Thursday, December 11, 2014

Reflection for Thursday, December 11, 2014

Thursday of the Second Week of Advent
IS 41: 13-20
PS 145: 1 AND 9, 10-11, 12-13AB
MT 11: 11-15

On the night of October 12, a mere four days after the death of VonDerrit Myers, Jr., I marched from the Shaw neighborhood to SLU, following in faith the leaders of the march. This march turned into Occupy SLU, a weeklong movement that both uplifted me and challenged me in many ways. Throughout the week, I was amazed at the strong love and hard prejudice with which I came into contact. It was heartbreaking to hear the things that my classmates and peers said that reflected their biases as white people in America. Conversely, though, I felt such passion, courage, and love from my new friends that occupied the space around the clocktower. They professed their love for every person they came into contact with – even those that adamantly disagreed with them. They helped me to realize that this movement for justice is fundamentally about love, and loving each other.

I participated in Occupy SLU because I feel a need to participate in a discourse on our campus about racism and the unfair treatment of people of color. As a white person, other white people are more likely to listen to me than to listen to my peers of color. I am called to use this privilege to educate those around me about the reality faced by my friends and family of color in order to create a larger coalition of people fighting this injustice. I am so deeply grateful that Occupy SLU happened, as a call to encourage other SLU community members to join the fight for social and racial justice that is encompassing our city.

We have come a long way since that mid-October week. We have continued to resist an unjust system for people of color in America. We have cried together, organized, protested, and loved each other. Most of all, we have struggled together in this fight for justice. And the fight will continue as we move forward.

In today’s reading, we hear the Israelites seeking water in vain, thirsting for life. Much in the same way, black people in our country have taken to the streets for over 100 days, telling us to recognize their right to live. The Lord tells Israel that he will help; he will make them a threshing sledge, to thresh the mountains and crush them, and the wind will carry them off. So, too, will the Lord give us the tools we need to thresh the hills and mountains of oppression against African Americans that have been built by our ancestors for over 300 years. We must work, with overflowing love, as the hand of the Lord, and with her tools, to dismantle racism and help lead our peers, our families, and our country to recognize that black lives matter.

Emma Cunningham is a graduating senior studying Women’s & Gender Studies and French.

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