I grew up in a multicultural context. There were Latinos, Native Americans, Anglos, a small Asian American population and an even smaller African American population. Amidst this diversity, at least as kids, we were part of the same small community. And yet, particularly with time and perspective, racism was unquestionably prevalent. And such is the case in our world today.
For over thirty years I have been blessed to be in conversation with some close friends and colleagues who continue to play a critical role in my ever increasing awareness of racism. They have helped me discover my own unaware and unintentional racist behavior, racism in the cultures and context we share, and the systemic racism of the institutions and organizations we are a part of.
Recent events in our country have made even the most naive or uninformed in our society aware of the ongoing challenges brought forth around racism in our society. Painful as this increased awareness is, it has also begun to foster a greater desire to hear the stories of those who have (and continue to be) most deeply impacted by racism.
I know for me personally, hearing the stories and the experiences of those whose lives both historically and presently are confronted by racism has been transformative. It is in truly listening that I have subsequently begun to experience the amendment of life, the journey toward healing, and the beginning of wholeness. It is for all of us what God commanded, what Martin Luther King dreamed, what Jesus modeled, and what we commit to in our Baptismal Covenant.