I am exhausted.
Yesterday was, well, you know, there are no words.
Today I am a jumble of unrealized adrenaline alternatively causing tears and shaking and I really want to DO something or SAY something to make it better.
Here’s the thing. There is no one thing we can do or say to make this better. I know I am usually here to bring hope, and I AM still hopeful, but today is hard.
The protest yesterday was expected. What shocked me about yesterday was not that the protest happened, but that it was not stopped.
Protesters walked into the US Capitol causing a threat to the line of succession of our elected leaders and nobody stopped them.
I don’t want to compare yesterday to this summer’s Black Lives Matters protests, but after watching white people casually walking through the Capitol building after breaking through the barrier, I have to.
Over the summer, protestors were met with police in riot gear, tear gas, and force. Yesterday? Almost nothing.
I have never been so certain that we have a racism problem in this country.
So, what next? What can we DO?
Here is where the hope comes in. Admittedly, I am late to this party, as most white people I know are. What I do know, though, is that black women and men have been dealing with racism their entire lives and they have so much to teach us. Now is the time to listen and support them. Our faith demands it. As Gloria Purvis, one of my favorite American black Catholic leaders, says, “Racism makes a liar of God.”
We have work to do, but today I am going to ask you to sit back, listen, and support those already heavily engaged in anti-racist work. Pick up one of the many books on racism that have been highlighted this year (Caste by Isabel Wilkerson is my favorite). Listen to podcasts on how racism affects our politics and our lives (Stacey Abrams’ interviews are perfection). Find people to follow who are digging into racism and faith (Gloria Purvis gave an interview to the New York Times in August — go read it).
Most importantly, please please please do not deny racism exists in this country. We saw it in action yesterday. In order to eradicate something, we must first acknowledge its presence. Only then can we act with purpose and with faith.
Light a candle today, read scripture, pray, and listen to the voices of God’s people as they call out to us for help. I love you all and I hope you are safe.