The piercing. We all felt it. The puncture of violence, the ripping apart of families and communities, the pain of grief and loss. This last week, explosive tensions tore through our country in reaction to the targeted murders of Black people by police officers, followed by the retaliatory murders of police officers by a Black man.
Some people are speechless as they cling to the punctured fabric of illusions of security in a “post-racial America.” Others are emboldened by their outrage at the centuries of structural injustice that catalyzed this Bloody July and are placing their bodies in the streets to stop business as usual. As a nation, we are pierced and bleeding. We are in need of healing.
But, are we ready to be healed? Or do we just want the pain to go away?
This is not a time for cheap bandages to hide our wounds or pacifiers to distract us from the cause of our pain. We live with a disease called White Supremacy that is buried deep in the body and mechanisms of our country and communities. Healing begins with acknowledging the disease. The next step — and this is crucial — we must have dis-ease with our disease. Acknowledgement is not enough, we cannot be comfortable and make friends with a germ that threatens all of us. Healing requires acknowledgment and discomfort, and then aggressive action.
To topple the tyranny of White Supremacy peacefully, White people must reject White Supremacy and its benefits.
The work of FOR is rooted in strategic and spiritually grounded reconciliation through nonviolent means. This work of healing for reconciliation is a long-term work. But we are over 100 years old, so long-term work does not deter us. There is an immediate need though, to salve our pierced and bleeding nation and promote the healing we need so desperately.
First, it is important to diagnose ourselves, to know where we sit as wounded individuals as well as wounders. Our good intentions are not always the best meter for our impact on the world around us. Non-intentional harm is still harm.
Secondly, we must diagnose the wellness of our communities in this environment that is thickly polluted with White Supremacy. This is not an assessment we can do alone. We need perspectives from multiple people who inhabit different locations in our communities. The voices of those who are marginalized most in White Supremacist structures, i.e. People of Color, should be centered and valued.
Lastly, as we move aggressively to promote healing in a country that so urgently needs to stop spilling blood, we must take the words of the prophet Micah seriously: to act justly (reject White Supremacy and promote equity), love mercy (extend forgiveness that supports sustainable justice), and walk humbly with God and others (because nobody knows it all).
This is a time for taking action
Together we must provide hope and healing at this moment in our pierced, broken, and bloody nation.
Please contact FOR to tell us what you are doing in your community to confront and overcome White Supremacy and to strengthen a foundation for healing and restoration.
La Trina P. Jackson hails from Georgia and is a teacher, activist, PhD student, and a board member and community leader for her local mosque, Muslims for Progressive Values. In addition, she is an active member of Atlanta FOR and FOR USA‘s National Council chair.
Photos: Millions March NYC Courtesy of All-Nite Images Flickr CC; Wilton Blake Flickr CC; Fibonacci Blue Flickr CC; Gerry Lauzon Flickr CC.