February is Black History Month and the theme of Aquarius this month is “Namaste”.
So this month I’ll try to join these two themes and make a heavy request of folks who cling to something that’s bigger than us (Allah, God, or some other Great Thing). Here are five practical ways that you (and I) may be able to recognize the spark of divinity and humanity within our brothers and sisters without squashing it out.
1. Speak up. Our black brothers and sisters have undergone generations of political and social discrimination. Yet there are well meaning, spiritual, and good humans who refuse to admit that things like white privilege still exist. This refusal to acknowledge this discrimination isn’t founded in hate or racism. It’s founded in ignorance. It’s not a purposeful ignorance most of the time but it is ignorance. White folks who have the voice and privilege have to sacrifice this privilege and side with our oppressed brothers and sisters. We have to for the sake of our own souls. Those of us who are not blind to our own privilege have to forsake that privilege.
2. Ever the contrarian, I say the second thing we must do is to shut up when the voice of the oppressed is speaking. I don’t deal with the discrimination my brothers and sisters face, therefore I am not the BEST person to speak about it.
Don’t crowd out their voices.
3. Go to rallies and marches. Be politically active and more than on social media. Literally stand in solidarity with your brothers and sisters in the face of injustice.
4. Read the book “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander to learn about sentencing disparities and the hard truth about discrimination in our court system.
5. Educate yourself. Listen to the voices of our black brothers and sisters. Listen to the pain in their voices when they talk about their encounters with police persons. Pay attention when the parents of black kids are worried their kids are the next Trayvon Martin or the next Mike Brown.
Whatever light you hold onto in this world, hold onto it tightly. Change is coming. We live in the era of unveiling and progress. Darkness is being brought to light by the prophets of our generation. Recognize the divine spark in all of our brothers and sisters, even those who we feel may be the enemy.
Terry Cranford-Smith is a writer, pastor, preacher, and Misfit in the way of Jesus. Terry is renowned for posting controversial Facebook posts, taking pictures of his dog, and loving his wife, Bec. You can find him involved in the Wild Goose Festival, Moral Monday, and Church of the Misfits