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Am I Next?

Contemplation and Racism

Am I Next?
Sunday, June 7, 2020

During this time of social unrest, I invite you to sit with the powerful and uncomfortable emotions, such as anger or grief, that you may be carrying. Welcome them in the presence of God. As I often say, if we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it. Tragically, we are witnessing the results of centuries of unresolved racial violence in our collective body today.

As a white man in the United States, I humbly begin this week’s meditations on “Contemplation and Racism” by sharing the words of a woman of color in our own CAC community. Leslye Colvin is one of our Living School students and a member of our Daily Meditations team. In our time of ongoing disorder, Leslye asks, “Am I Next”? 

Lord, have mercy.
George Floyd of Minnesota.
Your nation failed you.
Rest in God’s peace.
Kyrie eleison.

Christ, have mercy.
Breonna Taylor of Kentucky.
Your nation failed you.
Rest in God’s peace.
Christe eleison.

Lord, have mercy.
Ahmaud Arbery of Georgia.
Your nation failed you.
Rest in God’s peace.
Kyrie eleison.

Christ, have mercy.
Tony McDade of Florida.
Your nation failed you.
Rest in God’s peace.
Christe eleison.

Four people whom I never knew have been murdered. It is merely the tip of an iceberg. The details of each heinous act are so horrifically unjust that there is no sense to be made of them. Each of the four was victimized. Each of them was Black, but their race was not the cause of death. Each was murdered because of the systemic structures that endow white people with an unimaginable authority and privilege based on the perpetuation of lies. The onus is not on the victims but on the perpetrators and their oppressive and unjust systems.

There is also a realization that it could have been me. I could be laying cold and lifeless in the morgue because of a distorted perception of me rooted in lies. Maybe it will be me the next time—not because of who I am, but because of how you see me in relation to how you see yourself. What lies about me do you believe? What lies about yourself do you believe?

Reference:
“Am I Next,” Leslye Colvin, (June 2020). Used with permission.

Image credit: Red Azaleas Singing and Dancing Rock and Roll Music (detail), Alma Thomas, 1976, Smithsonian American Art Museum, bequest of the artist, 1980.36.2A-C, Washington, DC.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: The question is whether or not we will recognize our wounds and the source of our anger so that we can heal ourselves and others, and awaken to our potential to embody the beloved community. —Barbara Holmes
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