I have always prided my platform on unity which I will continue to do. With many friends black, white, and beyond I have always strived to keep my message neutral not wanting to make anyone feel uncomfortable. As racial tension is running rampant in our nation, I felt the need to tell my story. That's it. This blog post is not about the painful narrative and roots of systemic racism. Unfortunately, if you are looking to understand more about that, you will need to put in the necessary work and research to truly understand. This blog post is not about my opinion on violent rioting and careless looting where lives are lost and businesses and livelihoods are destroyed. If you want to know my views about that, you'll have to open up the Bible where I have always taken my direction from. This blog post is simply about my story. Now that I've gotten that out of the way, I hope you will stay with me on this 3 minute journey. It is my hope that by sharing my personal story, in some way, I can help make the daily reality for people of color tangible and real to the reader who may not have any experience with what that looks like with love, grace, and truth.
Growing up as a "PK" and now the daughter of a retired presbyterian minister, race was always at the forefront even when we didn't want it to be. As a child it was hard for me to understand racial inequality. Of course I knew about the stories regarding the civil rights movement that they would teach in our schools but I didn't see it. my parents were very good at shielding us from the harsh realities that they faced as African Americans. Maybe they didn't want to scare us, But as a child, you always end up putting two and two together. Certain things you know are just not okay.
When the parsonage that you live in is raided by the police and your father is slammed up against a police car in handcuffs because he "fits the description" of a criminal in front of the church he pastors, racial inequality is hard to ignore. When your mother is handcuffed over a doll she bought as a Christmas gift and then forced to apologize to a white woman who accused her of stealing it despite her receipt in hand, racial inequality is hard to ignore.
I wish I could say things got better as I matured and answered my own call into the ministry but they did not. I was always reminded in every city we lived in that in some way my color was not embraced. Whether it was being escorted to my car by dear white friends after midweek programming because they feared for me as KKK disturbances were being reported in the area. Whether it be the constant awareness that I was being followed in stores because my skin color had categorized me as a thief. Whether it be the requirement for my husband and I to show our Identification two days after checking into a hotel to prove that we were really staying there as we watched white families enter in and stroll comfortably to their rooms. The list goes on and the pain is deep. In those moments it didn't matter that my husband was a brilliant attorney, or that I was a Children's Pastor of an all white church, or that my best friend was white. All that mattered was the pigment of our skin and I knew this was a harsh reality that I would have to accept.
To all of my amazing white friends in the ministry who I absolutely adore, please check in with your black friends. We are not okay. We are on your church staffs. We are serving in your ministry. We are sitting under your leadership with hands lifted. But, we are not okay. We are broken beyond what you could imagine. We love you and we need you.