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When did you become radicalized?

A Self-Reflection Exercise.

 

radical
1: of, relating to, or proceeding from a root: such as
a: of or growing from the root of a plant
b: designed to remove the root of a disease or all diseased and potentially diseased tissue

2: of or relating to the origin
3a: very different from the usual or traditional
b: favoring extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions
c: associated with political views, practices, and policies of extreme change

When did your radicalization begin?
December 2014, following a series of non-indictments of police officers and white-thinking people who killed Black men and boys. Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice were the straws that broke me open.

Where were you radicalized?
Freddie Gray. New York, NY, April 2015. On a Union Square to Times Square march route decrying the murder of Freddie Gray who was illegally pursued and arrested with force. My second march. Before then, I believed the news reports depicting protester violence. Being a crowd of a permitted demonstration that was attacked by police before we even began marching was an eye-opener. In America’s strong-hold of freedom, independence and self-expression – New York City – no less. It was astounding. And the media reported none of aggressive police tactics from that night.

How were you radicalized?
Watching police push the crowd around, listening to them curse at us. Learning that they were trying to separate people from the crowd to do harm. Knowing they were armed and the crowd was not. Free speech didn’t feel like free speech. The right to protest didn’t feel like a right. They treated it like a challenge.

Do you know you’re radical?
Yes, I know now. I want to scrap the whole country and begin from scratch. Burn it all down. Beginning with the Constitution and every law based on it. We continue to operate from fruit from a rotten tree and wonder why we can’t move forward. We need to start over with voices from every demographic in this country contributing to our democracy or whatever governing society we collectively agree upon.

When did you first see yourself in the struggle?
Sandra Bland. Houston, TX, July, 2015. Everything about her is me. I do solo road trips. I’ve been followed by police cars in isolated and unknown areas and didn’t want to stop. I’ve traveled for new opportunities and fresh starts. I know my rights. I am a Black Woman who speaks her mind and will tell you what you can do with your false superiority. Sandra was like seeing myself in the aftermath of my own murder. Seeing how she was attacked, killed and then labeled as a suicide simply because someone wanted to feel superior and others didn’t speak up to check him.

When did you become unapologetic?
Chikesia Clemons. Saraland, AL, 2018. She wasn’t killed but she was brutalized and violated in a public space because she asked for utensils at a restaurant she had just paid for food in. Police were called. Two male officers threw her to the ground, tossed her around like a rag doll, exposing her breasts, then flipped her face down to cuff her. Bare breasts and face to the floor. Everyone in the restaurant continued to eat as if nothing egregious was happening. That stunned me. People wouldn’t have sat around if a white woman was being abused like Chikesia was in that restaurant. It’s one thing to see something and not say something. It’s a whole next level of denial to see something, turn your back on it and continue to act as if that something isn’t happening.

Chikesia was my catalyst to begin working on I AM WOMAN: Experiences of Black Womanhood in America, an upcoming photo essay book sharing who we are in our own words.

When did you know you wouldn’t turn back?
Pamela Turner. Houston, TX, May, 2019. She cried out for mercy for her unborn child. She was shot and killed anyway by a Latino police officer. Whether or not she was pregnant is irrelevant. In that moment she was reaching for a humanizing drop of mercy from her killer. The depraved indifference of the officer who shot her five times proved an alarming lack of humanity in him.

When did you acknowledge your trauma?
Me. Tucson, AZ, March, 2020. When my neighbors threatened me through a houseguest by warning them that “neighbors were discussing throwing rocks through my windows and burning down my home” because they didn’t like the fact that I had added a backyard studio to my property with upscale landscaping and stone walkways. They didn’t like that I was using my home as an Airbnb. So they threatened to burn me out, destroy my home and business. In my mind, my neighbors became a lynch mob. It was difficult to process how very American this interaction was. I had enough strength to get an order of protection, but afterwards, with the help of quarantine, I retreated into deep hibernation, where I essentially remain knowing there’s nowhere in this country I can go to feel safe in my home.

When did you acknowledge your helplessness?
Walter Scott. North Charleston, SC, April 2015 was running away when he was shot in the back by a police officer who tried to claim he feared for his life. All caught on tape by a neighbor from their yard. Walter Scott’s killer was charged with murder and sentenced to twenty-years. Very grateful for the video.

When did you acknowledge your rage?
Eric Garner. Staten Island, NY, December 2014 when I began to understand that the media deflected from the murder of Black People by bringing up property during times of protest. How the fuck are property rights in the same discussion with the right to breathe?

When did you acknowledge your grief?
George Floyd. Minneapolis, MN, May, 2020. I had no more words. I didn’t speak for several days. I didn’t want to speak. I couldn’t put my finger on my exact feelings, but I knew I was overwhelmed. When I was ready to communicate, my first three words were GRIEF, RAGE, TRAUMA. My rage is too much to confront and embrace directly. My trauma reaches back through centuries of dehumanizing brutality for hundreds of millions of ancestors. My grief cries out from the first betrayal of brotherhood to the abduction and transportation by violent co-conspirators to the most racist “post-racial” society any one could have imagined.


When did you become radicalized? (Feel free to answer in the comments.)

When did your radicalization begin?
Where were you radicalized?
How were you radicalized?
Do you know you’re radical?
When did you first see yourself in the struggle?
When did you become unapologetic?
When did you know you wouldn’t turn back?
When did you acknowledge your trauma?
When did you acknowledge your helplessness?
When did you acknowledge your rage?
When did you acknowledge your grief?

 

 

#tamirrice #michaelbrown #ericgarner #sandrabland #chikesiaclemons #pamelaturner #walterscott #georgefloyd #breyonnataylor #ahmaudarbery #blacklivesmatter #icantbreathe #policebrutality #statesanctionedmurder #stopkillingus #righttolife #humanrights #whenwereyouradicalized

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Sermon: THE RIGHT TO DO RIGHT

by Pastor William Carrol

 

Genesis 18

Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” (Genesis 18:13-14)

“Should I hide my plan from Abraham?” the Lord asked. “For Abraham will certainly become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him. I have singled him out so that he will direct his sons and their families to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. Then I will do for Abraham all that I have promised.” (Genesis 18:17-19)

Notes from the sermon

“God asked Abraham why Sarah had laughed. If Abraham had taken account of his life and past behaviors, he would have thought there is a possibility that Sarah is laughing because maybe I didn’t invest in her enough faith. Maybe I didn’t present to her enough of a testimony. There were times when Abraham could have strengthened Sarah’s faith, or helped her to strengthen her faith, but instead he did some things that actually counteracted her faith and her growth and her development. Certain decisions that he made. Certain mistakes that he made. Times that he said she was his sister, rather than acknowledging she was his wife in order to protect his own life…. Maybe she felt like she was being sacrificed on the altar of Abraham’s ministry [life].”

“You may be wondering why you aren’t having the impact you thought you would…. The issue is not about your testimony, it’s about the testimony of the Lord.”

“God will fulfill His promise(s) in our lives.”

“It’s not about calculating your ups and downs. It’s about believing God. Walking close enough to hear Him when He talks about you. I want to walk close enough to God to hear what He doing in my life.”

“If you walk close enough to God, you will hear Him when He tells you, you will be a blessing.”

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Right behind you…

The ability to dream bigger, rise higher, advance further, break down more barriers, become more in your own right with each successive generation — that’s what the push forward and the firm standing is for. Today’s fight is never for today; today is already done. The fight is for tomorrow – for our children, and their freedom to live according to their individual destinies instead of the dictates of others.

Today’s lesson: Keep moving forward. Don’t stop. Don’t give up. The next generation is close behind you – jumping from one of your foot prints to the next and gazing up at you as a benchmark for all they aspire to be. You have already made an impact; what you do next will determine how much greater your impact will be.

Get up and get to it, people!

Video: President Obama thanking his campaigners in Chicago after his reelection.

“I’m Really Proud of All of You.”

by BarackObama.com: “Thank you. This is your victory.”

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“Beloved, your life matters to me.”

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.  ~ Romans 12:10

 “We are always a bridge between God and someone else. Always a bridge of blessing. We matter. We matter significantly.”  Pastor William Carrol

How intentional and purpose-filled are we in our daily relationships? How attentive are we to the relationships that matter to us? How aware are we of the needs of the other party(ies)? What are we giving of ourselves to build up and encourage our loved ones?

If you ask me, I will tell you I am very intentional. I am very purposeful and intent on building or maintaining my relationships always. However, I’ve come to realize that my own intention and purposefulness does not necessarily translate to an understanding of how I, my life and my actions
impact the other party.

To a very great degree I am clueless. I understand only that which is explained or revealed to me.

One of my uncles had a very harrowing, life-threatening experience a week ago today. When I went to go see him and asked him about his experience, his pain and hurt were easy for me to see and hear. My natural inclination was to hug him and tell him I love him. I’ve hugged my uncle and told him “I love you” countless times in my life. Quite honestly, I didn’t think the gesture or the words would be anything special to him even though I felt it was important for him to know that he was loved at such a dark, painful moment in his life.

He clung to me. And when I stepped away, he pulled me back. “You really needed a hug,” I said. He simply nodded.

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.  ~ Romans 12:9

We were in the hospital waiting room visiting my grandmother with two of my aunts and a cousin. I was leaving that day, so before we all separated upon leaving the hospital, I said, “My uncle needs a hug. So, come on, group hug!” They all moved in. I got a good grip on both my aunts and we all squeezed in on my uncle, who was in the middle of the circle. I let go of my Zena-warrior-woman-call as I jumped up and down and shook the whole circle with my joy. He began laughing. They all began laughing. A stranger walked up to us and said, “I want a hug too.”

“Do you really,” I asked.

He looked a bit bashful for a moment, but didn’t back down. He nodded.

“Well, come here! I love giving hugs!” One of my aunts and I hugged him gleefully.

We all separated with beaming smiles.

I was pleased, but I didn’t think much of that moment… until my uncle called me after I had returned home. He said simply, “Shawnda, I want to say ‘thank you’ for hugging me and telling me you love me. You were the only one who thought about me and asked how I was doing.”  Chuckling, he continued, “You said, ‘my uncle needs a hug’ and they all hugged me. Thank you.”

Appreciation – such a life-giving disposition.

I would fly a thousand miles and back again for anyone who could so appreciate a hug.

Validation – what a life-affirming response.

I will be more intentional about letting loved ones know how much they matter to me.

Indeed, Beloved, you matter to me.

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.  ~ Romans 12:9-13