As a white person, this is a topic that I have the luxury to decide whether to enter into or not. It’s a luxury that my friends who are black do not have.
Frankly, it’s more comfortable to avoid the topic. It’s easier to be kind to people and talk about being loving, then stop listening when a topic makes me feel bad. It’s easy to stay ignorant. It’s easy to feel defensive (“I’m not racist.” “I have black friends.” “This is not my problem.”) I get it. I’ve had those thoughts before. But I’ve decided to push through and discover that my minor discomfort is nothing compared to the realities that racism has created over generations. I’m slightly inconvenienced while many moms like me who have a different skin color live in genuine fear of what will happen to their son or daughter. I used to think that was an exaggeration. Not anymore.
If you caught my blog in January, I introduced a new organization – Race for Reconciliation (R4R) – that I’ve been preparing to launch with the help of an incredible team of wise counsel. R4R is on mission to create a platform to educate people and to help solve some of the systemic problems of racism. The topic feels so polarizing that I wanted a place where the silent middle – those who care about people and want things to be better but haven’t dared to speak up in the past out of fear of what their friends would think, saying the wrong thing, or being shoved into the more polarizing sides of a tough topic – could come to learn and be part of the solution in their community.
When Ahmaud Arbery was killed in Georgia, my heart ached that all the final parts of our website were not perfectly in order and our social media wasn’t operational. I told myself to be patient and keep working to get everything right. Yet here we are, mourning another horrific loss of life as we all watch George Floyd’s last moments. I see the outrage and feel the inadequacy of any words to my black friends. As I hear people saying, “We must do something,” I’m tired of waiting. I want to invite you to actually do something. Everything isn’t perfectly ready, but the need is too great to wait.
Racial reconciliation is complex, but if I can be candid, it starts with white people caring enough to get educated and being part of the solution. If I can be even more candid, racism is not a problem for Christians to solve alone. R4R is for everyone, regardless of faith… but Christians should be the first ones to help if we truly believe God creates and values all lives. We must be a part of the solution.
I recently recorded 6 podcasts that will soon be released on iTunes. The first episode is ready and is a great starting point to understand the basics of racial reconciliation. If you want to do something, start there. Listen to the podcast. Share it with others.
Race for Reconciliation is a movement that will have physical races in cities across America. Our inaugural event will be January 18, 2021 (assuming gatherings are permitted by then) in Memphis, TN. We’ll partner with local non-profits who are working to address needs in 3 primary areas: literacy, vocational training, and leadership development. Profits from each race will fund local non-profit city partners. Walking or running, these events will be an opportunity for people to come out to help raise money to overcome the results of racism and to learn how to play a role in creating a culture of healing, honor, and hope.
In addition to literal walks and runs, Race for Reconciliation will be an education platform. With podcasts, blogs, recommended resources, and educational events, we want to provide the most positive, unifying voice on racial reconciliation. We had hoped to start corporate fundraising in April, but have delayed due to COVID. But we’d love for anyone interested to help us cover our costs through one-time or monthly giving so we can keep moving forward. Check out our website now for more information… and we’ll let you know soon how to register for our first race!
There is something you can do: Start by listening and jumping on this opportunity to learn with me… and share it with the people in your sphere. Be a person who helps create healing from the past, honor in the present, and hope for the future.