#Justice: The Dehumanization of Black Children

All of my life I have been surrounded by the faces of brown children. I love them. In many cases, they are no different than any other children. They like to eat, make messes, and play. As they grow, particularly if they are in safe, nourishing, and healthy environments, they also begin to dream. I recall dreaming of being a teacher, a doctor, an engineer, and maybe even a fashion designer. I really wanted to be a fashion designer! No one killed those dreams in me. I had much hope concerning my adult life. Everywhere I turned, family members, friends, mentors, coaches, teachers, and counselors told me that I had so much to look forward to and a bright future ahead.

Shutterstock Image

Shutterstock Image

…such is not the case with so many brown children in America, and such is not the case particularly concerning our brown boys. I breaks my heart whenever I hear the statistics of high school drop outs, prison, low college enrollment, and violence all of which are attached to young Black boys. As a Black woman who has been surrounded by and intimately involved in the lives of Black folks, I know there are systemic injustices that allow these statistics to escalate. For every person like me who raises the issue, there are too many non-Blacks (and even some Blacks) who claim that the problems do not exist, that we are trying to play the “race card,” or we don’t want people to take responsibility for their actions. After reading this article today, I am reminded that it is us who are failing the Black children of America and we must do something about it! Read the below article by Sonali Kolhatkar and be enlightened:

Studies Confirm the Dehumanization of Black Children and the ‘Preschool-to-Prison Pipeline

Continue reading

#Justice: A Peek into Urban Violence w/ Megan Westra

I am thankful for this testimony which shares the humanity and love experienced while living in an urban community. Welcome, Megan Westra.


Megan Westra

Megan Westra

“Do you feel safe?”

Well, not always.
I’m getting used to it now. The wide eyes and once-in-awhile gaping mouth. “Where do you live?”
I live in the inner city. On purpose. And I have no plans of leaving.

I have been robbed five times. I have witnessed a drug deal while sitting on my front porch. My block has been taped off with police line while the cops hunted down an armed assailant.

This is the inner city people think of when I talk about where I live, and they’re right. That is part of it.

There is violence and corruption in the inner city, but that’s not all there is.

There is also grandmothers who welcome their seven grandchildren, five great-nieces and nephews and any other lonely soul – yourself included – in for lemonade and cookies.

There is also a young man, a freshman in high school, who plays five instruments, writes music, is fantastic with children and was just elected president of the student body at his school.

There is also this older couple down the block who have lived in the neighborhood since the 1970’s, own their home and are now retired. You’ve never seen the genuine, light- up-a-room smile leave his face, and she makes the best peanut butter cookies in the world.

When groups of teenage boys hang out on porch steps in your neighborhood sometimes they’re tossing dice and killing time, and sometimes they’re writing a rap about the importance of trees and wildlife to the wellbeing of a community.

But people never ask about that. They just want to know “Do you feel safe?”
There is typically no concern expressed for my neighbors or the residents in the area as a whole, and honestly, their safety is probably more at risk than my own.

Continue reading

Justice: A Testimony ~ Immigration & Love for My Neighbor

I first wrote about the topic of immigration during the racial reconciliation series in 2012. In the post simply titled “Immigration,” I wrestled with my concerns as a Christian. Since that time, I have been paying attention to the many evangelical leaders who understand that immigration is a biblical justice issue and are therefore working to bring about comprehensive immigration reform.

Today I am thankful for this thoughtful post from fellow Redbud, Catherine McNiel, as she writes about immigration and loving her neighbors. Welcome, Catherine!


Catherine McNiel photoJesus taught that all of Scripture could be summed up by the two greatest commandments: “Love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, and mind; and love your neighbor as yourself.” He then used a parable to explain that “neighbor” doesn’t just mean those living next door, but anyone we encounter in need.

Where I live, most of my neighbors are immigrants, many of them both recent and undocumented. This means that in both the literal and figurative sense of Jesus’ command, the undocumented immigrant is my neighbor. I am commanded to love my undocumented neighbor just as earnestly and faithfully as I love God himself.

For many in the United States, immigration is a justice issue, but an abstract one. In the current events of our nation we are debating how to proceed in a way that provides justice both from them and for them.

For my family, immigration is not an abstract question. The often anonymous, theoretical group labeled “undocumented immigrants” are our flesh and blood friends, neighbors, classmates, and schoolmates. We rub shoulders at the grocery store, library, and park. We worship with them in church and visit in each other’s houses. And let me tell you – when you are sitting in a person’s home, hearing their stories, sharing their food and their life – injustice stops being abstract right away.

Continue reading