These last few weeks, not to mention the last few years (and for that matter the last few centuries), have been incredibly difficult for my Black sisters and brothers. I will be the first to admit that I have been in my white privileged bubble for most of my life. But the last several years I've slowly (too slowly) been doing the work of bursting that bubble. And, sadly, it has taken me way too long to actually take any sort of action. Fear is an impressively, disgustingly powerful motivator, and I've let it have its say for far too long. Because I am white, I have the privilege to sit on the sidelines if I so choose. But being a bystander is no better than being an oppressor. Silence equals consent. And I won't be a part of that any longer.
Four years ago, after beginning to dig deeper into the ways my own whiteness has kept me sheltered and blinded from the world around me, I started longing for more. Hoping for a justice that is deeper than I've ever seen. Longing for mercy and a love that doesn't play by the rules or the systems we (we = white people) have constructed. And the best way that I knew to articulate this deep sorrow for the oppressed, regret for my participation in that oppression, and hope for change and making things right, was to write.
Out of that writing, "Take My Hand" was created. Now, I have the tendency to be super cynical. (Those who know me best are nodding enthusiastically right now!) And I can run my mouth about how wrong things are with the best of them. But once I get through my cynicism and my crazy mouth, I know that the only way for real, lasting change to happen is if we work together. ALL of us. TOGETHER. Not in spite of our differences, but because of them. THAT is my hope. It is the hope that if we all long for the same things, the same basic human things like justice, peace, healing, mercy and love, and if we all work to tear down walls and take off masks, to bridge gaps and stop and listen to each other, to abide with one another even when we don't agree, then we can be the change this country so desperately needs.
And that is still my hope. Four years later, and things aren't any better. In fact, you could say they are getting worse. But I see little rays of hope. And I'm latching on to those rays. We have work to do. LOTS of work. And it will be hard. It will be painful. It will be uncomfortable. And white people, it will bring up a lot of ugly in your own life that you may not want to work through. But we must. It is FAR PAST TIME to work through it. Only by working through it will we be able to face the future and work for change.
So I ask you:
Will you stand for justice?
Will you work for peace?
Will you strive for healing in this land?
Will you live with mercy?
Will you fight with love?
If your heart is as mine, take my hand.
I hope you will take the time to listen to "Take My Hand" and, if it speaks to something in you, I hope you will share it too.