Over the last couple of days, like so many times before, I’ve watched in sadness and anger seeing racism continue in our country. Watching another black man killed by the people that are supposed to protect us (and by us I mean ALL of us). But the last couple days have also been filled with frustration and disappointment in myself for not knowing what to say or write. Because that’s what I do. I write what I BELIEVE in. I write what is important to me. I write what I feel God is placing on my heart. And I was at a loss. How could I, as a white female of privilege say anything? Do I even have the right to say anything? Fear that I would say the wrong thing. But each day I continued to have a growing, overwhelming feeling that through my silence I was not being a part of the change that so desperately needs to be take place in this country. Through my silence I was a part of the problem.
So… I knew I had to talk to someone that could help me. Everyone, I’d like you to meet Ms. Iris. Many of you may know her from the stories of Foster sneaking next door to ring her doorbell to see her and Mr. Mark whenever he has a chance. She is my friend, my neighbor and I love her dearly. She is also my sister in Christ.
And today I asked her if she could go for a walk with me. And I asked those uncomfortable questions that no one wants to ask and I LISTENED. I listened to her experience as a black woman in this country. And my heart fell. I listened to her share the fears that she has for her son. Fears that I will never have to worry about for mine. Fears of her son being harmed based on ASSUMPTIONS just because of the color of his skin. And my heart broke.
And I hurt. I hurt for her and all the other mothers out there that are faced with these same fears that I will never know. She lives RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO ME and what her family faces is not what my family faces.
As I listened to Ms. Iris I was continually struck by her grace and her steadfast faith. She said that she has always been taught that, “We can hate the actions but we don’t hate the people.” She continually watches people with her color of skin be harmed and yet she still speaks with love.
After we finished walking I gave her a big hug and thanked her for taking time to talk to me. I promised her that I would continue to try and educate myself so that I could better educate my boys to ensure they are not a part of this continued system of injustice. Because racism is TAUGHT. What are YOU teaching your children?
Jesus asks us to love one another as HE loves us. He has filled ALL of us with His Holy Spirit and as my pastor said today, “The Holy Spirit is about unity.”
So tonight I’m asking all of you who read my posts to take time to educate yourselves. Have those tough conversations. Find yourself a Ms. Iris. Talk to your children. Do not be silent.
P.S. I shared this post with Ms. Iris and published with her permission.