By Conference Minsister Diane Weible.
There are moments in time that cause us to pause. These moments are such that we feel deeply that this is our chance; our opportunity. They are moments that will not let us go and moments of which we should not let go.
The verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the man who murdered George Floyd almost a year ago, is one such moment. As I watched the news and read the emails and texts I received at the time the verdict was read, there were so many emotions and thoughts shared, word ranging from relief to “we must not let this moment be the end; the work must continue.”
The other night I was listening to an On Being podcast of Krista Tippett speaking to Resmaa Menakem about his book My Grandmother’s Hands. At one point in the conversation, he stopped her because apparently, her body language changed as they were talking. He noticed it and he asked her what she was feeling in her body. He then told her that it was important for us to pay attention to what is going on in our body when having conversations about race, especially when something we hear or say causes us to tense or otherwise react.
I thought of my own body. When I have hard conversations, what is going on with me? If my body tenses, am I able to lean in? What does it say about what I am feeling and thinking in that moment? Our bodies carry so much more than we understand. Paying attention to what that allows us to understand something about how race has seeped into our entire being. Regardless of skin color, each one of us carries the harm of racism and white supremacy so prevalent in our society.
I have been thinking about this all week. Racism and white supremacy have cost me dearly. I can speak about how much I don’t understand and have yet to learn. I can speak about the shame and guilt I carry. I can speak about my fear of hurting or offending another. I can speak about the cost of being expected to maintain the parameters of white privilege. I can speak about the times I want to scream for racism to just stop.
I am reading the book, Damaged Heritage, and that has me thinking about the damage that white supremacy has created in my own heritage. I’ve begun to do some thinking and writing about what I know about my history (and look forward to beginning to dive into what I do not yet know and have been afraid to confront).
I apologize for the rambling thoughts and feelings that I carry this week in my writing. It is a moment that requires a lot of self-reflection and I thank you for allowing me to think aloud. The work continues. My work continues. Our work continues. Let us not lose this moment.