By Dr. Froswa Booker-Drew
I think there are a lot of things we can learn from the scriptures and apply these lessons to our lives today.
- In the midst of our suffering and pain, we cannot stop living and give up. God commanded the Israelites to grow crops and have babies even while they were captivity. For us, it is important that we continue to plant seeds to contribute to the future we want to see but it also is an opportunity for us to give birth to our dreams. Those dreams may be individual aspirations or collective opportunities to advocate for the laws, policies, and lives we want and deserve.
- Relationships are critical. I was conducting a leadership circle for a group of amazing Black women. I asked the women to share how they are caring for themselves in this time of madness and sadness. Over and over, the women talked about having love in their lives and how love helped them endure and not give up. They shared repeatedly about connecting to friends, family members and loved ones so that they were surrounded in love. We need each other to get through this.
- Our cities do not prosper unless we are prospering. When we are denied economic, health, civic/ voting, employment, and other opportunities to excel, our cities will continue to be challenged. The inequities that African Americans have suffered are not only a stain on America’s history, but it currently impedes our progress to really be the country that we could be. Until we fully embrace each person as a creation of God and treat them accordingly, we will continue to see systems and policies that are created to only benefit those in power. In doing so, we miss out on the endless possibilities for growth and innovation because everyone is not represented and empowered at the table.
- We are seeing a leadership vacuum in our country. A lot of people profess to know God but their actions are not lining up with what God commands. We must be careful of what information we listen to. I think we have bought into the dreams of others sacrificing what we really wanted and needed to thrive. Even as much as we tried to do everything by the book, it hasn’t always benefited us and for some of us, we’ve made excuses for the bad behavior and lies we’ve seen. As a people, we must continue to be diligent in what we listen to and believe. Just as the message is important, consider the messenger as well. When we stop seeking God as our leader and place so much importance on others and in our own abilities, we can become confused. It becomes a barrier from real, true communication that can lead to resolving issues and peace. Leaders communicate. Leaders listen. Leaders are not about self. Leaders seek peace because God commands us to do so.
- I have asked God repeatedly why—why must we continue to endure and go through this pain. Long before George, there have been many who have lost their lives to state sanctioned violence. It is as if people just continued to go along with their lives with minimal attention for just a bit. I believe that the year 2020 is really about vision and clarity. God is exposing our mess and showing us who we really are. We are witnessing a time that is new for all of us. We must still hang on to the belief that there is a plan and purpose for our lives. This is a moment of expression and strategy at the same time. It is an opportunity to use our gifts and talents to change systems that have been oppressive. In this season, if you cannot march, you can write letters and sign petitions. You can complete the census. You can register to vote. You can call legislators. You can support Black Businesses. You can donate to organizations on the frontlines and support our entities that are committed to social justice.
Do not give up hope even as we deal with the confusion of what might feel like Babylon. And as much as I am tired of this ongoing pain and frustration, I am encouraged in knowing that as we seek God and support one another in fighting for justice, we will make the changes necessary. We will get it done while holding on to our faith, not losing peace, and allowing love and not hate to reign.
“If you want one year of prosperity, grow grain. If you want ten years of prosperity, grow trees. If you want one hundred years of prosperity, grow people.” –Chinese proverb