Lean In…And Get Uncomfortable

As I scroll through social media and watch the news, I see a lot of pain and injustice in the African American community. I see my brothers and sisters hurting. It breaks my heart. At times it can seem overwhelming. I asked myself, how in the world can I make a difference? Can anybody relate? Even though I cannot do everything, I can do something. So, I have decided I will continue to stand up and do everything I can to help end racism in America. I will continue to lean in..,and get uncomfortable.

I will continue have real conversations about racism in America, with people wanting to truly make a difference in this world. Not just talk about the issues, but take real action. I will surround myself with others who want to fight the sin of racism. I will continue to get educated. I will continue to listen to my brothers and sisters of color, as they share their experiences. I will lean in..,and get uncomfortable. I will continue to take the time to see the pain of my brothers and sisters of color. I will not pass them by with a “I’ll pray for you.” No, I will stop and pray for them in that moment. I will not allow my brothers and sisters to walk through this unjust world alone. I will lean in…and get uncomfortable. I will continue to have uncomfortable conversations with my white brothers and sisters who believe racism is not a major problem in America today (That is a whole other blog). I will proudly stand up and say #Black Lives Matter. I will continue to challenge my white brothers and sisters to step out of their comfort zones, and sit down with people of color and truly listen to their life experiences. I will encourage them to study African American history and visit African American museums. I will continue to confront racism when I see it. I will continue to speak out against injustices even when it’s not popular. I will lean in…and get uncomfortable. I encourage you to join me. ~OC

Monuments of Hate

Lately, as I watch the news or scroll through social media, I see some people are upset about some monuments being taken down. I hear people making the argument that people are trying to erase our history in America. Especially Southern history. Let me share a little about the history of Southern monuments.

Most people think these Confederate monuments have been around since the end of the Civil War in 1865. This is not the case. The vast majority of these monuments were built between 1895 and the 1950s. Why were so many Confederate monuments built during this time period? Well, it had nothing to do with celebrating these dead soldiers. No, the building of these monuments had more to do with hate and intimidation. Let me give you a little history lesson.

1895-1915: Jim Crow laws are alive and well during this time period. There is a resurgence of the KKK and other white supremacy groups. A large number of Confederate monuments are built during this time.

1915-1955- Jim Crow continues to rule throughout the South.

1955-1970- The Civil Rights Movement kicks into high gear with the Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education decision. In the South, racist groups begin a reign of terror against African Americans and start erecting Confederate monuments again. The motivation was to continue terrorizing African Americans. Most of these monuments were placed in the middle of town and at courthouses.

So, when I hear my fellow Southerners complaining about “Our” history being washed away with these monuments being taken down, I wonder if you truly know the history behind these monuments. These monuments are not about history. These monuments are about hate. That is not the kind of history I want to celebrate.

Here is another history lesson for you. If you travel to Germany, you will not find monuments celebrating Hitler. If you travel to South Africa, you will not find monuments celebrating Apartheid. You will find museums remembering the victims of these horrible crimes.

Let me share one last thing. I do not believe people should be destroying these monuments. That’s just dangerous. Someone could get hurt. I think these monuments should be taken down by city workers and discarded. We need to stop celebrating a history of hate and intimidation. Those were not the good old days. ~OC

When The Media Leaves

Today’s a new day! Here are some question for the Church and the Nation:

*When the media leaves Minneapolis, will you still be standing up and speaking out for the rights of our brothers and sisters of color?

*Will you still be having conversations about racism and injustice in America?

*Will you remember all the African-American men and women, who were simply murdered because of the color of their skin?

*Will you just go back to regularly scheduled programming? ~OC

Justice For All

Today’s a new day! I will continue to pray this prayer and post on social media until there is justice for all in America. When a person of color cannot jog through a neighborhood without being killed, we all need to stand up and demand justice for all. If we care for justice, then we need to pray and speak out against all injustice.

Praying for my brothers and sisters of color. Praying that as you walk down the street, people will not clutch their purses or bags a little tighter. Praying as you visit a place of business, you will not be hassled. I pray if for some reason you’re pulled over by the police, you will be treated with respect. I am saddened that I have to pray this prayer every day for my brothers and sisters of color, but I will continue to lift this prayer up each day. I will continue to speak out against the injustices in this world. ~OC

I Will Stand Up. I Will Fight.

As I watch the news and scroll through social media, I see a lot of pain and injustice in the world. At times it can seem overwhelming. How in the world can I make a difference? Can anybody relate? Even though I cannot do everything, I can do something.

So, I have decided I will continue to stand up and do something. I will Fight.

I will continue have real conversations with other people wanting to truly make a difference in this world. Not just talk about the issues, but take some real action. I will surround myself with others who want to fight. I will continue to get educated. I will continue to listen.  I will Fight. 

I will continue to take the time to see the pain of others. I will not pass them by with a “I’ll pray for you.” No, I will stop and pray for them in that moment. I will not allow people to walk through their own crazy beautiful journey alone. I will Fight. 

I will continue to fight for the victims of human trafficking. I will continue to bring awareness to this horrible crime. I will continue to listen and learn. I will never believe I am an expert. I will continue to speak out. I will fight. 

I will continue to fight for civil rights. When I see injustice I will speak up. I will continue to listen and learn. I will take a stand even when it’s not popular. I will fight. 

I will continue to share my story and faith. God has blessed me with a story to tell. A story I must tell. I will never be ashamed to proclaim Jesus as my Savior. I will continue to respect the faith of others. I will fight. 

I know some of the things I believe in and stand up for are not popular with everyone. That’s okay. I gave up trying to be popular a long time ago. I am more concerned about living a life that is pleasing to God. Living a life of service. I will continue to Fight. ~OC

400 Years After 1619

In 1619, slavery came to America. In December 1865, the 13th Amendment abolished slavery in America. In 1964, the Civil Rights Act was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson. In 2008, America elected the first African-American President with the election of Barack Obama. America has come a long way in the 400 years since 1619. But have we come far enough? Yes, this post is about racism in America. For those of you tired of me writing about racism in America, you can skip over this post if you would like. But I hope you don’t.

When most of us think about racism in America, we think about the days of slavery. We think about the 1960’s and the Civil Rights Movement. A lot of people think racism ended with the passage of the Civil Rights Act. I wish that was the case. Sadly it’s not. In 2019, racism is sadly still alive and well in America. Let’s take a look.

In 2019, hate groups are on the rise in America. The latest report shows there are 1,020 active hate groups in America.

In 2019, some police officers are still stopping African-Americans for simply driving while black.

In 2019, people of color are still followed by some business owners when they enter a store.

In 2019, African-Americans are still held at gunpoint by some white people for simply being black. Even when that African-American is a police officer

In 2019, some white people still call the police on Africa-Americans for simply living life.

So how can we take steps to improve race relations in America? Here are some suggestions.

Do not be afraid to have conversations about racism in America.

Stand Up against racism when you see or hear it. Don’t be Silent.

Make sure your place of worship is have real conversations about race.

Visit and invest in African-American owned businesses.

Know your history. Visit African-American museums and civil rights site.

Pray. Ask God what you can do to help improve race relations in America.

These are just a few suggestions. Feel free to share and implement your own ideas. We have to continue having these conversations. Silence is not an option. At least not for me. ~OC

Who Was Mr. Emmett Till?

This week, a lot of Americans heard the name Emmett Till for the first time. The reason Mr. Till’s story came back into the news was because racism is still alive in America. For those who may have missed the story, three Ole Miss University frat boys decided to post a picture of themselves along with their guns beside a monument in honor of Emmett Till. So, who Was Mr. Emmett Till?

Emmett Till was born on July 25, 1941 in Chicago, Illinois. In 1955, he was visiting family in Mississippi. During that visit, Mr. Till was accused of whistling at a white women. Oh, did I mention Mr. Till was a 14-year old African-America boy, being accused of whistling at a white women in Mississippi during the 1950’s? What was the punishment for this so called crime? Mr. Till, a 14-year old boy on vacation was lynched by two white men.

During the 1955 farce of a trial, the two white men accused of this horrific crime Roy Bryant and J.W. Milan were found not guilty by an all white jury. In 1956, the two men acquitted of the crime admitted publicly they had killed Mr. Till, but were protected by double jeopardy. Also decades later Carol Bryant, the white women who had accused Mr. Till of whistling at her admitted she made up the whole story.

Why am I sharing Emmett Till’s story in 2019? Because it is part of our history that should never be forgotten. Even though things have improved in America, we still have a long ways to go. I think the photo of the three white frat boys standing next to Mr. Till’s memorial proves that fact. Or the story of the white woman in North Carolina who defended herself for calling an African-American woman the “N Word.”. That is why I will continue to be a voice against racism.

Emmett Till would have turned 78 this week. What would he have accomplished in life? Maybe he would have become a doctor, lawyer or teacher. Maybe he would be a grandfather today, enjoying his grandchildren. Sadly, Mr. Till never had the opportunity to “Maybe” see any of these things. His young life was taken way too soon based on a lie and hate.

You may have noticed, I referred to Emmett Till has Mr. Till during this blog post even though he was only a child when he was murdered. I did that out of respect for Mr. Till and his family. Oh, how I wish that young 14-year old boy would have had the opportunity to become Mr. Till. ~OC

Criticizing America is Not a Sin

Over the last week or so, there has been a lot of debate about criticizing America. Some people believe if you criticize America and it’s leaders you should pack up and leave the country. Others, like myself believe it is healthy to discuss the warts of America. That does not mean we do not love America. Actually, it shows that we really love this nation.

America was built on people having the right to share their concerns about this beautiful country. These debates have shaped this nation. Let’s take a look at some of those debates.

Women’s Suffrage. In 2020, we will celebrate 100 years since the ratification of the 19th Amendment. This gave women the right to vote. Did you catch that date? Women have only had the right to vote for 99 years. The brave women of the Suffrage Movement were criticized for criticizing the way things were being done in America. Can you imagine the Sunday dinner conversations? But those brave souls did not pack up and leave America. No, they pushed forward until the 19th Amendment was ratified and signed on August 18, 1920.

End of Slavery. Who can forget we actually fought a war against each other over this terrible part of American history. Imagine if some very brave people would have stayed silent and not criticized America about the sin of slavery. We would never have seen the passage of the 13th Amendment which was ratified and signed on December 18, 1865.

Civil Rights Act. For some this seems so long ago, but this landmark act was signed on July 2, 1964. That was only 55 years ago. Some people reading this were alive during this turbulent time in America’s history. Some were on the right side of history, while others fought to hold on to the terrible past of America. The brave souls of the Civil Rights Movement were criticized for wanting to make America a better place for all. Some gave their lives for that freedom. What if they would had stayed silent? Where would we be as a nation?

I could go on and on with examples of how America was changed for the better by people who criticized her. Think about all those people involved in the examples above. Today, we celebrate them. But during those struggles, those same people were being beaten and killed for speaking up. So before you pass judgement on those brave enough to criticize America, remember America was built on people criticizing her. Oh, by the way, criticizing America is not a sin. It is a right that many have died for. A right we should continue to fight for. ~OC

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