If you missed yesterday’s post, go back and read it. Naomi goes to the same church I do and she wrote and read a poem that moved me. She has graciously given us the ability to read and share it here.
Without further interruptions, I hand the microphone to Naomi…….
Naomi N – A Heart for Justice
As a white city girl growing up in a conservative, homeschooled, and Christian home in a relatively white neighborhood, I never had a ton of exposure to the racial oppression that still exists in our country, even though I have attended a church that is committed to cultural and ethnic diversity and racial reconciliation my entire life. As a white person, I never had to notice racial tension — because everything was great for me and all that racial inequality junk was dealt with decades and centuries ago in the Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil Rights Act…or was it?
My perfect white, colorblind world began to crumble about a year ago when I committed to participate in a year-long teen leadership program through my church. Their vision is to raise up Christ-like, cross-cultural, servant leaders in a communal environment. Together, we learned more about ourselves and how God has wired us, how to manage time, how to set goals and be accountable for them, about asset-based communities and about racism as an institution in our society.
This was the first time that my eyes were opened to all the injustice that is integrated in the systems of our country because we are a race-based society. Quite honestly, it devastated me. But it also impassioned me to continue to be an advocate for change in these areas.
The last assignment that we were given as students was something called a breakthrough plan — something to show what we had learned over the year, how we had progressed, and what our future goals were. My response was this poem below. More or less, it chronicles my journey over the past year, and now I would like to share it with you.
I am not sure quite how this will go because, until now, I have just read it out loud to audiences in a style characteristic of spoken word. My prayer is that you would read with an open mind and that no matter where you are on the scale of all things diverse — gender, culture, race, sexual orientation, age, or even a matter of opinion, that God would speak to you through my words.
My goal is to see blacks, whites and everything in between to come out of their whitetopian and blacktopian worlds to discuss and work together for reconciliation and healing in our society, to work for change in the system and in our hearts, and to embrace and love the differences between us because different is empowering and beautiful.