Here is an article I wrote for the latest issue of my church newsletter. Crazy that we are in the 16th year!
Editor’s Corner, PCC Scroll, Volume XVI Issue II
It’s not about Me
There are times when it is very tempting to disengage from what is going on around me. There is this constant bombardment of information, be it from social media or the news. It is tempting to completely unplug, but I don’t have that luxury. In the end, my call is to help and minister to those who are marginalized and oppressed.
I invite you to read the following scriptures: James 1:27, Isaiah 1:17, Psalm 146:9, Deuteronomy 14:29, Isaiah 1:23, Psalm 82:3, Proverbs 31:9, and Jeremiah 22:3. This fight for social justice is not new, nor is it for ourselves. It is for those who society tends to forget about and those who society targets as scapegoats.
What strikes me is the strong level of selfishness and denial in our society. In fairness, this is not new either. People don’t want to hear truths that make them uncomfortable, but as a woman of color, I can tell you sexism and racism do exist. And if it makes you uncomfortable to hear about my experience, imagine how it feels to experience it.
People are willing to go along with social injustice when it doesn’t impact them. To some, because they don’t experience sexism and racism firsthand, they couldn’t possibly exist. This period reminds me of Protestant pastor Martin Niemoller’s poem “First They Came for the Socialists.”
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
What strikes me about the poem is that we continually go down the same path. We say, “Never again,” yet we find ourselves at the same crossroad over and over again. And many people, including people in the church, are willing to sit back in complacency because they are not impacted. I am a Christian not a Muslim, but I will fight against a Muslim registry. I will fight against any and all targeted racial and religious laws and bans.
And to be quite frank, as a person of color, I look at some people who I have considered friends and realize they won’t fight for me when “they” come for me. People are fine with not speaking out because they are enjoying their privilege and will continue to do so as long as events don’t impact them.
My mind moves to the parable of the Good Samaritan. It asked the question of who is your neighbor (I would add friend). The person who looks like you or is from the same place as you but can’t be bothered to help when you are in need, or the stranger/foreigner who comes to your aid.
It is time to get in the fight and speak against social injustice. Although there are many political “leaders” who I am not fans of, I have to remind myself that I am not fighting against them. I am fighting against a system created that thrives on injustice. I am fighting against this seemingly need to create “other” and “hierarchy.” I am fighting.