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 Sessoms is the Director of Black Student Services at Loyola Marymount University. He comes from a non-profit background and possesses a wide range of practical experiences in the field of Youth Development within both the non-profit and academic realms.
During the past seventeen years, he has developed, managed, and evaluated academic enrichment programs, socio-behavioral trainings, and workforce development programs for youth and college students of diverse racial and socio-economic backgrounds.
Dr. Sessoms earned his Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Southern California. He earned his M.A. in Geography and Urban Planning from the University of Toledo, Ohio. His B.A. is in Marketing from Ohio University. He is a member of the National Association for Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) and Jesuit Association of Student Personnel Administrators (JASPA).