I have never felt exposed and vulnerable while feeling so liberated and empowered simultaneously. The 4 month process of applying what I have learned in the anti-oppression/anti-racism training that I received in Atlanta, Georgia at the Global Mission Fellow training prior to moving to Seattle continues ferociously and personally. The fact that racism is more relevant and personal now than it has been in the last 50 years, including when a black senator from Chicago was running for the President of the United States, says a lot!
I can sense a change in the winds and a shift in the traditional paradigm of race conversations and understanding. There is more intellectual convergence as well as urgency that swells with every act of resistance being met with resistance.
I can feel a collective increase of consciousness among my brothers and sisters that are traumatized by the black experience of living in a white supremacist society, who were previously unaware of how damaged they are, just as I was. Not realizing that they hated themselves, and hated others that look like them, just as I was. I see and partake in the act of resisting the carry over effects of the psychological conditioning of slavery. We will step out into the unfamiliar and love ourselves and love each other- liberated.
Many people are waking up to the reality that the United States is the result of a complicated network of systems that favor those who fit very specific criteria….one that I will never fit into. Understanding that all of the war tactics used to exploit and exterminate black bodies in this country were conspired, implemented, protected, and baked into the design of this country was one of the most painful realizations.
That pain is experienced on a daily basis as I am forced to process the powerful emotions that come from being aware of consistent atrocity and by participating in social justice public policy work, where these discussions are the center of many things.
There are days when I know that God has anointed me personally to make great strides in dismantling racism and that the small ripples that I make will be eventually felt all around the nation. However, there are also days I fear that even if I were to give every part of myself to this cause, it wouldn’t make the slightest difference. I am often overwhelmed at how deep the roots of racism run. Despite my conflicted feelings, I have accepted the fact that I am both a victim and an advocate simultaneously (the reason for my conflicting feelings existing). I have embraced the irony and the beauty of existing in a continuum. I am in an abusive relationship with my country [and countrymen] that benefits and destroys me simultaneously; I am offered a plethora of opportunities while plotting my premature death.
I am overwhelmed at the love and encouragement I have received from my fellow organizers here in Seattle. David, who has also felt the blows of white supremacy being a Korean American, as well as Joshua who is unlike any white man I have ever met, are my saving grace in amongst unimaginable pain. We were thrown together ‘by chance’, but they have contributed so much to the transformation of my worldview. They keep me anchored as the waves of discouragement and empowerment crash over me. An unexpected kinship has forged, but I thank The Most High for them every day. I do not fear the pain ahead as I am encouraged by the cohesion of our differing perspectives and similar hearts that beat for change.
GMF US-2, Class of 2016-2018
Seattle District of The United Methodist Church