Tears in Paradise, Act for Peace

Two days home from a workshop on Undoing Racism, taught by the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, I wake up to the news of the death of nine Black people by a white gunman. They were shot at church in a Bible Study.

I’d already sent out the day’s musing about how we who live in Paradise don’t make room for everyone, don’t insist that Paradise is abundant. And then this, proof.

It could be one crazy guy except we tolerate crazy white guys doing this. This is a thing. This is a trend. This is a movement. White people killing bunches of Black and Brown people. Will his religion be on trial the way the Boston Marathon’s religion was? Will we (finally) wonder what it is in White culture that causes so many to go so wrong? Because it’s about time we do.

And in all the pictures of the aftermath, people kneeling in prayer, people holding hands in prayer, not a white face in the picture. “And I didn’t hear nobody pray.” And oh right, I didn’t hear anyone say, there is an epidemic of white exceptionalism and it’s killing our neighbors. But it’s true. I didn’t see anyone say, “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.”

Ramadan starts today. Maybe while our Muslim sisters and brothers are refraining and reflecting, we might do the same.

I’m sure that some people like those in the AME church would be grateful to wake up in Not Hell. But Paradise is possible, if we understand the need to throw open the Garden gates and welcome the world. Do we believe in Life?

It’s time to wake up, step up, show up for Peace. It’s time to redefine and transform Paradise. Each and every one of us is needed for this hard and precious work.


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