Four hundred and one years ago, in 1619, the first abducted Africans landed on Virginia’s shores and were sold to the colonists as slaves. Still today, we struggle to acknowledge the legacy of pain, death, and destruction created by our ancestors’ actions. As a nation and as a people, we have never wholly owned the consequences of those actions or the systemic racism we have inherited and allowed to flourish. I know that these statements are sharp, but nowhere near as harsh as living the legacy of our actions as a Black person in America.
Today, I read an article about the passing of Mrs. Lucille Bridges, whose daughter Ruby was the first child of color to integrate a public school in New Orleans in 1960. In my mind, segregation occurred long before my life, but this article awakened me to the truth that this was the world of my parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, who all grew up and lived in this neighborhood with Ruby’s family. Mrs. Bridges walked her daughter to school every day surrounded by federal marshals. As I try to imagine the courage that took and read about the pain inflicted on that family by the people of my beloved hometow, I am deeply saddened and reminded that our journey is not over. We have only just begun.
Today, we have the opportunity to make amends. And to do so requires that we exaamine our part in this pain and oppression. Luckily for us, one of my dearest friends and my seminary sister, Jackie Hawkins, is coming to speak with us this Sunday. Her talk is titled Walk in My Shoes: An Invitation. Join us in person or on Livestream this Sunday at 11:00 AM, and stay for our Courageous Conversations about Race following Service.