Conversation with Constructive Catalyzing Consequences
Jarvis Ward / PEARSON Foundation; Citywide Catalyst
This is my response. This is my counsel.
This will make a lot more sense to those who know, by saving faith, Jesus Christ; perhaps not those who just know about him, or who do not want to know about him. But it is also for those who are willing to work with followers of Jesus Christ.
White servants of Jesus Christ/disciples/followers must take the initiative and must lead in this sacrificial and compassionate culture change for righteousness and justice while working closely with African Americans and other minorities.
Those white Christians will be willing to do it because they are walking with God, conscious of the fact that they are serving him, and that they and all that they have belongs to the Lord and they are willing to lay it all down for the purposes of righteousness and justice to the honor and glory of the God of righteousness and justice. Again, White Christians, servants of Jesus Christ, disciples, Christ-followers must take the lead.
They must leverage the privilege, influence, access, and opportunities this centuries old United States structure has afforded them to affect catalyzing culture change for African Americans resulting in racial and economic justice and reconciliation. White Christians must actively ask where are the people and the places that have been neglected and deprived of the resources: economic, health care, education, justice?
How can White Christians use their influence to apply the Zacchaeus principal to these people and places who suffer from racial and economic injustice?
Example: How different would it have been in the Twin-Cities and around the U.S., if 100 predominantly white congregations (immediately following the killing and other killing in the past) had reached out to 100 predominantly African-American, Somali, Hmong, and Hispanic congregations asking them to come join them in a process of peaceful and sustained protest and to develop and do a culture change plan for how to bring racial and economic justice throughout the twin-cities?
It did not happen. But it still can - Across the United States.
Racial and economic justice and reconciliation action steps and considerations:
1. White Christians must take the initiative to meet with African Americans and other ethnic and racial minorities and find out from them where the points of pain are, where the places of pain are, who are the people in pain and who and what are causing pain and trauma in their communities?
2. While meeting with African American, ask what they believe the solutions are to remove and heal the pain and trauma. (Take good detailed action step notes.)
3. As White Christians begin to act and engage, do an assessment of Who can you bring to the table, what can you bring to the table, when can you bring it to the table, how do you get it to the table, why would you bring it to the table to positively address the healing of the pain and trauma that can produce positive culture change, systemic change that can be sustained within the next 30 days, 90 days, six months, nine months and one year.
4. Actively look around your county or community and seek out the intersections of racial and economic injustice and identify what you and your network of relationships and resources can positively change.
5. White Christians, along with your African American neighbors, answer the questions as to why white structures “do not, have not”? Individually, ask yourself what can I do and then what can we do to affect positive culture change for racial and economic justice and reconciliation?
For example: In the city of Pearl we have never had an African American or ethnic minority hired as a department head. That has not been an accident. Why have all the positions been filled with “qualified people” in these departments “who look like all the other people in power”? Why do the sanitation workers sweep up trash that they spill when emptying in white neighborhoods and leave it in African American neighborhoods?
Why did the interstate have to go through the African American neighborhoods around the nation? Why did 95% of the federal and state monies for the last 75 years go to white communities and business development? Why have we prosecuted African American more severely than whites? Why have white Christians allowed prosecutors to build their careers and political ambitions on this evil and unjust action and practice? Why have white Christians allowed leaders in their neighborhoods and congregations to go unchecked, unrebuked, and unprosecuted for racial and economic injustice?
Where are there medical/health and hospital inadequacies in your city, county, or state that you can leverage your influence, access, privilege, and power to positively improve the health resources for the least and the left out? There are a lot more “why questions” that white Christians need to ask and answer “WHILE” at the same time working actively to advance racial and economic justice and reconciliation.
6. When the politicians you support (that is your right) because they advocate the things that you support, when they begin to do things that are not right and are unjust and that you do not support, you must actively and audibly speak out, act out, confront, challenge and change based on biblical righteousness and justice. Have you? Do you?
7. It is commendable that there are white Christians who did advance racial and economic justice and reconciliation 25+ years ago. What are you doing now- today and what more can you do?
8. This is not the season to be a spectator. All of us must actively pray, care and share.
9. White Christians all agree that it is reasonable for all people to have safe neighborhoods with a police force that serves and protects; adequate health care and access; investing in adequate education; a justice and court system that do not prey on and oppress the poor and vulnerable; access to funding for economic development and expansion.
10. Some White Christians might say they do not know what to do. Give and or give more money, resources, and access to capacity-building to those community-based nonprofits, Christian community development groups that are filling the gaps created by racial and economic injustice
11. White Christians can initiate new economic engine models like some that took place 25 years ago where white Christian marketplace business owners took the initiative to help African American entrepreneurs start and expand businesses -Wow! What if out of your congregation, based on your size, some of members were to help start and or expand one to ten to twenty-five to even 100+ African American businesses by investing significant resources and capacity building, resulting in a replication process?
12. Just imagine during a defined period of time, perhaps in late June or early July, in ten thousand cities, communities and counties across the United States, hundreds and thousands of congregations mobilized (with predominately white congregations taking the lead) to converge on their court houses, police departments, Jails, prisons, City halls, State Capitols, Corporations & Businesses, Universities; Colleges, hospitals, Denomination/Religious Headquarters, News & Media Centers, Entertainment and Sports headquarters, etc. with specific detailed demands that compels elected and marketplace leaders to act and work together with the congregations and communities on immediate and sustained corrective actions. (Zacchaeus principal – where injustice has taken place and where benefits of injustice directly or indirectly, White Christians correct, taking the initiative to give much of what they must affect sustained culture change).
Now, what are you doing to advance racial and economic justice and reconciliation where you live, work, and play that you can share that others might borrow from and advance in their city, county, and state? Christ Followers: (John Chapter 12) “If anyone serves me, let him follow me, where I am my servant shall be also...”
Where is the Lord? He is helping and healing the hurting, those in pain and those in trauma impacted by generations of racial and economic injustice. Where are
Christ’s followers-of course, they would be with him doing the same.