Monday, July 11, 2016

Dear White Christian Women,

Can we just agree that last week left us all pretty heartsick? As a woman who writes publicly, who has a 22-year old African American son (with a record), who worries for him to tears, who has witnessed injustice dealt to him, who recently witnessed profound kindness toward him from a white police officer, who desperately loves my community and my neighbors, who aches for the white church to begin bearing the wounds of our brothers and sisters who are People of Color, well, there's just so much to think about. And the thinking doesn't always lend itself to speaking (or writing).

I'm also quite sure in these situations that my voice isn't the one that needs to be heard. I fear adding to the noise. I want to stand for what's true and right, but I want to listen and learn from those whose experience is so vastly different from my own.

I received a beautiful email last Thursday from an African American reader-friend. It was clear to me that we all needed to hear from her. I'd like you to meet Jess. She has been such a gift in processing these hard things and I'm ever-grateful for her willingness to give voice to her pain so we can all grow.

Dear White Christian Women,

I wish I were writing to you today for lighthearted things, but I'm reaching out today because I wanted you to know that I'm broken-hearted. I'm a black woman married to a white man, raising what the world essentially sees as "black males." But they are more than that. They are my babies.  They love me dearly and serve others with all their heart.  But with recent events, I can't help but fear that they will one day be seen as a threat, simply because of their skin color.

I know it's my privilege to serve a savior that is near to the broken hearted.  But I want to walk alongside a community of believers that are near to me as well.  Sadly...that's just not the case.  For every #AltonSterling and #TamirRice, I notice an overwhelming silence from my white Christian sisters.  It’s deafening.  I support every missional cause that my white Christian sisters push on social media for every impoverished country. But where is my community of believers when injustice is happening right in our own backyard? Is it less of a cause because there are no artisanal crafts to sell in honor of the slain?

I'm hurting here.  Really hurting.  Like the kind of hurt that leaves you with no eloquent words...just sobbing.  This. Should. Not. Happen. Whether you believe the victims are criminals or not, they deserve to make it to the police station, just like the police officer deserves to make it home. They deserve due process.  They deserve a trial.  They deserve to see their families again.  They do not deserve to be pulled over for a traffic violation and lose their life.  And when this happens, I want to know that my sisters care. That you think my son shouldn't have to fear for his life one day should he find himself in an encounter with a police officer. 

So what am I asking of my sisters in Christ?  Well, I read Colleen Mitchell’s piece, 10 Reasons I Don't Want to Be Your White Ally. I hear your fears and your questions.  You don’t have to worry about getting it right.  Please just let us know that you “get it.”  Let us know that you acknowledge the pain we feel when we witness another news story about a police officer unnecessarily firing on a man that reminds us of our sons, fathers, brothers, uncles and cousins.  If you have a social media outlet, we don’t expect you to pen an essay every time this happens…because frankly, it’s just too often.  But a statement of solidarity goes a long way. 

And I’m #sorrynotsorry, but I must go there.  Please, if you have an ounce of sensitivity, stop posting #alllivesmatter in response to #blacklivesmatter.  It is dismissive and suggestive that anyone using the hashtag thinks black lives matter over others’ lives or that only black lives matter.  Can we just all agree that ALL LIVES SHOULD MATTER.  We are ALL image bearers of God.  But we continue to see that all lives are often not regarded equally. 

Please know that I write to you not to scold my sisters.  But instead, I pray that God will use my words to serve as a call to unite. 

Your Black Sister-in-Christ


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