PR30 – Day 5 (February 27)
On Friday we had our Black History Program at the Junior High/High School. It was powerful and touched my heart. Students shared poetry, song, dance, lip sync routines, and we had a few alumni students come to share their theatrical talent with us, along with a student from SIU who gave a powerful speech. There is so much swirling in my mind right now about this topic of celebrating African-American History that words can not really express in this blog what is going on deep on the inside of me. In addition to this celebration, I have been reading a couple books on this topic as well.
Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin
What’s Wrong with Being Black by Matthew Ashimolowo
The more I am learning, the more I realize I didn’t know, that I am unaware, that I am ignorant of certain issues. We question so many things about a culture or people group in looking at statistics or our own neighborhoods, but do we recognize our own sin? Do we recognize the generational oppression that has been placed on a people? Do we even want to open our eyes to these struggles and recognize patterns in our own behavior? It’s deep. It’s hard to face. It makes me weep.
In class on Friday after the program I had the students gather their desks in a circle and we discussed some things. We talked about what impacted them from the program. I asked them what stereotypes they have heard about “black people” and how it makes them feel. I have a biracial student in my class and she spoke about the struggle she faces representing both cultures, but not feeling totally embraced by either one. I shared my heart in working in Cairo and my frustrations in seeing so much talent, so much potential…but seeing apathy and disregard. Tears were rolling down my face as I shared with one particular class how much power, potential, and talent they have within themselves and don’t even realize it.
“Do you even know who you are? You are powerful. You are strong. You can impact this community. You can impact this nation and beyond!”
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”
-1 Timothy 4:12