By Anna Holladay
Words from the Psalmist, adapted:
How long will you forget us, Lord? Forever?
How long will you hide your face from us?
How long will we be left to our own wits,
agony filling our hearts? Daily?
How long will the oppression of racism keep defeating us?
Like most of the country, I have been captured by the unfolding events in our nation. I am full of frustration and sorrow. At times like these it is important to remember that the faithful community whose wisdom we cling to wrote expressions of distress as well. So today, I write my own lament to God.
I lament that the bodies of people of color are not treated with basic human dignity.
I lament that Jim Crow is still alive and well in America, but functioning under a different name.
I lament that what has happened is not an isolated incident, but yet another brick in the long road of systemic oppression.
I lament that the voices of whites cry out that “those” people need to calm down.
I lament that my friends of color have been taught and must continue to teach their children different ways of being in the world just so they can survive.
I lament that I have been taught that black bodies are inherently bad, and that I walk a little faster when I notice a black man behind me on the sidewalk.
I lament that we think racism has been defeated, because then we trick ourselves into thinking that the institutions of this country were made for everyone.
I lament that the American justice system looks very differently than God’s justice system.
How long, O Lord? Where is your Kingdom of peace, compassion, love, and justice? I want it to be on Earth, here and now. Our hope is in you, God. Give us strength to keep pressing on. Give us wisdom and guidance. Give us listening ears, sharp minds, compassionate hands, willing feet and loving hearts.
Anna Holladay is a CBF Leadership Scholar and a third-year student at Wake Forest University School of Divinity.