The Day After: Acknowledging Our Trauma, Preparing for the Hard Road Ahead

Dear FOR-USA family,

As I write you just after Election Day, from my home in the great republic of Brooklyn, New York, the election results are not yet fully known. What is certain, however, is that we have a great deal of work to do and some difficult days ahead as a nation. Will we have the courage to face the truth of what has been revealed about our populace, our systems, and our institutions; or will we forge ahead in denial of the fault lines that have been centuries in the making?

I have a confession to make to you. I am exhausted. I believe I can say that to our FOR members because I know most of you are exhausted and unsettled as well. It has been hard to hold on to a vision of reconciliation. As a Black Christian woman engaged in community-building for the last three decades, I know intimately the danger involved in pursuing the kind of expedient peace and resolution that does not travel through love and justice.

I am tired of the roller coaster of violent disregard fueled by this administration’s stoking of fear and division. And, as the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 continues to rise each day, I am overcome with sorrow and anger at the cost in terms of lives lost because of the White House’s actions.

I am devastated by the utter contempt for Black lives in this country, and the state-sanctioned murder of those lives in the name of a hallucinatory notion of law and order. Reconciliation will only happen here as the fruit of love and justice.

In our nation in which the needs of the “free” market have been enshrined above all else, those on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder are dying because they don’t have the resources to protect themselves or take care of their families. Historians and social scientists will no doubt spend generations studying the cost in terms of human lives of this fetishization of economics over people. But we already know what is at stake if we do not commit to a revolution of values.

It is in moments like these that I am thankful that the Fellowship of Reconciliation is comprised of people of faith and conscience. We know that our safety and our power never come from elections. They come from our love, from our bodies and our connection to the earth and creation, from our ancestors and teachers and families, from our fellowship with one another.

We understand that if we want healing and reconciliation, we cannot be afraid of the truth and truth must guide our work for justice. In the days and weeks ahead, I am hoping that we will hold fast to that conviction. After so much deep and unnecessary pain, suffering, and death, the healing that we all want will only be possible through the power of love and the earnest pursuit of justice.

So yes, I am exhausted and grieving, but I am not afraid of the truth and I am not without hope.

Because of a deep and abiding faith that exhorts me not to be weary in well doing – I may be tired in this struggle, but I have not grown weary of the struggle itself. This struggle is not mine, it is God’s. It will produce peace for us and through us because we will not let go of love and justice, and God will not let go of us.

Right now, honestly, I am thinking about the need for us to be quiet, to breathe deeply, and to acknowledge the trauma we have witnessed and experienced. We will not escape the reality of the struggle that is ours but must pause to refresh the spirit for the difficult journey that no doubt lies ahead of us.

I am grateful to travel with you, friends. And on this hard road that we share that takes sharp twists and unpredictable turns, it matters that we walk together in fellowship.

In peace and justice,

Rev. Dr. Emma Jordan-Simpson
Executive Director
Fellowship of Reconciliation

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