Over the past decade, I have used my voice through writing and speaking to have honest conversations. Truth-telling is important to me. Most of the time learning about the truth and being willing to hear the truth is the first brave and humble step. We must be willing to do that before we can ever speak the truth with boldness.
I’m honored whenever I have the opportunity to have honest conversations with people who care enough to listen, learn, and share their own heart and experiences. I recently had such a beautiful conversation with my brother and author James Bryan Smith.
James is the author of several books, including The Good and Beautiful and The Apprentice Magnificent Series, and one of my favorites, Hidden in Christ. He is the director of the Apprentice Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation at Friends University. Through his leadership and encouragement, I have had the opportunity to speak at Friends University and the Apprentice Gathering twice.
The “Our Stories in the Wilderness” talk that he mentions in our discussion can be found here:
One of these days, people are going to learn: racism is not about whether or not you like or have a friend of another people group. Racism is about power, and how systemic structures are used to will that power to the benefit of some at the expense of others. Racist actions are often carried out either through political practices and policies or violence.
Therefore, we must pay attention to racist speech, rhetoric, and practices, and call them out when it happens. A few weeks ago, the President of the United States intentionally renamed the coronavirus, the Chinese virus instead of saying that the virus originated in China. Across the country, there was a rise in public violence and hate crimes against Asian Americans. This has led to a fear within the Asian American community, and a public outcry from those who stand in solidarity with them.
Several weeks ago, I signed a Statement on Anti-Asian Racism in the Time of COVID-19. This is #WhyISignedAACC:
I value human life. It is true that All Lives Matters, and yet when the lives of a specific community or people group is violently threatened, then we need to come together in support and solidarity with those whose lives are endangered.
The statement was written by the Asian American Christian Collaborative, and the voices of Asian Americans have drafted the language and are leading this movement of engagement, education, and support.
As we sit amid a pandemic unlike anything my generation has ever seen, we lament. We are only entering the wilderness of death, famine for some, and economic hardship that will have rippling effects for a very long time.
Things are changing by the moment, and therefore, my public words have been few but my prayers have been many. Additionally, the constant rotation of news is not good for any of our mental health, so I have significantly limited my internet time.
It is not lost on me, that we have been surrounded by death during this Lenten season. On this day of darkness, we look to the cross and the tomb. And as we enter the weekend, we know that Sunday is coming. We gather hope from the gentle reminder that Christ has overcome death and the grave.
Come with me now, as my sistas and I reflect on the 7 Last Words of Jesus.