Standing and Kneeling
I will never be able to say that I truly understand the righteous fear, anger, hurt, and injustice that my fellow human beings of color have carried with them for centuries. I am an older privileged white woman. I have never felt what they feel because of the color of my skin. I can say that I feel ashamed. I feel ashamed of the white oppression, the automatic privilege, the inequality, the inequity, and the lack of compassion and justice that I see around me. I stand with my fellow Human Beings. We are each made in the image and likeness of the Holy Spirit. I kneel with all those that pray for peace and understanding...for equality, equity, liberty and justice for ALL.
I am an educator. I began teaching in 1975 in a school that had been all Black before desegregation in Florida. Our white students were the ones bused in from a neighboring white city in southeast Florida. I was part of a group of educators from several schools (both Black and White) that met weekly as part of the Human Development Program. I thought at first that our meetings were to help the children see one another without seeing color first. It was not. It was so that we, the teachers, could see each other and the children without the filter of color or race. We couldn't help the children if we didn't help ourselves first. It opened eyes and allowed a level of compassion and 'understanding' that wouldn't be possible without the glimpses into each others lives and culture that we shared. I guess it was like group therapy. We signed on for a commitment of one year. We met weekly for several years in my classroom after school. I had thought that I was enlightened and unbiased. Here I was teaching in a school in a Black neighborhood in a school that had only relatively recently been desegregated. I didn't know that I needed enlightenment. I was a 22 year old graduate with my head in the clouds. I had a lot to learn... and learn I did. I think that I learned enough to make things different for my children, those I have taught over the last 45 years and my own daughter and son. I know that both my children have best friends with skin darker than theirs. My son marched in a recent protest holding hands with a black friend. My daughter' s roommate is biracial.
I am also, for the first time in my life, ashamed to be an American. I have tried to hold onto the last shreds of my pride during the entire Trump administration. Watching the man who is President, who is supposed to represent me and ALL Americans show his contempt for the people he SERVES is heartbreaking. I shook my head in 2016 and cried. How did a man who is a known racist, narcissist, misogynist, and compulsive liar become President of the United States?! Now the whole world is watching his response to the Protests for Justice and the Pandemic. The whole world is shaking their heads. He represents us! This needs to be reversed!
I kneel in prayer for this country and all its people. I kneel in prayer and hope that I will live to see what Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. prayed during his I Have a Dream speech in Washington:
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed - we hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal."
When you say the Pledge to the Flag, I pray that you will really take the time to think about the words that you are saying: "One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."