Justice: Week 1 Summary

Justice: Week 1

Summary: Sunday, June 10-Friday, June 15, 2018

Jesus is a visible incarnation of the union between human and divine, matter and spirit. He models inclusive, nondual, compassionate thinking and being. (Sunday)

We must work to dismantle systems of oppression while at the same time honoring our differences and celebrating our oneness! This takes a great deal of spiritual maturity. (Monday)

Only mutual apology, healing, and forgiveness offer a sustainable future for humanity. Otherwise, we are controlled by the past, individually and corporately. (Tuesday)

If you want peace, work for justice. —Pope Paul VI (Wednesday)

We must imagine what God’s peace and justice look like on this earth, and we must begin the work of crafting structures, institutions, human realities that are the antithesis to division, hate, greed and scarcity, that anticipate and cultivate justice and goodness and peace. —Jack Jezreel (Thursday)

Our brokenness is also the source of our common humanity, the basis for our shared search for comfort, meaning, and healing. Our shared vulnerability and imperfection nurtures and sustains our capacity for compassion. —Bryan Stevenson (Friday)

 

Practice: Truth and Reconciliation

Forgiveness and restorative justice do not mean that we forget wrongs. On the contrary, as I shared earlier this week, for the healing of both the perpetrator and the victim we need to expose the truth and hold those responsible accountable. This honesty is important for individuals as well as organizations, churches, and countries.

I hope one day that the United States will embark on its own Truth and Reconciliation Commission as South Africa, Canada, and other countries have done. We have a great deal to acknowledge, repent of, offer reparations for, and seek restoration for, including the genocide of Native peoples, centuries of slavery, the internment of Japanese Americans, and current injustices such as mass incarceration and police violence.

The new National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, is doing just this for “racial terror lynchings.” The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) researched and designed this public commemoration of “more than 4,400 African American men, women, and children [who] were hanged, burned alive, shot, drowned, and beaten to death by white mobs between 1877 and 1950.” These lynchings were mostly ignored by state and federal leaders. They “inflicted deep traumatic and psychological wounds on survivors, witnesses, family members, and the entire African American community” and caused six million black people to flee the South. Today there are 800 six-feet-tall hanging steel monuments, one for each county where lynching took place, with the names of the victims engraved on them.

EJI Executive Director, Bryan Stevenson, says:

Our nation’s history of racial injustice casts a shadow across the American landscape. This shadow cannot be lifted until we shine the light of truth on the destructive violence that shaped our nation, traumatized people of color, and compromised our commitment to the rule of law and to equal justice.

The museum and memorial “are designed to promote a more hopeful commitment to racial equality and just treatment of all people.” [1]

For your contemplative practice today, I invite you to watch this short video with a heart open to the suffering of our brothers and sisters.

Watch the video, “Why Build a Lynching Memorial?” below.

To take your learning and experience deeper, explore the museum and memorial online—or in person, if you have the opportunity. Click here to learn more and meditate on the images and stories. What response does this call forth in your heart, mind, and body?

Reference:
[1] The Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, https://museumandmemorial.eji.org/.

For Further Study:
Just Faith Ministries, justfaith.org

Richard Rohr, Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps (Franciscan Media: 2011)

Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Spiegel and Gau: 2015)

Image credit: Memorial Corridor at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice (detail), Montgomery, Alabama (800 six-feet-tall hanging steel monuments, one for each county where a lynching took place, with the names of the victims engraved on them).
Inspiration for this week’s banner image:
Our nation’s history of racial injustice casts a shadow across the American landscape. This shadow cannot be lifted until we shine the light of truth on the destructive violence that shaped our nation, traumatized people of color, and compromised our commitment to the rule of law and to equal justice. —Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director, The Equal Justice Initiative

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