I’ve lost the love of friends and family members because of my stand on racial justice in this country. Black lives matter. How controversial this simple concept seems to be to so many White people.
Today is Good Friday. Two days before Easter. As a Catholic woman I am celebrating the most meaningful holiday season in my Liturgical calendar.
In the Gospel of John 13:34, Christ gives the toughest order of all time: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
Our Brother knew exactly what He was asking of us. He wasn’t even asking. He was commanding. Demanding. We must love one another.
Not judge whether or not someone is guilty or had a criminal record or is suspicious and scary because of the color of his skin and therefore it was inevitable that he died.
Not regard another human being as other than us because of race, political affiliation, or whatever myriad of reasons we cling to in order to separate ourselves from tragic disparities in our own communities.
Through the simple commandment to love one another as we are loved, Jesus says to us the hard thing. He says we are all one. There are no separations that are true in the eyes of God.
The notion that Stephon Clark is not your son is a lie. He was killed in a senseless act of police violence breathtaking in its brutality and personal nature, He is our son. He is our brother. We live in a diseased society in which unarmed Black men and women are three and a half times more likely to die at the hands of police than Whites. We can do as many mental gymnastics over why that might be as we want to. I’ve seen the comments from White racists and I know their flimsy and astonishingly stupid arguments well.
For those of us who call ourselves Easter people, we have an opportunity to have the courage to listen to Stephon’s grandmother’s anguish. We have the courage to march the streets and write letters to our local government officials demanding justice and reform. We have the courage to work for justice in so many public and personal ways.
We who live in the Light of Christ can also choose to stop talking and listen to Stephon’s friends and former classmates while they speak with fear and grief and rage. And eloquence. And unbelievable Grace that we don’t deserve because what happened to Stephon Clark has been happening in one form or another for centuries upon centuries while many of their White fellow citizens either perpetrate the crimes, or hide in our corners and think of excuses as to why Stephon is not our son.
We are commanded to love one another. We are commanded to get past all of our training and upbringing and comfortable notions about who is and isn’t us. It means walking across a freeway when we have a personality that likes to follow the rules. It means standing up to a friend or family member so entrenched in racist ideas that they say things over Easter dinner like, “But he was no angel.”
Stephon Clark is our son. He was our son.
What are you going to do about it?