I'm tired. I’m sick and tired of being asked if I am going to make a statement about the latest killing of a black man by police. I’m tired of struggling to find the words that will make sense or make any impact. I’m quite frankly tired of making statements. Yet I know that my faith and my outrage compel me to say something.
We don’t need any more statements about our outrage and grief, about racism and its impact on those who are killed and how in 2016 we seem to be going backwards on our commitment to eradicate racism. We don’t need any more statements about trainings we offer or how if we only educated people enough this hatred that threatens to destroy our society would just go away. Even me saying I’m tired does nothing because I am white and privileged and being tired about making statements means absolutely nothing to those directly impacted by the insidious nature of the racism that pervades our society.
Pastor and writer John Pavolitz in a blog post today says this:
“White people we need to wake up—and we need to go to work.
We need to be in the trenches and in the streets and in the political process alongside people of color to demand equality.
We need to be as loud as the most hateful of our own friends and families and coworkers.
If not, we’re the problem.
My faith compels me to demand that all people be treated as though they are made in the image of God.
My homeland declares that all men and women are created equal in the eyes of the law.
I will no longer deny my faith or my country by accepting the unmerited death of Alton Sterling or any other man of color.
It’s time for the white people who say “not all white people are racist” to call out those white people who are—or we are too. If we refuse to stand up for the humanity of our brothers and sisters of color we forfeit our own.
I don’t know how to change things, but I know that saying and doing nothing will ensure that we’ll soon be eulogizing another black man.
And I won’t have that on my hands.
Black lives matter.”
Yes, we need to do this work. We need to engage and we need to listen. We need to learn and we need to be led by those who are most directly impacted by the systemic causes of racism to find ways to engage in this ministry and work. We can’t make it without one another and we need each other to make an impact and eradicate the racism in our midst.
“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I bear pain in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?” Psalm 13
Kent J. Siladi
Rev. Kent Siladi is the Director of Philanthropy for the National Office of the United Church of Christ.