In the 24th book of the Bible we are privy to an encounter between God and Jeremiah. Based on lineage, Jeremiah should have been a priest; yet he was chosen to share God’s desire to restore his relationship with the people of Judah through the creation of a second covenant. For decades, Jeremiah shared God’s message but the people did not listen.
While I’m not a prophet, there are days when I feel God’s call to walk in the shoes of Jeremiah. Like Jeremiah, I had aspirations that would suggest a different path. I completed my Ph.D. at the University of Delaware at 27yrs old and intended to be the president of a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) by the time I was 40 years old. However, my path was forever changed by an experience with a domestic violence victim that opened my eyes to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
For decades, I have experienced attacks and witnessed attacks on humanity and homeland; yet I’m still sharing his message. God has opened doors for me to work at restoring the covenant to “obey him and love others” or risk continued discord and destruction in the world. The term “cultural competence” is not in the Bible, but God is the epitome of it. We consistently witness God’s willingness to meet the needs of people in all walks of life. Cultural competence is where God writes in our hearts, rather than on tablets, the desires of his heart as suggested with the second covenant. I also labor with the hope that others will understand that reconciliation is not only about repairing a relationship with your neighbor, but restoring your relationship with Christ.
There will come a time when you have to choose a path. Will you go your own way? Or will you choose to follow the calling from God?
Dr. Richardson-Phillips has 20 years of diversity, equity, and inclusion experience in higher education and corporate America. She currently serves as the vice president of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Saint Ignatius High School (Cleveland) where she is responsible for DEI strategic planning and cultural competence.