Black Lives Matter Resources
I found the above quote this weekend that really sparked something in me–a feeling, a reminder that where there is light, there is hope, and:
Where there is hope, there is a way forward.
When George Floyd was murdered over a month ago now, I felt the weight of that. I mourned. I could not believe what I was reading. I watched protests begin, my social media feed change from my friends’ lives to every ounce of information and misinformation we could all collect about why Black lives must matter in a world that for centuries has told them, simply, they don’t. Overtly and systematically, it’s been the primary message sent to Black people and People of Color.
And it’s a message that many are now taking up arms and protest signs and new legislature to say, “Enough is enough.”
Glimpses of light of a world in which justice & peace can be found for the lives of Black and People of Color are making a way for us (almost everyone reading this blog right now is white) to put down our privilege and our walls and embrace radical, anti-racist actions for our brothers and sisters.
This is not easy. It is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes hard work, and therefore, I also believe it takes hard rest. We can’t go 100% every day. We can’t read every book this month. We can’t take every political action step possible.
But we can take one step. We can read one book. We can put our heart, our soul, our words, and our gifts and talents into this endeavor. We can (and must) develop a lifestyle of anti-racism.
This is where I’m starting this journey:
I am reading 3 books.
S l o w y. Not for the month, but for the foreseeable future. I’m not going to race through them. I’m going to take my time with them. There are so many more books on my list, but this is where I’m starting:
- The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby. This non-fiction work looks at the church’s complicity in racism in our country. This is the first one I’m reading, and it is the one that I would say every single follower of Jesus reading this blog right now: READ. THIS. BOOK. The blind spots in this book are the ones that have shaped our modern church, and we must learn from them.
- Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah. This is a debut short novel that was recommended to me by the bookstore I ordered from (I asked them for their recommended readings for Black Lives Matter), and the first few paragraphs shook me. It is a sharp, haunting picture of being Black in America–and I’m literally only a few pages in. I wanted a fiction option because sometimes a lot of non-fiction can be heavy.
- Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. This memoir of a lawyer fighting for equal justice came highly, highly recommended on multiple fronts. It is also the book-basis for the movie of the same name, which is free to stream on most platforms through the end of June. Confession: I will probably watch the movie before I read the book. More on this confession below.
Important note: I linked to Amazon on these books; however, I ordered them from a local bookshop in Nashville. I highly recommend shopping local, or, better yet, check out this list of Black-owned bookstores you can support by buying your books from in your own state!
I am saving every important Instagram post to a collection.
I did not know this was a thing until recently. You can save an image on Instagram easily, but I recently starting saving “to a collection,” which flashes on the post you just bookmarked right after and gives you that choice. I now have a collection called “resources against racism” to file every quote, book, prompt, and action step into, so that it doesn’t get lost in screenshots. This feels like such a small thing to add here, but information can be so overwhelming. This helps me know that I’m saving it, not just downloading it for a moment as I scroll or swipe.
I am watching more than I’m reading.
This one is a little hard for me to admit. I love books & I love reading. But I also am currently in a job where I am constantly intaking information and communicating that information to someone else. This, plus years of low B12 and iron and thyroid, and even depression, have really left my brain in a fog at times, and so reading can be really difficult. So I take things slow, I don’t commit to reading too much at once, and yes, I’m watching more than I’m reading.
Here’s some of what I’ve watched or am planning to watch:
- 13th (Netflix). This is where I started, and it was incredibly eye-opening. We can say the 13th Amendment ended slavery…OR we can look at the language and the proceeding history and realize–slavery just evolved into something more palatable for white people.
- Time: The Kalief Browder Story (Netflix). This one I’ve watched, and it is hard. It’s hard to understand, hard to comprehend a world in which someone goes to jail for 3 years, spends most of that time in solitary as a 16-year-old–all for the mere accusation of stealing a backpack.
- Vox Explained: The Racial Wealth Gap (Netflix)
- Just Mercy (Multiple Platforms)
- Selma (Multiple Platforms)
- Who is Malcom X? (Netflix) I haven’t watched it yet, but I can tell you that I was taught very little and nothing good about this man.
And more – so many more. Check out this article. Most platforms like Netflix & Amazon Prime have a Black Lives Matter section to help.
I’m feeling, resting, and working through all of this.
I think there is something to be said for the fact that this will be work you & I are doing for the rest of our lives. This isn’t for a season. This isn’t something “cool” right now. This is real injustice that we’ve (all of us in one way or another) have overlooked and ignored and need to work through, both for our own hearts to be at peace and for the world to taste justice. It takes balance between feeling, resting, and working. I am prone to get stuck in my feelings. I tire easily. But I also need to work. My heart needs this work. Our world needs this work. This is Jesus-work. It is a part of seeing the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven. Let me say that again:
Working for racial equality and justice in our lives, in our spheres, in our workplaces, and, yes, even in our politics is a part of answering the one prayer Jesus taught his followers to pray: “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” This work is a part of seeking the Kingdom of God.
We cannot separate the two. For a long time, I thought I had to. I thought ministry was Kingdom-work and political-esque work was not.
We must engage current issues with the Kingdom. We must seek out what our part is in it, as members of the Kingdom of Light. We must give light, shine bright, not give up, not grow weary for the good of all.