It is the same story again and again: a Black person was killed violently and racism appears to be at the root. Lavender flowers fall to mourn George Floyd. As they have fallen decade after decade before. For who? For those who die violently. For those who die needlessly. They cry “injustice” from their grave.
Same story. Years and years. Maybe it is new to you. Maybe it is old unfortunate news, like it is to me. But, either way, why is this story still repeating itself, like beautiful marbles forever falling from their jar among lavender petals?
Many of us hear so many narratives that we feel confused. We have to either ignore them or become the judge of them. And then we have to respond! That isn’t always easy. I don’t shame you if this is you.
And for those who feel like we can be fully behind an action, for years and years we’ve held (or tried) to hold those responsible accountable.
But in my opinion, this is backwards justice. Not wrong, but not full.
Retributive justice vs. “shalom” (an idea that means a peace so full a whole society is permeated by justice lived out). I’m not saying good can’t come out of accountability. (Learn more about types of justice here.) I am just saying the is more of a band-aid than getting to the root. It will not be enough to produce any change that not only keeps people from racial violence, but actually produces peace and unity.
Solutions for Racial Injustice – Lament
So what can we focus our energy on that might produce lasting change?
Always start with mourning and lamenting. Lament should always be the first step, or else our advocacy is only an act of anger and grief. This is what lament is. And here is my own personal lament for the American Church.
Solutions for Racial Injustice – Protest and Policy
Protest, but be sure you know what solution you are aligning with while peacefully protesting. Yes, work to change policy, for justice is public love.
But be wise, for new solutions don’t always bring the change we desire. Governments exist for a reason. In history, corrupt governments stop protecting and bringing justice to the people. Government can be used simply to wield power, not justice.
But will the people wield power better than a government? In history, revolutions and power in the hands of the people often make things worse. Will the people protect and bring justice to all the people too? Will we respect their authority? Do they have checks and balances too? People will always join together again in organization. They make themselves into a government.
Always ask yourself what the purpose of government should be. Always ask yourself where justice is most likely to happen.
Solutions for Racial Injustice – Listen and Speak Humbly
Then speak your story. The more we humbly hear each other the more likely change will happen.
I personally believe real change begins when honest authentic conversations begin happening and we respond to them in humility. It is an act of deep love. Although the topic of racism is hotter than a boiling cherry pie coming out of the oven, I am still not seeing a lot of conversations because seeking justice isn’t often driven by love. Love is uncomfortable. Love listens before it speaks. Love allows our worldviews to be challenged by listening to different sources and voices than our normal news sources and friends.
You don’t have to produce something profound. Just something real. Join me with Your Voice on Racism here.
Start with these two things first:
1.) How to be a peacemaker while being an advocate (here)
2.) How to when to cocoon so you can respond in the best way (here)
My marble jar in lavender flowers is a protest, is a symbol seeking change, my voice and is a lament.
What can you do to protest injustice, seek change and lament?