They say, “Life comes at you fast.” But, 2020 was the year that a global conversation on race came at us fast too. Despite our vision boards, we couldn’t see a pandemic and months at home coming. There was and is and will never be a mantra for this. The last time this happened was a hundred years ago and I would be happy to never see it again.
I also want never again to look at my phone to see a story that we see time and time again. The deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd inspired a summer of protest and more conversations on race and police brutality with calls to “defund police and refund the community.” We wanted to reimagine community and the reallocation of additional resources for social services was high on the list of demands.
Along with thousands of others, I marched in the streets of Washington, D.C. for nearly a month straight. I just couldn’t sit still or sit down to watch it play out on cable news. I needed to be there at Lafayette Square and in front of the White House. I didn’t want to just sit down and talk about it though The Wall Street Journal did get a quote from me. Still, I wanted to stand up and say their names over and over again. Large crowds of masked American citizens who would not be silent, we “put our bodies on the line.”
This is where we would draw the line.
Confederate statues were vandalized and forcibly removed because some people were tired of these sore war losers looking down on them and being glorified by a past that frankly doesn’t exist. Truth- telling was the aim while we witnessed the unprecedented presidency of Donald Trump who told lie after after lie after lie. We had to push back and we did, standing face- to- face with soldiers. I missed the tear- gas used on protesters so that Trump could have a photo opp with a Bible by about thirty minutes.
I sat on the steps of St. John’s Episcopal Church the next day in protest.
I wanted to embody the message, to stand in solidarity with others for justice. People gathered all around the world. Yes, it was historic but I also just wanted to be there for Breonna and Ahmaud and George and Jacob and Elijah and Sandra and Philando and LaQuan and Eric and Tamir. We learned yesterday that no officers will be charged in the shooting death of Tamir while two of the officers involved in the murder of Breonna Taylor will be fired.
We win some; we lose some. But hopefully, we live to protest another day. I continue to think through this raceless gospel every day.
Next year will mark ten years for the blog and I am thinking through ways in which to carry this message forward. The message has gained visibility through papers presented to the members of the Baptist World Alliance last year and the year before and via the Word & Way podcast with an interview with Brian Kaylor, now featured on the website. I have also increased my social media presence and you can follow me @racelessgopel on Twitter and racelessgospel on Instagram. I would like to be friends with you on Facebook and put a face with a name too.
After nearly seven years as an associate and then interim pastor, I began a Doctor of Ministry program at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. on community and transformational spirituality that is already contributing to the work and witness of the raceless gospel. I began creating visual art to explore and express racialized identity, which is featured on my social media platform as well as daily inspiration for a raceless life like “Live in your skin—not through it.” There are a couple of other projects in the works as well and I’ll be sure to keep you posted on their progress.
I definitely didn’t see all this coming down the pipe nearly ten years ago now. I just needed to write about race and its progeny. More than one thousand posts later, I still have so much more to say. Thank you for talking this out with me and walking this out with me. This has been a deeply meaningful leg of our shared journey.