says, “all are welcome to this beautiful melting pot of a country, but only if you meet our ‘standard’ image.”

America says “we need to protect ourselves from people south of our border,” and simultaneously “oh look how hospitable they were on our gorgeous Cabo vacation.”

America says, that this is the “land of opportunity,” but “we are not going to pay men and women at the same rate.”

America says that “African countries are sh**holes,” but hasn’t cleaned up the water in Flint, or sent enough help to the flood and hurricane victims in Puerto Rico or fixed our homeless problem.

America says that we were founded on the message of hope and freedom, but chooses to forget that they had to take away the freedom and livelihood of a whole people group to get there.

America says, “In God we trust,” but doesn’t even follow the foundational biblical practice of “Loving your neighbor as yourself.”

Dr. King worked tirelessly with generals like John Lewis to make sure that the light, freedom and equality championed by the civil rights movement would prevail. They did not fight for the “American Dream” as we know it today. My hope is that many of us would continue the fight that they started. Furthermore, my hope is that one day soon America will sing a different song, a song that rings true to Dr. King’s Dream. 

America will say, “every nation, faith, origin, creed is welcome here, is safe here, is home here” (and mean it).

America will admit to its sins and its flaws while providing reconciliation and reparations where needed.

America will take the plank out of its own eye before judging another group of people for the speck in their eye.

America will lead by example in all that it does. And treat all people equally and with utmost respect.

That’s the America I hope to one day live in. I, too, have a dream. (And although the focus is on America right now, the dream is not just for America but the world at large).

The U.S. has painted itself as the ideal – the place for freedom and opportunity for people of all races, ethnicities, religions and other identities – and yet ostracizes the very people that are a result of this “American Dream.” As I say regularly, I love my country. I’m a proud American and this is my home to stay. But it’s important to correct the things that you love. So I’m here to say that the “American Dream” that we are living out today is NOT the Dream that Martin Luther King Jr. was referring to. The ideal of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness has to be a reality for all people for it to be true for a whole nation.

So we have some work to do, America.

Let’s start with our day-to-day lives. Let’s commit to radical change in our communities. To not exploiting others for their resources/what they can offer but instead truly loving our neighbor as ourselves and working towards mutual edification. Lets commit to stepping out of our comfort zones and learning/living with people that are different than us. By having faith that this dream is achievable and taking the actions to back it up.

To put it simply, as Dr. King said, “Let’s not overlook the urgency of the moment.” We’ve got a dream to fulfill.

Posted on Leave a comment

Whitelandia

I’ve never actually watched the show “Portlandia,” but I figured since I now live in this infamous city, that the title of this post was fitting. I live in Portland, which has been named one of THE whitest major city in America. It’s super progressive, but still super white, which I’ll touch on later.

I’ve been grappling with this reality for a while now and am becoming more and more aware that I am the overwhelming minority everywhere I go. (You know the universal head nod that black people give each other? Well where I live, I want to take it one step further and just straight up hug any melaninated strangers.) Okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic. There are black people here. But coming from Atlanta, the demographics here have taken a bigger toll on me than I expected. At the same time, I’m thankful. I love my city. And I love all the people I’ve met. My friends (mostly white because duh) are so genuine and I wouldn’t want to do this season of life without them.

That being said, I still have some qualms I need to work through in this new environment. This is not meant to be passive aggressive. Take it more as perspective or better yet, an open letter to my white friends in Portland and beyond:

Dear White People (whom I love very much),

Let’s start light. Firstly, I may say it’s okay to touch my hair, but it’s not. I may smile and nod when you generalize Africa because of your one missions trip experience, but let me remind you that Africa is a very diverse continent, not a country. Oh and I care about your sunburns (kind of), but just know I can’t relate or contribute to those daily conversations about how much sun you got.

Whew okay so now on to the real stuff. I love that you’re progressive, but just know that you live in a bubble. A very white bubble.

Your protests are great. Your “wokeness” is cute. But what are you fighting for if you aren’t challenged to live out your fight daily? I say this in love, BUT you’re not even around people of color enough to even practice racial reconciliation. You march down the very streets and shop at the very “hip” stores that were once black-owned (*cough cough gentrification*). I love Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Alberta Street as much as the next person but I’m also acutely aware that most of those establishments have displaced people like me and pushed them out of the city. What good is progress when it contributes to the cycle of injustice?

Dear White people, know that as a black woman, I don’t feel safe everywhere. That I’m going to be unapologetically me. Know that a lot of times I’m uncomfortable. And yet I feel like I have to be more comfortable in my skin than the average white person just to prove myself. Like I have to either stand out by the mere color of my skin or stand out on purpose based on how I act, dress, etc. Talk about unnecessary added pressure. Know that my story looks a lot different than yours. That I’m happy to share my experiences, but also not willing to be a token friend. Know that I’ll rock overalls and plaid shirts, but also big hoop earrings and box braids. Know that I love all people, but will never stop fighting for my people and other oppressed people.

So now for some encouragement. Keep learning about different cultures. Keep uplifting others. Keep being allies. Keep caring about the environment. Keep trying to be the best you you can be. But don’t forget that there’s more to do. That your hipster culture and progressive utopia aren’t perfect. That you have neighbors that don’t look like you that might not feel welcome in your spaces.

Progress doesn’t look like multiracial relationships, naming a street after Martin Luther King Jr. or putting black art in your restaurants. Progress looks like going the extra mile to include others. Caring as much about preserving black culture in your city as you did about protesting the transition of the first black president.

I love you Portland in all your white glory (lol) but being the majority means having power and as the great Ben Parker once said (well not in the most recent Spiderman movie but still relevant), “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.”

Oregon, much like the U.S. as a whole, hasn’t been very kind to black people in the past and the present. But you can still do something about the future. Use your power wisely.

With love,

A fellow (Black) Portlander

Posted on 1 Comment

Jesus was a refugee.

We can’t claim to be a Christian nation if Jesus wouldn’t even be allowed within our borders.

Yep, I said it.

Abraham was a refugee. Esther was a refugee. Jacob was a refugee. Moses was a refugee. David was a refugee. JESUS WAS A REFUGEE.

(For more context, check these out: Refugees in the Bible, #FamiliesBelongTogether and )

Self-proclaimed Christians are using their faith to ban people from the United States that The Bible so clearly embraces.

Think of the Good Samaritan.

Be a good neighbor who has mercy on those that are different from you. (Luke 10:25-37)

When people are hungry, feed them. (Isaiah 58:7)

When they are naked, clothe them. (Matthew 25:36)

When they are a stranger, welcome them. (Matthew 25:25)

We are called to love the strangers, the orphans and the widows. Shoot, those very people are at the center of almost EVERY Bible story.

DANIEL was displaced by exile into Babylon (Daniel 1:2‐4,6). JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH  were displaced by political persecutionto Egypt  (Matthew 2:13‐14). THE EARLY CHURCH  was displaced by religious persecution  (Acts 8:1). AQUILA AND PRISCILLA were displaced by ethnic persecution (Acts 18:1-2). JOSEPH was displaced by international human trafficking (Genesis 37:28). ALL OF ISRAEL was displaced from an oppression into the wilderness (Exodus 12:41).

Need I continue?

God’s heart is for the stranger to find a home. In fact, Jesus’ story was orchestrated in a way that His parents had to leave the country so their son could have a safe place to grow up and become the Messiah He was destined to be.

Our faith would have no foundation if there was no country to welcome Jesus in with open arms.

So please, have God’s heart for His children. Don’t get caught up in the hate rhetoric that does not align with His Word.

Let’s actively love our neighbors. It is what’s right and it is our greatest command. And guess what? There are no exceptions to that rule.

Posted on Leave a comment

God Sees Color.

A lot of people prefer to say, that they are “color-blind.” They claim that they don’t see the skin color of the strangers they pass by daily or the life partners they choose forever.

I see a MAJOR problem with this and here’s why.

Love transcends color, but it does not turn a blind eye to it.

If you love a person for all that they are, then that means that you have chosen to love the physical, spiritual and emotional components of them. You noticed their race, culture and ethnicity when you evaluated them wholly – and it’s okay to admit that.

Imagine for a second that you have adopted a child of a different race than you, but you’ve chosen to “not see color.” What would you do when racial injustice cases become more prevalent in your town? If you aren’t acknowledging the obvious differences and subsequent challenges that your child may face, then how would you be able to properly support and care for your kid?

Oftentimes, people use the verse Galatians 3:28, which says, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile… for you are all one in Christ Jesus,” to claim that race and ethnicity do not matter, at least as it pertains to “the kingdom of God.” Although that scripture emphasizes the importance of us all being connected in spirit, it also acknowledges that in this world, those distinctions do, in fact, exist. What’s on the inside of you is the most important thing; however, your body and spirit work together to get your moving day by day. Therefore, we have to address both to properly function on this earth.

God said that each person is fearfully and wonderfully made.” He knew every detail of our lives before we even entered this world. He knows how many hairs are on our head. Why? Because he loves us and created us. Nothing gets past Him and He won’t ignore even a single part of His creation, especially if it affects the way some of His people are treated. He is the potter and we are the clay, which means every part of our being is designed carefully, lovingly and with a purpose, including the color of our skin. What kind of Father would God be, if He didn’t acknowledge the skin of His child that He was holding? What kind of artist would He be if He wasn’t intimately involved in each detailed stroke of his masterpiece? And if our body suits weren’t important, then what was the importance of Jesus becoming a man of color? (Yes. Jesus most likely had a little extra melanin, a somewhat brown skin tone. But do your own research. I digress…)

As Trevor Noah from “The Daily Show,” so eloquently put it in a recent interview, if you don’t see color then, “What do you at a stop light?” All this to say, it’s okay to acknowledge skin color. Sure, you can look deeper to what’s on the inside of the person, but if you really love someone (or honestly just want to be a decent person), then you cannot ignore a whole portion of their being, especially when it’s staring you straight in the face.

This world is so beautifully diverse and colorful. It was meant to be that way. However, one cannot even use the word “diverse,” if they don’t first acknowledge that there are different colors, races and ethnicities needed to constitute diversity. Furthermore, don’t confuse racial diversity with racial reconciliation. Racial diversity only provides you with the platform to initiate reconciliation. It’s up to you what you do with it.

So let’s embrace our colors, shades, races and all that jazz. God sure does and that’s a fact.

Posted on 1 Comment

What Does Prayer For Justice Look Like?

When faced with social injustices, most people are told to simply pray for change. While prayer is powerful, it’s “easier said then done” in these situations for a couple of reasons.

Perhaps the more obvious reason is it’s hard to pray when we’re hurting. When things are good, we can praise God for what He’s done with a thankful heart, but when things look hopeless, we’re often in states of desperation or anger and often even at a loss for words.

Which leads me to the second reason:

“When prayer seems like the only option, what do I say to God?” 

A lot of people truly do believe that prayer is their only answer, and although it’s hard to digest that notion at times,  prayer should at least  be a first response for believers because it has the power to be a very effective tool, if used correctly.

So what does one pray in situations of injustice?

1. Pray for those directly affected.

Someone’s parent, child, sibling or friend was unfairly murdered so we mourn with them. God hears our cries, especially when we don’t have the strength to say anything of substance. But if we can muster a few words, we pray that God would give those directly affected peace that passes all understanding. That He would protect the rest of the family — mentally and physically. That He would comfort them and provide for them — spiritually and financially. We pray not that the burden be removed from them, but that  somehow their mess would turn into a message, and maybe even a movement.

2. Pray that the hearts of the oppressors will be softened.

This one is hard. It’s hard to value or even care about the heart of someone who could cause so much harm to an innocent life. But still, this prayer is important because if no one is praying for people like them, then what type of progress do we expect to see? If their hearts aren’t changed, then how will the senseless violence permanently stop?

Luke 6:28,Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

3. Pray for solutions (and to be part of the solution).

Faith without works is dead. I could repeat this one phrase a thousand times. Faith without works is dead. 

Prayer is great, and necessary even, but we need to learn to pray with our feet. Ask God for guidance for ideas that can make a difference. Ask Him how we can use the gifts and talents that He gave us to be a part of the change that the world so desperately needs.

I think this is the part of prayer that is so often forgotten. People like to ask God to “somehow make things better,” but forget that if everyone is praying that same prayer, then nothing is actually getting done — nothing is getting better. In no way, should we devalue the power of prayer itself, I believe God that can do the impossible, but we must remember to be doers of The Word and not hearers only. Typically, God uses human beings to get His work done. So talk to Holy Spirit throughout your day to get guidance about each step you should take and each word you should say on your journey for justice.

4. Pray for yourself.

Lastly, do not forget to pray for yourself and for your loved ones.  Cover those in your circle  with prayer in hopes that they do not become the next hashtag. Pray for the condition of your heart and your mind. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by the injustices of this world that we become desensitized, angry or even unstable. Prayer is one way to practice self-care and ensure that we’re alive and well to see another day and fight another fight.

It’s okay to be angry about injustice, but The Bible says, “in your anger do not sin.” Turn to prayer instead. Pray by yourself, pray with others, journal or cry out when it hurts too much and you simply can’t find the words to pray.

Ask God the tough questions because honestly injustice just does not make sense.

In addition to talking to God, talk to others as well. Take to social media, coffee chats, etc. to make your voice heard and then,  prayerfully take action.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The Power of Sitting: Why Colin Kaepernick’s Protest is Powerful

San Fransisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick recently turned heads when he refused to stand up for the national anthem due to the injustices that minorities, especially African-Americans, in this country are continuing to face despite being in the “Land of the Free.”

Kaepernick said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” He continued by saying, “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Kaepernick’s protest has received a mixed variety of responses. Some think he is being extremely disrespectful to the nation and its veterans. While others, veterans included, praise him for standing up for what he believes in and practicing his first amendment right as a U.S. citizen.

Although Kaepernick is spreading awareness about police brutality in this way, he is not the first activist to stand up for injustices by sitting down.

Rosa Parks, frustrated with the racial inequality on the public bus system, refused to give up her seat  to a white man sparking the . She chose to sit there even though she knew the consequences and in turn started a revolution, called the Montgomery Bus Boycott, that thousands joined. The transit company and downtown businesses suffered great financial loss for the 381 days of the Montgomery bus boycott. Therefore, the city of Montgomery had no choice but to lift its enforcement of segregation on public buses. Talk about #blackgirlmagic.

In 1960, four college students from North Carolina asked for a coffee at a whites-only local store called Woolworth’s. When they were refused service, they continued to sit at the lunch counter until the store closed. The next day, 24 students sat at the Woolworth’s counter. They sat there, despite the threats and attacks, until the media noticed them. (Sound familiar?) These college students started something huge that spread throughout the South and is still evident today and all they did was sit.

For 25 days in April 1977, a group of 150 disability rights activists took over the fourth floor of a federal building in San Francisco. They sat there and would not leave until President Jimmy Carter and his administration agreed to implement a law protecting the rights of people with disabilities. These demonstrations resulted in the signing of the 1977 Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) regulations implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the first federal civil rights protections for persons with disabilities in the history of the United States.

Just this year, John Lewis, a U.S. representative and civil rights activist, along with 170 lawmakers, staged a sit-in in the House of Representatives concerning gun control after the largest mass shooting in U.S. History. Although legislation was not passed after the day-long sit-in, John Lewis remained optimistic. He said that the fight was not over and  he also tweeted, “We got in trouble. We got in the way. Good trouble. Necessary Trouble. By sitting-in, we were really standing up.”

There are many more examples of successful sit-ins that benefitted feminists and automobile workers alike. So to those who do not understand why Colin Kaepernick decided to use this form of protest to make a statement, I ask you to look at the history of sit-ins.  They are never practiced without a purpose. There are too many people who ask the oppressed to protest nonviolently, but then question their motives and actions when they do just that.

Yes, we all could do and say more to fight injustice. However, that does not detract from the power of sitting. Change can still occur from people deciding to stand up by sitting down. If that wasn’t true, we wouldn’t be having this conversation because Colin Kaepernick’s sit-in would not have even received media coverage. And neither would Rosa Parks’.

Posted on 2 Comments

Jesus & Justice: Why Christians Should Be Activists

Jesus and justice should go hand in hand. Jesus always spoke directly to the marginalized. He never brushed over their pain and hurt. He invited them to eat and walk with Him.

He told them AND showed them that they mattered. 

Yet the very people who are supposed to be most like Jesus, fall short of this example. In fact, they are pretty much silent on the issues of racism and police brutality that affect their brothers and sisters in Christ and therefore, weighs heavily on God’s heart. And others who may  be silent but instead are shouting about the wrong thing. 

There are several  scriptures that should be considered moving forward.

1. The Parable of the Lost Sheep (Matthew 18:12-14)

 12What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13 And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”

Jesus said that He would leave the 99 sheep for the one. He never once said, “Well #allsheepmatter so looks like the one lost sheep will not get the attention it desperately needs.” No. Although Jesus cares for all of His sheep, when one of them is in need (let’s call that one the black sheep), He goes searching for the one. He realizes that the other sheep are important, that they have needs and other issues, but in that moment, the black sheep needs to be found. The black sheep needs to feel safe, loved and rejoiced over. It’s not His will to see another one of His black sheep perish.

Hey, Jesus said it, not me.

2. Mourn With Those Who Mourn (Romans 12:15)

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

 If I’m at a funeral and bring up a death that I’ve experienced in my family to the grieving family, that’s considered to be rude. The grieving family doesn’t need to hear about other issues at that moment. They don’t need us to relate to the somehow. They need to have time to mourn for their loss. And frankly, I should be joining them in that process.

Similarly, #blacklivesmatter is not meant to be a movement that points fingers at other issues, like “black-on-black crime,” poverty or terrorism, it’s meant to be a peaceful movement addressing the sanctity and the loss of black lives, especially at the hands of police – the people paid to protect us.

No, the answer is never hate. Repaying evil for evil is wrong. Murder is always wrong. And justice – true justice is always right. But, be sure not to make police brutality and other injustices about you and your politics.  Do what is honorable. Mourn with the hurting. Mourn with those experiencing loss while  actively pursue peace in the process.

3. Deliver From The Hand Of The Oppressor (Jeremiah 22:3)

“Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.”

I’m saddened that the church decided to step up and “BE the church” when police lives were in danger, but not “BE the church” on the several other counts of black lives that were endangered by police. That’s called picking sides, which many Christians claimed was the reason they could not bring themselves to say #blacklivesmatter. We shouldn’t be biased in the injustices we bring to light. It’s not a matter of picking sides, but rather joining in the freeing of all who are oppressed. It’s acknowledging that black people are included in God’s creation when He said, “It was good.” The Lord hinted in this scripture that the ‘different” people, the minorities, are prone to be violated and so He calls for action to make it right. You can’t make it right if you won’t even acknowledge the root issue. Innocent blood is being shed and the deliverance is in your hands. What will you do about it?

4. Do Justice (Micah 6:8)

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Yes, America needs JESUS. But America also needs JUSTICE. He requires it of us. This is not the key to high moral standing. This is simply the fundamental expectation to be a good, decent human being. Do justice. Love kindness. Walk humbly with God. These requirements are all active verbs that should be applied by all people in all circumstances.

 

5. The Greatest Of These Is Love (Matthew 22:36-39 ,  1 Corinthians 13:6-8)

36″Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 

 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.Love never fails.

Even if you don’t understand everything that’s going on in this world, reach out to those you know in the affected communities. Like you would for anything else, check in to see how your friends are doing. Ask questions. Sympathize. Listen. I’m sure they’ve been times where you were going through something that no one really understood or could even relate to, but your friends still checked in on you. It’s not only the Christian-like thing to do or what you would want someone to do for you – –  it’s the right thing to do. Love your neighbor as yourself. Be the definition of love to your hurting neighbors. Protect, trust, hope and persevere with the black community. Love like Jesus does. Love will never fail you.

 

Check your heart. Jesus has a heart for #blacklivesmatter, and many causes like it, and so should you. Let’s do our best to right the wrongs of this world.

 Also, read this article by  The Huffington Post.

 

Posted on 2 Comments

A #blacklivesmatter Prayer

Dear God,

I’m trying to do work right now, but I can’t. I just watched the video of Alton Sterling’s (a black man shot to death by police for selling CDs) 15-year-old son crying, “I want my daddy” on national television and tears are running down my face. My heart hurts for this injustice.

Fix it please. We are broken. We are divided. We are hurting. We need peace. We need the support of our brothers and sisters – no matter what “side” they are on. This is not about politics. May those who do not understand our hurting have a burning within their hearts – a deep conviction for not seeking to truly grasp the fact that this is a deeply rooted issue of racism and injustice. This isn’t just about merely one of Your children, it’s about history that keeps repeating itself to thousands of Your children. It’s about injustice on so many levels.

God, I know that it takes time to heal, but do a work in us now. Do a work in the hearts of Alton Sterlings’s family, Trayvon Martin’s family, Sandra Bland’s family, Mike Brown’s family, Eric Garner’s family and countless others. We need You more than ever. May we not act in anger that causes us to lose sight of who You are and what You’ve done. May our language and actions still glorify You in the midst of adversity. May our hearts break for what breaks Yours and compel us to take rightful action. Let us stand united for a cause, for a people, for Your people. And though we are getting so tired of this cycle, let this be fuel to move forward in our fight. We can’t wait until heaven for freedom, we need it now.

Trusting in You,
‪#‎blacklivesmatter‬

Posted on Leave a comment

The Last Will Be First

I remember a younger me using the phrase, “The last shall be first,” when trying to skip a line to the water fountain or when getting revenge on a friend who is was usually better than me at something.

But now that I’m more grown (and hopefully more mature), I’ve been looking at this phrase a bit differently.

I’ve turned on my TV, walked across the city streets, and simply looked in the mirror and seen the “least of these” – the poor, the undocumented, the minorities, the terminally ill, the differently-abled, etc. – treated like aliens rather than people. 

That’s when “The last shall be first” moves from a vice to beat others at something and requires deeper understanding for the sake of others. What does this phrase mean? I want to know what the reward will be for people who are in extremely unfavorable yet uncontrollable situations on this earth will be? Or if they even have one?

Here’s what I found: ” [God] chose the world’s DOWN-AND-OUT as the kingdom’s FIRST citizens, with FULL rights and privileges. This kingdom is promised to ANYONE who loves God. And here you are abusing these same citizens!” (James 2:5-6 MSG)

James 2 is telling us that the very people who we may deem to be in last place, are actually #winning in the kingdom with a first-class, all-inclusive package deal.

We should have a heart for the “last.” God most definitely does. But sadly, it’s usually people who call themselves “Christians” who don’t listen to what His heart is saying. Instead, we listen to the voices of politics, money, and media and end up abusing VIP kingdom citizens and showing favoritism to the world’s VIP, like the aforementioned scripture stated. We’ve got it all twisted.

We all need to be “God-on-earth” to the down-and-out. To the people who feel like they’re in last place. The people without hope and sense of worth. A good person does good things for good people. These are good people and we need to show them love. And for Christians, if you call yourself a “Christian” without taking action for what and who Christ stands for, then you have some things to reevaluate ASAP. Loving God includes loving each other, and not because we want to be first in some competition, but rather because it’s our greatest command and honor to show love to those around us.

The “last” should know that “the first shall be last” and “the last shall be first” are not hollow statements. Instead, they should have hope. Real hope. So let’s be hope-givers. 

ANYONE can be a part of God’s kingdom if they really want to, especially those who have lost hope in this world and have been deemed worthless. Thankfully, they’re coming out on top. Be encouraged.

Posted on Leave a comment

“We Are Not Interested in Conditional Freedom” – Quotes from Jesse Williams, BET Awards 2016

Jesse Williams, best known for his role in Grey’s Anatomy, gave the most relevant and inspiring #blacklivesmatter speech at the BET 2016 Awards after accepting the humanitarian award.

In addition to dedicating the award to his family and friends, he also dedicated the well-deserved honor to the black women, “who have spent their lifetimes nurturing everyone before themselves” and “the real organizers all over the country, the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, [and to] the students that are realizing that [the] system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do.”

Below are a few quotes from Jesse Williams’ moving and powerful speech. His words do not require elaboration – they speak volumes on their own.

  • “If you have no interest in EQUAL RIGHTS for Black people, then do not make suggestions to those that do!”

  • “The burden of the brutalized is NOT to comfort the bystander.”

  • “Freedom is always coming in the hereafter…we want it NOW.”

  • “Now dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right this back for someone’s BRAND on our body when we spent centuries praying with BRANDS on our bodies, and now we pray to get paid for BRANDS on our bodies.”

  • “The more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will MOBILIZE.”

  • “But FREEDOM is somehow always conditional here. “You’re free,” they keep telling us, “but she would’ve been alive if she hadn’t acted so… FREE.” 

  • “And we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while EXTRACTING OUR CULTURE, our dollars, our entertainment like oil, black gold.”

  • “Ghettoizing and demeaning our creations, then stealing them, GENTRIFYING OUR GENIUS, and then TRYING US ON LIKE COSTUMES before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit.”

  • “The thing is though, that just because we’re MAGIC doesn’t mean we’re not REAL.”

Jesse Williams’ speech spoke to issues of racial inequality and empowered the Black community to #staywoke, assured them that their reality, though unfair and ignored, is shared, and motivated many to take action against oppressive systems.

So much truth was spoken through Jesse Williams. He said what needed to be said in the most relevant, eloquent and magical way possible.

See link to full speech below:

http://www.bet.com/video/betawards/2016/acceptance-speeches/jesse-williams-receives-humanitarian-award.html

 

#BlackGirlMagic Out!