In April, I was opening up Zoom for another Friday evening graduate class at University of San Francisco from the comfort of my desk. In one of our last classes, my professor asked a question that still rings in my ears: What type of ancestor do you need to be right now? I was a first year graduate student studying anti-racist education and a teacher during a dual pandemic. I was a stressed, scared, and exhausted ancestor.
Looking at the readings for the day, I am reminded of the ancestors we are called to be. May we be ancestors who relent and forgive as God did. May we not cause the sins of the parents to affect the children, the future generations. May we be the ancestors who dare to dream bigger than the generations before us. May we be the ancestors to identify and challenge the inequities of our world. May we be ancestors who steer clear of false idols, of the temptations and distractions that will inevitably come our way. May we see and name the false idol of power and privilege in our everyday lives. May we be undistracted as we build a better tomorrow, one that unabashedly resembles the Kingdom and remains in mystery as we’ve yet to create it. May we be the ancestors grounded in trust, truth, and justice. May we never lose faith in something that we have yet to see.
A year of quarantine has taught me to be the ancestor that shows up, that makes space to listen more than I speak, that trusts in my voice even when it shakes. May we do the work now that will lay a strong foundation for future generations.
- Pause for a moment and imagine the future. What might a world grounded in trust, truth, and justice look like?
- How, specifically, are you being called to “be an ancestor” who works to create this future?
Amanda Montez Cobian is the director of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Jesuit High School in Portland, OR. She recently finished her graduate degree at the University of San Francisco in international and multicultural education. Her research centers alumni of Nativity schools and how they transition to predominantly white high schools. As a bi-racial educator, she aims to create the classroom environment she wished she could have had as a student and works to create systems of racial equity at work, in research, and as a co-author of Jesuit West’s Community Organizing for Racial Equity (CORE).