Last month in my Minister’s Message I asked the question, “Shall We Dare?”
On January 26th, in the middle of the week, on a weekday, no less, fourteen brave souls did just that. We gathered in the home of Jan Oswald, together, vaccinated, and masked, appropriately distanced, minds and hearts open. We were present together to face ourselves in this time of tumult to ponder “Racial Justice and Collective Liberation, so was the workshop entitled. We were led by Chris Crass, sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Justice of Arizona (UUJAZ.) Chris challenged us with queries and questions like; what does it mean to be Anti-Racist? What role has or does racism play in our daily lives.? What does Collective Liberation mean and what does it look like? The words of W.E.B. Dubois come to my mind; “Now is the accepted time, not tomorrow, not some more convenient season. It is today that our best work can be done and not some future day or future year.”
Nothing beats now!
What does it mean to be color-blind, to not see race, now? Why does referring to people by their chosen gender bother some of us, now? What does it feel like to know that I may have been robbed by not knowing the culture of others, now? How has humanity been defined then and now? Who and what has been accepted as normal, as the only way to be, now?
We heard stories of love and marriage across racial lines, and laws that were in place to forbid such a sacrilege. Stories of betrayal and stories of be the Beloved Community that we seek. James Baldwin said,” Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
I am proud of, and grateful for the folks who showed up to face themselves, ourselves, and our future selves. Feeling the pull of something larger than us, that I know is inside all of us.
So, was it a weekday? I say, no it was not a weekday, or a weak day, I say, it was in fact, a strong beginning?
And so, I wrote a poem about it…
Rev. Anthony Mtuaswa Johnson