Jun 4, 2020
“For me, I believe that Black lives matter. That’s what I said. Anyone with a functioning brain understands that all lives matter. Anybody. But right now there is a portion of our community that is frustrated, and they are suffering, and they are hurting. So, as an empathetic Christian I’m gonna go and say I agree with the statement Black lives do matter. But I was glad some people disagreed with me, because I kept saying, do Black lives matter yes or no? yes but…I’m like there is no but. We disagree. Those are the same type of people that would have interrupted Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus would have been like, blessed are the poor…no Jesus blessed are all people. Since when does highlighting one issue disparage another? Are we not secure enough to be able to sit here and go issue by issue and talk about one without disparaging another? Of course all lives matter, but it’s okay to say Black lives matter. What’s wrong with you? This is not rocket science. All lives matter. No kidding. That’s why Black lives matter, because until all lives matter equally, we need to focus on this.”
-Carl Lentz, 2016
This is the most important episode I will ever release. I hope you approach it with an open heart.
George Floyd was murdered by a police officer while three other police officers stood by and did nothing.
Breonna Taylor was in her home in the middle of the night when police broke in, unannounced, and shot her to death.
Ahmaud Arbery was out for a run when two men chased him and shot him to death.
Christian Cooper was bird watching in Central Park when a woman threatened to call the police and say that an African American man was threatening her life. He was not.
It doesn’t stop there. The following Black men and women have been murdered by police:
THESE ARE JUST THE NAMES WE KNOW. Do you know how hard it is to find a full list of Black people who have been murdered at the hands of police brutality?
Here’s a brief history of the Black lives lost in our country over the past few years along with the #Blacklivesmatter gaining momentum:
· 7/17/14: Eric Garner dies in NY after being arrested
· 8/9/14: Michael Brown is killed during an encounter with police officer in Ferguson, MO.
· 11/22/14: Tamir Rice is killed by police in Cleveland while playing with a toy gun
· 11/24/14: Announcement that there will be no indictment in Michael Brown case
· 4/19/15: Freddie Gray dies in Baltimore while in police custody
· 6/17/15: Charleston church shooting kills 9 people
· 7/13/15: Sandra Bland is found hung in Texas jail cell
· Unarmed Black people were killed by police at 5x the rate of unarmed white people in 2015.
· Police killed at least 104 unarmed Black people in 2015— nearly 2x a week.
· 1 in 3 young Black men will be incarcerated in their life (compared to 1 in 17 white men).
· 13TH DOC: “The film’s premise is that while the 13th Amendment to the Constitution eliminated slavery and involuntary servitude, it in effect had an unintentional loophole that asserted “except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.””
· Black people make up 6.5% of the American population but make up 40.2% of the prison population.
· Our prison population went from less than 200k in 1970 to 2.3m today. This is what we refer to when we talk about mass incarceration.
THERE ARE PROVEN STRATEGIES that significantly reduce police killings, but very few Police Departments have adopted them. These are:
Requirements that officers use all means other than shooting (decreases death by 25%)
Requires all use of force be reported (decreases death by 25%)
Bans chokeholds + strangleholds (decreases death by 22%)
Has use of force continuum (decreases death by 19%)
Requires de-escalation (decreases death by 15%)
Duty to intervene if another officer uses excessive force (decreases death by 9%)
Restricts shooting at moving vehicles (decreases death by 8%)
Requires warning before shooting (decreases death by 5%)
*You can call your local representatives and demand these 8 things be instituted with your local law enforcement. Want to learn more? Click here: https://8cantwait.org
WHY DO BLACK LIVES MATTER? My Personal Reckoning: 2016
· I didn’t realize my own white privilege for a long time. I felt better than the other white people when it came to bias and racism because I grew up in a broken home filled with drugs, addiction, affairs, and even lived in a town where I was a minority. The reality is I have loved Black culture for most of my life, but I have done very little to be an advocate for justice for my Black brothers and sisters. I’m so sorry for this.
· I received a DM from a Black woman who encouraged me to diversify who I was interviewing on The Refined Woman. Almost all of my collaborations and interviews for the first few years of The Refined Woman were with white women. I was a white girl blogger.
· In 2016 I also wrote an All Lives Matter blog post that fortunately never went live. I didn’t understand what it meant that Black Lives Matter. As a Christian I assumed didn’t all lives matter? Thank God I have a team, and thank God I didn’t go live with that painful article. I was very, very wrong.
Black Lives Matter, and here’s why:
Jesus was a 1st Century Palestinian Jewish man. He had brown skin and was hated by the religious, and beaten and killed by law enforcement. If he was alive today in America, he’d be a minority immigrant who probably wouldn’t step foot inside white evangelical churches except to flip over tables. The Western Evangelical Church in America has become a religion for rich, advantaged, and privileged white people—which is the exact opposite of the roots of Christianity and the life of Jesus. Jesus hung out with the oppressed people of society, those ostracized, those who didn’t feel safe in the church—those who were judged and cast off. He fought for justice, restored dignity and humanity from the woman at the well, woman caught in adultery, to touching people with contagious diseases and engaging with people outside of the Jewish law which would have made him unclean in Jewish circles. But he didn’t care, because He was on a mission to do God’s work.
Friend, if you are a follower of Jesus and do not have a heart for justice, racial reconciliation and to see the systemic walls, pillars, and foundations of racism in our country to be dismantled, you are out of alignment with the heart of God.
Who does Jesus care about?
- Prodigal Son returns: the jealous brother instead of the father rejoicing over the return + safety of his son. But don’t I matter—OF COURSE YOU MATTER, BUT YOUR BROTHER WAS LOST + NOW IS FOUND.
- Luke 15: Jesus leaves the 99 to go after the one sheep. He cares about the individual.
It’s time to get back in touch with the heart of Jesus. Do all lives matter? YES. But until Black lives matter—we better go after that. Jesus went after the one.
What can you do?
If we don’t heal our past, it will follow us. And ours is HAUNTING US.
1. Until we acknowledge the experience of what it means to be a Black person in America there is no chance at healing.
2. When someone dies, you show up.
3. “I don’t know the full story.” You don’t have to.
4. “People are just reposting for attention…not for the right reasons.” You don’t know their hearts. And so what? Does that mean you get to stay silent?
5. Here’s what’s true: in 1619 was when the first wave of Black people were kidnapped from Africa to become slaves in Jamestown. July 4th isn’t a celebration of independence for Black people. They weren’t free when those freedom bells rang. America was built on the backs of terrorism and genocide and slavery of Black people, people of color and indigenous people.
6. If we don’t heal our past, it will follow us. And ours is HAUNTING US.
7. We have to look back before we can move forward.
8. One of the first things we can do is acknowledge our white privilege. What is white privilege and how do you know if you have it? Go through these statements.
#2: Get Curious
I STARTED NOTICING + GETTING CURIOUS:
· Why did I have so few Black friends?
· Why were there some Black people and people of color at my church but none on staff or leadership or in the decision-making rooms?
· I changed churches because I wanted to be a part of a community with women in leadership, then I noticed almost every week at church I could count on one hand the number of Black people at my church…why?
· Why were influential Black Christian people like Lecrae + Andre Henry leaving the church?
· How come at my favorite salad place every single person in line buying was white and all the people working in the buffet are Black?
· How come the expensive gym I had a membership to had mostly white members, and yet almost every single one of the people working there from front desk to maintenance are Black?
· This started making me very uncomfortable. I didn’t know what to do—so I’d talk with my friends about it…but really I didn’t do much about it. I deeply regret this.
#3: PRAY + REPENT:
· When have you been complicit, silent, and chosen ignorance out of comfort and convenience? Write it down, say it out loud, pray, and repent.
· Psalm 13 is great to walk through lament.
· Psalm 51 is great to walk through repentance.
· Sign petitions for racial justice. change.org is a great start for this!
· Talk with friends and family.
· When you see racism, call it out.
· Post on your platforms.
· Call your local representatives and demand justice.
· Support Black-owned businesses.
· Donate to Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
· Go to https://www.grassrootslaw.org to find out how you can support policing and justice in America.
· Read this: 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice by Corinne Shutack
#5: ORGANIZATIONS TO SUPPORT:
· Equal Justice Initiative (Bryan Stevenson)
· WhereChangeStarted.com has a great anti-racism starter kit
· To help pay bail for protestors in NYC, money can be Venmo’ed to @bailoutnycmay.
“Stop asking us to give you books. Stop asking us to do research. Listen y’all were able to do mathematic equations through some Black women and then your own stuff and to be able to go to the moon, and put a flag in it and dance around and do the west coast strut. How in the world can you go from the earth to the moon and you can’t do research on the racial history that we need to fight in this country. I don’t want to be traumatized by teaching you history. I want you to grow up in your spiritual maturity, and grow up in your faith, and go on the sanctifying journey of overriding the patriotic way that we’ve learned history in America.” - Pastor Eric Mason
10. Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman
11. Great Speeches by Frederick Douglass
13. Ghetto by Mitchell Duneier
14. More than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City by William Julius Wilson
16. A Testament of Hope by Martin Luther King Jr.
17. Prejudice and Racism by James M. Jones
20. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
21. All About Love by Bell Hooks
23. Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin
25. There Will Be No Miracles Here by Casey Gerald
26. Paradise by Toni Morrison
32. Prophetic Lament: A Call for Justice in Troubled Times by Dr. Soong-Chan Rah
33. Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America by Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith
34. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
35. The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein
39. Beloved by Toni Morrison
ARTICLE + WEBSITES
2. White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh
4. Goodgooodgood.co Anti-racism resources compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein
5. Buzzfeed’s An Essential Reading Guide for Fighting Racism by Arianna Rebolini
6. 1619 Project (NY Times) – an article series on the history and legacy of slavery in America (also a podcast below). There is a book project in the works to expand on what they’ve started.
7. The America We Need (NY Times) – a NYT Opinion series that touches on justice in the midst of the pandemic.
8. “Walking While Black” by Garnette Cadogan
2. Pastor Carl Lentz: I said, “Black Lives Matter”
3. Dr. Robin DiAngelo’s talk on White Fragility at the University of Washington
4. How to Deconstruct Racism One Headline at a Time, TEDtalk, Baratunde Thurston
5. How Racism Makes Us Sick, TEDtalk, David R. Williams
6. Racial Reconciliation, Latasha Morrison’s sermon, National Community Church
8. Jon Tyson and David Bailey, class, race, reconciliation, and the Kingdom of God
9. Becoming Brave: Reconciliation Rooted in Prayer – “why do we need the church?” by Rev. Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil
Movies to watch on Netflix:
2. American Son
Movies to watch on Hulu:
Movies to rent:
5. Just Mercy
Listen to these podcasts:
11. Why Tho
The Refined Collective episodes on race:
People to follow:
You don’t have to read all 44 books in one day. You don’t have to start a non-profit. BUT YOU DO HAVE TO DO SOMETHING. I have not read every single one of these resources, but am making my way through them one by one. I am with you on the journey.
What are you committed to?
How are you going to ensure that you are no longer silent?
It’s time for white people to do something.
We are co-creators with God; it’s time to get to work.