“Now I know for certain that God doesn’t show favouritism with people but treats everyone on the same basis. It makes no difference what race of people one belongs to. If they show deep reverence for God, and are committed to doing what’s right, they are acceptable before him.”Acts 10:34-35 TPT
This is a grave loss for us all. A loss of humanity and the bonds of love that should be weaved into our interactions with one another. I’ve really struggled to come to terms with all that’s going on – because it’s a loss. I don’t deal with loss well. I fear the gravity of my own emotions and how I am rendered somewhat defeated by the countless stories being told.
Real people, real lives. Real families facing the loss of their sister, brother, husband, wife, mother, father, nephew, niece, cousin, aunty, uncle. Real communities facing the loss of their leaders and friends. Real people, real lives.
I’ve had to distance myself from the news for a while, to truly engage with my inner feelings and response to all that’s going on. Each time, I was brought back to nuanced experiences, my personal reality of what it means to exist as a black woman against the backdrop of various insensitive spaces and places. I’ve realised that we are all suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder in varying levels. We are exhausted – mentally, physically, emotionally. I’ve witnessed myself holding fast to various coping mechanisms, running from deep truths, holding back tears, choosing to ‘not talk about it’, cause it hurts. But I’m learning that God is pleased with the range of emotions being experienced and faced. You see, He wants to know and hear and see my heart:
“What is the value of your soul to God? Could your worth be defined by an amount of money? God doesn’t abandon or forget even the small sparrow he has made. How then could he forget or abandon you? What about the seemingly minor issues of your life? Do they matter to God? Of course they do! So you never need to worry, for you are more valuable to God than anything else in this world.”Luke 12:6-7 TPT
And right now my heart and the collective hearts of black people are breaking and have been broken for years on end now. It is only when He has access to my heart through the words I utter to Him in prayer and honest conversations, that He can seek to pick up the pieces and restore the hope that has been vanishing slowly.
This slow death is more painful than anything. The realisation that my skin colour is such a ‘big deal’, such a ‘threat’ is a reality I would not wish on anyone. But it’s a reality that is force-fed and gulped in copious amounts all over the world. And it hurts.
It’s a loss.
A loss of feeling truly seen and loved and valued. A loss of having hope in your neighbour having space in their heart to love you as they love themselves. A loss of individuals who had so much more to offer this world.
In the process of grappling with this grave reality, I’ve had to recognise a few things;
DON’T NEGLECT YOUR STORY
Today, I had to address my feelings towards everything. I had to do so by doing a deep dive to find stories which reflected my reality. This is because as a black woman, in the fight for injustice, our stories are often considered an ‘afterthought.’ This is not to reduce the power in fighting for the lives of our black men whom I consider brothers. However, it is difficult to engage at times when the killing of black women and girls is a mere ‘footnote’ in our understanding of police violence and brutality. (Lindsey, 2020) There is a sense of invisibility that occurs despite countless stories of black women; they all tend to go under the radar. I implore us all, myself included – whilst educating ourselves, whilst hash tagging #BlackLivesMatter to consider the fact that black bodies – men and women alike are being brutally killed. The conversation needs to include us all.
“The comparative lack of mobilized outrage for the killing of black women and girls is an injurious erasure.”Treva Lindsey, 2020
By recognising this, I was reminded of my own experiences. Experiences which hurt to read as I am placed back in those spaces, forced to relive them all over again. However, the solidarity I’ve felt from hearing from other black women during this time has been a source of comfort to what has been a particularly heavy day. Hence, I’ve decided to share my stories (which have been communicated in the form of poetry) in the ‘Let’s Be Poetic’ section over the next few weeks. Each poem holds a piece of my heart and was a source of healing to me when finally expressed. I hope your stories and the possible re-telling of them remind you that you are a survivor. I pray they remind you that there is nothing you will experience that God’s grace cannot and will not rescue you from. I hope they empower you to see yourself as a valued and valuable member of society.
THERE IS PURPOSE IN THE PAIN
As angry and frustrated as one has every right to feel right now, there was nothing more beautiful for me to see than a young girl smiling ear to ear, professing:
I can’t imagine the pain George Floyd’s family is experiencing right now, especially when acknowledging that his little six year old girl will not have her daddy witness her graduate, walk her down the aisle and grow up to be all she is destined to be. However, there is still beauty to be found in moments like this because his little girl has witnessed how her father has changed the world. How his body didn’t solely represent yet another lynching of a black body in broad daylight but rather his legacy remains firm because his death, filmed by the alert and aware 17 year old, Darnella Frazier, has now sparked a worldwide conversation that must continue. This video of the adorable Gianna, is the one piece of content that has stirred up confidence in me and made me feel as though there is still hope. There will always be hope.
WE MUST REMAIN EDUCATED
Knowledge is power. We as black people cannot fight this battle on our ones. So I am elated to see non-black individuals educating themselves. Ignorance is no longer a privilege that can be afforded to anyone on a platter. Now is the time to learn, to have true, open, honest conversations and to seek to do better and be better. To truly understand what it means to ‘love our neighbours’ and to seek spaces where love is the language we speak in. There are countless means by which this might be achieved. As you might know by now, I am inspired and truly educated by film. So I’ve compiled a list of movies, documentaries, series that have helped me have meaningful conversations with myself and others about this thing we call ‘race.’ We need each other and we can only show up for each other where there is true understanding. So if you’re a non-black individual reading this, I lovingly encourage you to listen more, watch more, read more, learn more. Let’s be partners in this voyage towards racial harmony.
“For we have the living Word of God, which is full of energy, like a two-mouthed sword. It will even penetrate to the very core of our being where soul and spirit, bone and marrow meet! It interprets and reveals the true thoughts and secret motives of our hearts.”
Hebrews 4:12 TPT
The Word of God. It offers healing, answers, direction, comfort, guidance – it offers everything. So I leave you with scriptures which have been a source of comfort to me whilst navigating this loss.
- Donate to ‘Black Lives Matter’ here.
- Donate to ‘Color of Change’ here.
- Further resources & links here.
Sending peace & love,