Imagine two neighbors, one white and one black sitting down for a cup of coffee. The white neighbor has history in the small town—her family runs the local restaurant, her uncle is the community pastor, her mom is a career teacher at the only primary school, and her great uncle is the mayor. The story of the white neighbor is well known by everyone and it is considered normal. The black neighbor is new to town, so her story is virtually unknown. It is either distorted, rarely heard, or told in small snippets.
This is what it sometimes feels like to be black in America. We are treated as outsiders in a town where those in the majority group know and trust each other because of a known and shared history; but because of limited personal interactions, lack of familiarity, or cultural awareness, it is easy for Americans who identify as white to perpetuate lies and myths about their black and brown neighbors.
Some may ask: Why are we so divided across racial/ethnic and socioeconomic lines in America? I believe people desperately want an accessible way to answer this question, to confront their concerns, and to better understand themselves and their neighbors. People of good will may long to shed their fears of the unknown, reject false assumptions, and enter into relationships with their neighbor, but for this to happen, we must trade in the shallow break room chatter for more informed dinner conversations and long talks on the front porch.
Continue reading “Announcing My Next Book Deal”
Racism. Racial languages. Systemic injustices and our kids.
When I was a girl growing up in South Carolina, my young sister and I had several friends we would play with at school, through our extra-curricular activities, on our sports teams, and even in our home. Even though we grew up in a predominately African American culture, we were exposed to different people groups. We were taught to love and welcome everybody, so we were not shy about reaching out to folks who were different.
There was an elderly couple who lived in the house behind us, and they had a grandchild who visited regularly. Occasionally, we would play with their granddaughter in their backyard. She was white. We were black. A teenager started lingering around the yard and would sporadically speak to the little girl.
One day, we went into our neighbor’s yard to play with their granddaughter. We noticed the teenager was standing beside her. She was older than all of us, so I didn’t think she would be someone who wanted to play house and make mud pies. But when we entered the yard, the granddaughter looked up at us and said, “We don’t allow niggers to play in our yard.” That was shocking, because we had played in her yard so many times before then. It was shocking because that’s the first, and only time, I had been called the N-word. It was also shocking because I didn’t know how to respond. I just took my sister’s hand, and we returned home to tell our parents this bad news.
Continue reading at The Redbud Post.
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Today is not just for education, but for action.
Put an End to Modern-day Slavery. That has been the consistent message and desire of advocates. For at least two years, I have been lobbying with the International Justice Mission so Congress would pass the End Modern Day Slavery Initiative (EMSI). Take a look at this video we did:
After a lot of prayers, persistence, and hard work, language from this legislation was recently authorized in December 2016.
With a new legislation and Congress, we now need to ensure that this initiative is fully funded. You can help us in this effort by simply signing your name to a petition. You may think to yourself, “Signing my name won’t make a difference.” I am here to say that you are wrong.
Continue reading “Use Your Name for Good”