God Before Guns
Enough, America. Enough. A lament in the wake of ahmaud arbery's death
Rev. Teresa Hord Owens
General Minister and President
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Enough, America. Enough. We are tired, we are heartbroken, we are angry. There is an historical record that is hundreds of years old documenting the horrors of violence upon black lives and black bodies. Generational trauma which began from the time of the Middle Passage is yet being inflicted upon black lives today. My great-great grandfather was borne of the trauma of a white slave master raping a black woman. My great-grandfather grew up in the shadow of the Ku Klux Klan and knew the trauma of constant terrorization of his community. My great-grandmothers suffered the indignities of having to enter the back door when they worked as domestics in white homes. My grandfather faced death threats when he fought for desegregation. A family member was beaten up when he stopped to help a fellow college student whose car had broken down because he had spoken to a white girl a few days before. In elementary school, I was called “nigger”, and told that “if it hadn’t been for us white people, you niggers would still be slaves”. I was then slapped in the face and my glasses were shattered, leaving shards of glass on my cheeks. My son was accused of stealing his own jacket from the school cateferia when he returned to retrieve it. He asked, “did they think that because I am black?” My husband and son have both been stopped over and over by policemen for no reason, given no tickets, simply because they drove a certain kind of car in predominantly white neighborhoods. I am grateful that none of these family members died, but all around them, others did.
Too many lynched. Too many beaten and killed. Too many shot by police, and by people assuming the right to be judge and executioner. Too many dead as a result of escalated response that was unwarranted. Too few of the killers have been arrested, and too few have been convicted. Too many black and brown people are dying of COVID-19; too many black and brown people are in poverty and are low-income and underemployed. Too much pain and injustice, too much blood spilled, too many bodies battered, too much indignity to bear, too little justice and reparation. And so, I ask you, America: when will it be time for justice? How can I be sure that you are not raising your children to devalue and kill ours? There are no words, no emojis for the heaviness of this pain, frustration and anger.
Let me lament for now....I will rise to fight...another day.