Thought for the Day:
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”
Question for the Day:
Are you letting yourself be seen?
Slavery was the the beginning of America’s attempt to erase the humanity of Black people. No human being who claims to fear God could ever justify stealing people away from their homeland and then forcing them into a life of unpaid servitude complete with all manner of violence from beatings, whippings, burnings, branding, rape, castration, decapitation, lynching, and dismemberment without convincing themselves that “those people” don’t matter. In fact, this country was built on the invisibility of African people who were once kings, queens, medicine men, tribal leaders, elders, and prophets eager to pass on the traditions of their native land and earn the blessing of their ancestors. Yet, America robbed them of that home and identity. The greed of our “forefathers” far superseded any pursuit of righteousness and those good “Christians” chose to strip these African people, made in God’s image, of their humanity and liken them to animals not worthy of a life beyond serving the needs of their white masters.
Now of course, some have since learned. America has bore witness to Black people transcending enslavement, the Jim Crow South, share cropping, segregation, the denial of civil rights, and institutionalized racism to become teachers, doctors, lawyers, judges, and even the President of the United States. Though it was once illegal for a black person to read, here I sit writing a blog about all that my ancestors have overcome. We have proven time and time again, that we are strong, worthy, competent, intelligent, talented and anointed to do God’s work. Yet still, America resists the idea that we matter.
We are still overlooked in high end stores because our purchases are insignificant and don’t matter. Cab drivers often speed by black riders on busy city streets, because their business doesn’t matter. Grocery stores in marginalized communities are frequently scarce on fresh fruits and vegetables, because the nutrition of the people of those communities doesn’t matter. People resent waiting on “the black table” in restaurants because our tips don’t matter. Schools in predominately black neighborhoods often have inadequate supplies and equipment because the education of black children doesn’t matter. Doctors in rural areas like the Mississippi Delta, move black bodies through their offices like assembly lines, prescribing unnecessary medications and recommending serious procedures for preventable conditions, because those patients’ health doesn’t matter. Voter suppression persists because the black vote doesn’t matter. Predatory lenders target black communities and prospective black homeowners because our wealth doesn’t matter. The confederate emblem is still proudly displayed on Mississippi’s state flag despite it representing the fight to preserve slavery because black Mississippians don’t matter. The Central Park five lost years of their lives in prison on trumped up rape charges because their freedom didn’t matter. And George Floyd, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Mike Brown, Sean Bell, Philando Castille, Tamir Rice, Amadou Diallo, and countless more have died at the hands of those paid to protect and serve because their lives DID. NOT. MATTER. Blacks With The Blues
However, on June 3, 2020 in Whitefish, MT, a Black woman by the name of Samantha Francine, changed that narrative when she refused to let hate dictate her value. Francine and several other protesters gathered that day to protest the killing of George Floyd and raise awareness about Black Lives Matter when a very angry racist by the name of Jay Snowden approached the group and tried to put them all back in their place. “Black lives matter? F**k you,” he shouted as he grabbed signs, yelled, and flipped everyone the bird.
He was determined to mock, agitate and intimidate everyone including a priest, but he was in for something different when he approached Samantha. Ms. Francine earned an extra jewel in her crown in that moment because she didn’t flinch, cower, back down or show fear as she stared that hate-filled individual directly in his face and made him acknowledge her existence. Though he carried on like an uncontrolled animal (similar to the ones Trump likes to compare minorities to), she was not shaken. She did not return his fury or lower herself to his level of immaturity and ignorance. She did not look down and allow him to believe he had overpowered her. She did not look to anyone else for assistance or dignify his irrational behavior with a response. Instead, she lifted up her glasses so he could look deeper into her black soul and acknowledge that she was far more than three fifths of a person. Samantha Francine stood flatfoot in the face of bigotry and went toe-to-toe with this evil called racism without fear or apology.
Today, I’m asking all of us choose to do the same. The days of running scared are over and it’s time for the people of God to stand up and rebuke racism, prejudice, bigotry, injustice and everything and everybody attached to them. When we refuse to allow people to make us invisible or diminish our worth, they no longer have an excuse to do evil. Forcing a racist to acknowledge our existence leaves them nowhere to hide. When a racist like Jay Snowden has to contend with their disregard for someone else’s humanity, they know they must ultimately contend with God and THAT’S what they’re most afraid of. Racists have to believe that we don’t matter, so they don’t have to fear God’s judgement for the atrocities they’ve committed, overlooked, allowed, and excused. But, I’m encouraging everyone to be like Samantha Francine from this day forward and make every racist who’s using your skin color as an excuse to justify their sin, see you.
“For God shall bring every work into judgement with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil.”