…and Justice for All

When you see me, who do you see? A Black face?

Someone who evokes rage or fright,

Undeserving mercy, grace?

 

When you see me, who do you see? Blind and white

and deaf; loath to step into shoes

of your pain, color, grief or plight?

 

When you see me, when will you see that I am

a child of God blessed by the Lamb?

ruby_bridges_w_marshals

I have been rocked back and forth this year by the violence in our country over race relations and a serious lack of understanding, grace and communication between us all. To be frank, it reminds me of another decade.

In the 1960s we faced a country horribly divided by racial tension. We watched in revulsion scenes on our televisions of federal marshals escorting young, black children into white schools for the first time while being spat upon by angry white housewives.

We saw Black folks being attacked by dogs and fire houses, arrested for sitting at a lunch counter, and heard about the murders of three young civil rights workers. And at the end of 1964, the first Civil Rights Acts passed, which outlawed discrimination in voting and segregation in schools, at work and in places that served the public.

In 1968 we watched the Freedom March – a five-day walk from Montgomery to Selma, Alabama where thousands of non-violent demonstrators of all races faiths walked to the steps of the capitol building. State troopers attacked the unarmed marchers with tear gas and billy clubs. We mourned the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and two months later of Bobby Kennedy. The second Civil Rights Act was passed which outlawed discrimination in housing.

I cannot, even now, get those images out of my mind when I see Black men shot down by police or when I view disturbing videos of police officers clearly out of control. And I don’t understand if just and righteous police officers can wound and capture a terrorist in New Jersey, why it’s not possible, with 3-5 officers present, arrest a man of color without a fatality – particularly those who are unarmed, who have their hands in the air or who are already on the ground.

We need the courage to have public discussions because this is not about one man or woman – a possible offender or a survivor of racism or a police officer. It is about our justice system which does not apply the same justice toward all.

I reached out to my friend Lilka Raphael, a sister in Christ, to ask if she would engage in this discussion with me. Because while I can sympathize and step into her pain and frustration for moments in time, she lives it every day. Because Lilka is a Black woman with a Black husband and two sons for whom she worries each time they walk out the door. And she said, “Yes.”

So beginning next Friday, Lilka and I will begin to write letters to each other, begin to ask and answer questions, begin to talk openly about our own perspectives, our responses, and our hope. Because we each derive hope through Christ, and we each see all our brothers and sisters as clay molded in love by our gracious Creator.

We pray you will look forward to our letters, read them, and engage with us in conversation to create healing and reconciliation in this online community and in your own communities.

In love and prayer,

Susan Irene Fox and Lilka Raphael

About Susan Irene Fox

Jesus follower, peacemaker, unfinished human. Body: over 60; Reborn: August, 2006. Writing devotional workbooks for new believers. Dedicated to using God's grace and unconditional love to bring people into God's embrace.

40 Responses

  1. Love this idea! A favorite book of mine is “Letters across the Divide”.
    I think so many people will be able to benefit from peaking in on your conversation with a friend to see how people can really talk about these matters.

    Like

  2. In the 60’s, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” Even among the hatred and injustice during the desegregation era, he saw hope for our future. The quote comes from a long tradition of thinkers agreeing on this principle, overall, things are getting better.

    I’m curious about what you think?

    Like

    1. Hey there Jason,

      Thanks so much for joining the conversation! As a whole, I most definitely agree relations have improved. We have a black president, elected twice, minorities have more opportunities than ever.

      However, in the past few years it looks like we are going backwards. Blacks have an increasing fear of their loved ones being stopped or accosted for no reason, the likes of which we haven’t seen (in most places) in decades.

      I think racial tensions are a reflection of larger issues in our society. So, have we made gains, most definitely. Are we going back in time with some cops exercising their authority with deadly consequences? Looks like it.

      I can believe we will eventually bend toward justice, but how many people will be injured before we get there?

      Thanks for joining our conversation. The next installment will post here and on SusanIreneFox.com Friday 11/4. We would love to have you join us

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Susan and Lilka,
    Yes, I look forward to your letters and the discussion that will follow. Hopefully your letters and the discussions that follow may encourage more understanding and empathy. I’m a follower of Christ with a special interest in the topic. I was a newspaper reporter and our newspaper office was next door to the Edmond Pettus bridge in Selma. In fact, I wrote the obituary for Wilson Baker, the Dallas County Sheriff who supervised the law enforcement troops during the Selma to Montgomery march. I will pray for this effort you’re generating. God bless.

    Like

      1. I’m following you now, so I ought to get it. Interesting that you reblogged BBB’s post,”What’s in a name?” I’m re-blogging it with a brief bio of Caralyn tomorrow on For His Glory. Small world. Powerful post.

        Like

    1. It is one of those hard subjects most people will avoid at all costs but as Christians we are commanded to love our brother even when our brothers (and sisters) don’t look like us. Thanks for joining the conversation. Much love to you guys!

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      1. Hi Susan, sorry for the delayed reply. I respect your desire to move people in this direction, and Lilka is a wonderful choice as a partner in this effort!

        Love works to open all sorts of doors, as love comes from God. Love IS God!

        I wish you two the best in your efforts to unite people in one positive and encouraging direction!

        Steve

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Steve! I’m hoping our letters bring about sincere conversation not just on our sites but throughout our WP family. So many people know aren’t willing to listen to another point of view especially during these tense times and insane election. I’m hoping you will add your input as as well. As always, thanks for the encouragement!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for the invite to participate. I am open to the idea that we need to make changes in our diverse, multi-cultural society. The problem in my opinion is that everyone is so quick to speak their minds as though they feel their freedoms are a license to run others over!

        There is a rush to judgment in so many cases. The bible teaches us to be slow to speak and slow to anger. The world says the opposite. We need to act and react quickly even when we don’t have all the facts in a situation.

        There is bad in every group to some extent. There has always been bad in the world. But there is good as well. We must slow things down and do a little “give and take” here. We need an exchange of ideas in conversation but how do we arrive at that place?

        I suppose we just continue to try to reach that goal through reasoning and conversing, along with a whole lot of prayer!

        If things are to change for the better, it must be through a Godly manner and be His will that it happen…

        Steve

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You are right, we need to continue to communicate in ways which are effective in getting our points across. And, in addition to that, we need to be able to listen and react in an equally effective manner. This takes a good bit of work and willingness on everyone’s part.

        Like

      3. You are quite correct, Steve, especially on that “rush to judge.” There is bad in every group and unfortunately the bad is over represented throughout our media outlets. I think the willingness to listen is key to finding common ground. Thanks so much for weighing in on this and coming along for the ride.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the sons of God.”… (Mat.5-9)

        We strive to find common ground because we want positive change. If we can accomplish it, we are better off for it. Even so, it feels like an uphill battle sometimes and requires the patience of God to keep going…

        I just hope I can help the peace process in some way.

        🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      5. This is very true. But as I was just telling another reader, we have many people who just don’t “get it.” They don’t have the love of Jesus in their hearts and aren’t seeking it. This makes the job of peacemaker even more difficult. But we fight on with prayer and resolve…

        Steve

        Like

  4. I will look for the letters with interest.
    But just so you know MY perspective: I can’t understand where these turmoils come from…..
    Black, white, yellow, red, brown….
    YOU’RE People, I’M People, THEY’RE People.. too….

    alll made in GOD’s image and “precious”, “paid for by Jesus’ sacrifice” and “eternal”!!!! Hugs!! ❤

    Like

    1. Unfortunately Rhonda many do not share your view. Our nation is steeped in history, a lot of it ugly that has only caused racism to fester and give way to crazed emotions and deadly consequences. We are indeed all made in God’s image but many refuse to see their “brother” as such. I’m so glad you are willing to join us on the journey.

      Like

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