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 having 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

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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