Elspeth Muzzin is a former camper and summer staffer, currently serving LWM as a members of our Bridge Builders Planning Team and as the LWM social media manager. During these times of racial oppression at the hands of white supremacy, we lift her words up this week. Her closing words include, “Doing the work to make marginalized voices heard and make marginalized people feel safe is a beautiful way of spreading Christ-like love.” This Christ-like love, as Elspeth puts it, is at the core of how we try to live out our faith at Living Water Ministries. It is our prayer that these words this week will challenge you, inspire you, and bless you.
As a Detroit resident, my mind has been racing. Is my pride for a city being rebuilt at odds with the expressions of anger, grief, and protest of the Black community? Does claiming my title as a Detroit resident allow me to remain complicit? What are the implications of my ability to leave the city whenever I feel like I need more support? Am I welcome to protest in Detroit?
As a future antiracism educator, my mind has been racing. What actions are performative and what actions are spreading awareness? Am I gatekeeping advocacy or am I calling for it to be done with cultural competency? Will anyone actually read the books I recommend? How do we teach critical race consciousness to the masses? Is it my place to teach antiracism at all?
As a non-Black person of color, my mind has been racing. What privileges am I afforded due to my lighter complexion? Why have I let myself subscribe to the “model minority” myth? Is my urge to protest driven by a desire to rid myself of guilt? Why have I let myself remain complicit under the title of “person of color”?
As much as my mind has been racing, the brutal truth is that the unrest in our country today is not a thought experiment; it is and has been the reality of Black Americans since the inception of the nation. The historic trauma of chattel slavery, Jim Crow, and mass incarceration is not merely a theoretical discussion. It is real pain. It is real fear. Let us put ourselves in our Black siblings’ shoes and understand that they do not have the privilege to turn these racing thoughts off.
John 13:34 says, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Our God shows us love that is neverending. The work we need to do to make the world reflect the Kingdom of God is an ongoing process as well. There is no checklist to follow to solve racism. I charge those of you who are reading this blog post to commit to unraveling your biases with an open heart. To listen to and learn from Black folks’ experiences. To have uncomfortable conversations with people close to you. To continue standing up for justice even when social justice is not trending anymore. Doing the work to make marginalized voices heard and make marginalized people feel safe is a beautiful way of spreading Christ-like love.