It takes a lot to make me mad.
Right now I am livid…….!!!
Monday afternoon I spent four hours at the Denver Freedom Riders conference in downtown Denver. It was held at the conclusion of the march from City Park to Civic Center to honor the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and all that has transpired for the good since then.
My heart broke as I sat there listening to the stories of some truly amazing young African-American leaders.
My heart was encouraged as they spoke about what they are doing in our Denver community to keep righting the wrongs that still exist after all these years.
My heart was wrung out with a question I've been pondering lately, “What’s the responsibility we have in the burbs for the continuing injustice of these people like the exceptional souls I experienced?”
…just a few minutes ago I was notified by the loving wife of one of the exceptional emerging leaders I’ve the sacred privilege of mentoring that her husband was blasted with the derogatory “N” word at his work yesterday…here in the burbs. That the color of his skin (for anyone of any ethnicity beyond white folks…) should bring out such a word has me sitting here with a heavy heart, shaking my head.
This stellar young man has allowed me to know him at depth. I know the small to large facts of his story. He is deep hearted. Brilliant. A deeply loving husband and father to two remarkable kids. He is a man of growing faith. He is an exceptional leader and mentor to others. He is honest enough to own his struggles, and is doing all he can to continue to grow beyond his past, as we all need to be. He is a man by whom I would/will stand at any moment in time.
He didn’t need this at this moment in his growing forward in his unfolding life. Nor does anyone who is profiled, and defamed, and called names…anyone of any color, race, creed, gender, ethnicity, religion.
Too often we here in the “safe burbs” have a false sense of such atrocity taking place downtown, in the inner city, in “those communities,” never in our proverbial neck of the woods. Those atitudes are easier, in some ways, to disguise here in the burbs.
But…had you sat with me on Monday afternoon I am confident your own heart would have been nudged that something has to continue to be done by each one of us, wherever we live, to still combat racism. We may not think in terms of the “N” word, but when we see a person of color, what is our internal response?
That man who was called that name yesterday I consider a spiritual son. As a spiritual father I am incensed that “my son” should be treated so.
Once upon a time there was another Father who had a Son who was mistreated as well. It is with that Father that I’m having quite a discussion this morning. Again, I stand with this young friend of mine, proudly. We will walk through this together into a better day.
With whom, in your community, do you need to get walking?
My guess is that someone is in need of your mentoring care!
As the afternoon light was fading this past Monday afternoon on the third floor of the McNichols Building at Denver's Civic Center, I dared to take this iPhone pic in the midst of one of the most impassioned and meaning-filled moments. I'm still not over that gathering I had the privilege of attending.
I hope I never get over those moments.