BY HEATHER MALVEAUX | July 15, 2020
At a Black Lives Matter symposium, I was challenged to voice what I wanted, needed, and recommended from white people who aspire to become co-conspirators in the dismantling of white supremacy.
Here is what I want, need, and recommend:
- Don’t ask me to forget what my ancestors went through as slaves in this country or ask me to ignore how that impacts me daily.
- Don’t detach yourself from what your ancestors and/or people that look like you have created, maintained, and have benefited from—and that you continue to benefit from.
- Remember that you were born into a system of white supremacy that you did not create, but must actively help to dismantle.
- Don’t be afraid to have the ugly conversations with people who look like you, and don’t be afraid to listen to and learn from the people who don’t look like you.
- Accept my truths and experiences of racial injustice as an African American woman as valid.
- Listen to me, advocate for me, sympathize with me, fight with me, and raise your voice to match my outcries.
- Be my racial ally, stand up against racial injustice, celebrate and benefit from racial diversity, take on this fight as your own.
All the things I’m asking for require courage, strength, agape love, and sacrifice—all of which our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ demonstrated for us when he died for our sins. As Christians, we are called to bear witness to the suffering of Christ, and as we unite ourselves in the fight for racial justice and equity, let us not forget that we are also called to bear witness to the suffering of our brothers and sisters.
- How are your contributions to the fight against racial injustice a manifestation of Christ’s courage, strength, agape love, and sacrifice?
- What do you need, want, and recommend in the fight for racial justice from fellow advocates who look like you? Those who don’t look like you?
[Editor’s Note: This reflection was originally published as part of Lift Every Voice: A Lenten Series Toward Racial Justice.]
Heather Malveaux is the university minister for social justice and immersion programs at Loyola University New Orleans, where she challenges her students to speak openly and honestly about race, racism, and privilege.