In today’s reading, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were threatened by King Nebuchadnezzar and forced to worship his god. However, rather than consider their own lives, they defied the existing power structure and in the face of extreme danger, trusted in their God. In the end, they demonstrated faith—not in King Nebuchadnezzar’s ability to change—but in the God they served, the God who stood with them in the fiery furnace, and, ultimately, they were victorious in converting the King.Today, there are myriad social justice issues by which we are threatened on a daily basis—the continued oppression and marginalization of Black and Brown people and their communities, police brutality and militarization of urban communities, ongoing efforts to maintain the prison industrial complex, racist and anti-LGBTQIA rhetoric, etc. However, each day, we are also presented with opportunities to stand up against systemic racism and inequality. However, because it’s not the popular choice or because it’s going to attract negative attention, some remain seated and, in so doing, they not only remain silent—they become complicit. Our ability to stand is rooted in one’s knowledge of self.
- Who are you?
- Against what form of oppression or injustice would you stand?
- What barriers are keeping you from standing?
- What steps will you take to examine yourself, learn more about the form of injustice you selected, and stand with confidence?
Dr. Nathan J. Sessoms is the Principal & CEO of Success Beyond Measure, Incorporated, a Diversity & Educational Equity consulting firm that provides support to community-based and non-profit organizations, for-profit entities, and academic institutions interested in combatting systemic racism and creating equitable outcomes for all.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, he has conducted research on race relations at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, contributed to several National Science Foundation-funded reports, and published in several peer-reviewed journals, including Urban Geography, The Professional Geographer, and Kalfou.
Dr. Sessoms is the former director of the Office of Black Student Services at Loyola Marymount University, where he also worked closely with the University’s Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, Jewish, Muslim, and LGBTQIA Communities, while assisting the campus community in navigating the realities of race and racism. He continues to serve as an adjunct professor in LMU’s Department of Sociology.