Below is something written by an acquaintance of mine, Donna Simone Johnson. I felt it was compelling and wanted to share. As a white, middle class woman living in Orange County, it is very easy for me to simply not think the Michael Brown case. But I believe the case and the events that are unfolding have major implications for the future of our country. It’s an issue we should all be thinking about, praying about, talking about, doing something about.
“”Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”
This is about all of us, no matter where you live or who you are. We all have dogs in this fight, and it’s really as simple as being for us or against us. I still cannot fathom how some of you have stayed silent these last 3 1/2 months. What a luxury. What privilege. Faith without works is dead. Love without action is meaningless. I stand, scream and rage because it’s the RIGHTeous thing to do. No Justice, No Peace.”
I really don’t know what I can do about this issue except to use it as a teaching tool for the Teen and the Tot. I can’t change laws, put camera’s on cops, stop the violence in Ferguson, speak at a rally, or hold the hand of Michael Brown’s mother*. But if I can help raise two more decent people, people who will stand for the oppressed and fight for what’s right and, most importantly, follow the except of Jesus Christ, then Michael Brown’s death has not been in vain.
Remind them to be respectful of everyone they come in contact with. This doesn’t mean they have to be friends with everyone, or that they have to agree with everyone, or that they have to like everyone. But they must be respectful. That means no name calling, no violation of property, no bodily harm. It also means speaking out when you see someone disrespecting someone else. This one is hard for me, I hate confrontation. But the Teen is so good about this, she isn’t afraid to vocally and physically stick up for the oppressed. I hope the Tot learns from her.
Challenge their prejudices. Everyone has prejudices. It’s how we learn. We put things into categories so that we can make sense of the world. Right now, my tot thinks all four legged creatures are dogs. But soon he will learn that there are also cats, rabbits, iguanas, wolves, lions, etc. As we grow older, our prejudices should become weaker. As we visit more places, talk to more people and experience new things those boxes that we put people into should start to crumble. So as the teen and the tot grow, I will constantly challenge those prejudices and show them people instead of categories.
Work with them against prejudice. I read something the other day, I think it was a quote, that said being prejudice, specifically racially prejudice, was easy. It’s the easiest thing in the world to judge another human simply by their skin color. And it’s true. But it’s not okay. So as I continue to work against my own prejudices, I will help the teen and the tot work against theirs. I will challenge them to ask questions, listen to people’s stories, extend grace, reserve judgement.
Continuously point them to Jesus. He’s the only constant, the only truth, the only example of true goodness and justice.
*If you know of others ways I can be involved in fighting for this issue, let me know!