As a 23 year old young woman who recently decided to follow Christ whole heartedly I find myself asking many questions. It doesn’t help that I am a Seminary student pursuing my Masters of Divinity at Wesley Theological Seminary. For some reason I took a break from my studies and began to watch videos of young black boys being gunned down by police officers who assumed they were a threat. As I watched videos of bodies dropping and the contentment of the officers in thier duties my heart dropped. As I read the comments of racist people standing in agreement with the atrocities my body became overwhelmed with heat. Then I clicked the videos of the mothers of these victims and soon felt tears running down my eyes. After that I watched 2 videos that led to this post. They were documentaries of Emmet Till. A young man who was brutally tortured and murdered by two white men for speaking to a white woman. I swore deep down in my soul I heard the wailing of his mother.
I felt her misunderstanding, her fighting with God to make sense of something that makes no sense. I felt her agony. I saw the eyes of young children forced into slavery, chained to one another anticipating rape, molestation, whippings, harrassment, starvation. I felt it. Deep in my whole heart and my entire body became consumed with the reality that I am an African Woman and am so deeply rooted in this fight that my faith in Jesus will not allow me to suppress.
The men that killed Emmet Till were found not guilty and I tried my best to figure out in what way can what I’ve learned from my religious practice make this alright. What is on the brighter side? How can we turn this negative into a positive? Where’s God in all of this? The final question I asked was what would Jesus do? I mean really. What do you really think would have been done if Jesus Christ our Lord and savior was sitting in that courtroom fully aware that those men were guilty, fully aware that our African ancestors were wailing in the skies, fully aware of the pain that deeply resonated in Emmet Till’s mother’s heart. Knowing that this act is unjustifiable, knowing that this pain will last until this day and more. What would Jesus have done? I thought about it for some time and maybe in this moment my ignorance fails me or I’m wise enough to admit it but I simply don’t know.
What I do know is that I am fighting a fight that I did not ask for. God has allowed my ancestors cry to be so loud in my soul that I have no choice but to listen. The Jesus I met told me to fight for truth until the death of me. Christ told me not to suppress the way I feel for the sake of my religion or my contentment. Christ said love is not blind but it is wide awake, aware and lives in the tension. I asked where do we go from here and I am still waiting on my answer.I’d like for you who practice a Christian faith to ask yourselves what would Jesus do in the Emmet Till situation? What do you really really think Jesus would have done and ask yourself if you are okay with that response?
I am simply a young African Woman who wants to be FREE.
Fight for death for truth, and the Lord God will fight for you. Sirach 4:28