Yesterday, was the five-year remembrance of the fatal shooting of the Emanuel Nine. It was particularly powerful for me that this anniversary fell on a Wednesday night, the same night that a young white man walked into a community of faith’s Bible Study, sat with them, and then opened fire. When this happened, I was pastoring a church in Lexington, SC, the place the shooter was raised. The overwhelming revelation that came was that we still had much more work to do.
In the last three weeks, as I have watched and listened to the voices of protestors, I have been overwhelmed at the depth of discrimination that exists in law enforcement and in our culture. Again the revelation washed over me that we still have much more work to do.
The global pandemic has made us tired and scared. We have felt exhaustion, numbness, anxiety, and so many other emotions. I have heard many people say that they are tired of doing the work of trying to determine what activities are safe or not safe. And now they are also tired of being reminded that racism still plagues our society and that people with white skin have enjoyed privilege and opportunity from this broken system.
I think Austin Channing in conversation with Brene Brown said it best: “Y’all might think you are tired, but we were born tired.”
Five years later and racism still plagues South Carolina even after we took down a symbol of hate and division. Five years later and churches still have to have safety plans in place. Five years later and protesters are still marching because the system is broken and unjust. Five years later and there’s still more work to do.