It would be an incredible challenge to not address the tragic and unnecessary loss of life that was brought to the media’s attention this week. Within 72 hours, the murders of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and five Dallas police officers left America shaken and feeling more divided than united. As these men joined a long list of law enforcement related deaths, the message of being born worthy could not be more needed.
This week I have cried – albeit privately. As many of you may have read before, I am still navigating the difference between being black in America and being black of America. My diasporic immigrant self is still learning the intricate and complex history that this country is built upon. I do not claim to understand the wounds as much as I should, and I fully admit to being an early scholar of US race relations.
But I am learning,
And I am crying.
And I am wondering what my place is within it all.
Perhaps you feel the same? Perhaps you feel so very far removed from the situation, but are saddened all the same? What’s your place within it all?
This week we have witnessed America go through such deep pain. There are feelings of a great regression from the progress that was made eight years ago. A deep sense of pride filled the US with the election of the first black president. Finally history had been made, hope was alive, and the dream that Martin had seemed like it was becoming a reality.
Then weeks like these remind me that salvation is not based in a moment – but is worked out with fear and trembling. Progress is bigger than an Obama moment, and the struggle always continues.
The reminder of being born worthy is crucial at such a time as this. You have to fight the battle within and be intentional about knowing your worth. As women, we have a special calling to be firm in this foundation. We must be strong, as we are responsible for rearing the next generation. We must remind them that they are worthy over and over again, and we must lead by example in believing that.
It is imperative more than ever to practice speaking life into dead situations. Regardless of race, you are worthy of a second look. Yes, you are worthy of reasoning. Yes, you are worthy of kindness. Yes, you are worthy of being listened to.
The true crisis society faces runs deeper than race relations. In its most simplistic form, it is a battle between good and evil. A battle between love and hate, in which race is one of the ways it is manifested. As we receive bad news daily, it can seem that evil and hate are winning. However we have to believe that good and love can still be stronger.
Black lives matter.
It is more than a catchy hashtag. It is more than a march or a protest.
It is a declaration. It is a promise to the next generation. It is a movement that requires action.
Perhaps you’re wondering to yourself – don’t All lives matter?
In short, yes. All lives do indeed matter, and the prayer is that someday every life will be treated accordingly. However currently there is a need to highlight and support the black community, so that issues can be addressed to prevent lives being lost.
We all matter because we’re worthy. We’re all worthy because we are born. We are all worthy at all times, in all situations and we cannot get tired of reminding ourselves of that. Our babies should not have to comfort us, our girls should not have to lose their innocence, our boys should not have to question their belief in “protect and serve” to protect their bodies.
We’re born worthy.
As we continue to see black slaughter through media, we must be careful not to be tempted to trade our outrage for mere outburst. There is no such thing as an overnight success; likewise there is no such thing as overnight progress. Sustainable progress is incremental. It takes work. It’s slow. It’s strategic. It takes each and every one of us, regardless of the color of our skin.
As we reflect upon our place in this season, consider this:
- Be responsible for reminding yourself of your worth as often as you can.
- Let someone else know their worth and encourage them during this time.
- Build relationships with people who are different to you. The moment all of your friends look, sound and talk the same – your insight is limited. Have at least one person in your life that can give you a different perspective of the world. Seek understanding.
- Familiarize yourself with the history and context of some of the situations we see today. By growing in the knowledge of the past, you can appropriately address the future.
- Don’t stay angry. Again, this is a battle between good and evil, love and hate. Seek forgiveness, reconciliation and peace.
- Work out how you can use your gifts and talents to be part of the movement.
- Be wise with your voice and be wiser with your silence. Be mindful of when you speak out and speak up. More people are watching than you think!
- Find joy and hold onto it. It is so important to make sure you are being kind to yourself, so that you are in the best position to encourage others.
You were born worthy.