Black Lives Matter

 

It is, perhaps, the foundational teaching of Unity: that there is, indeed, one life, one beingness, one is-ness from which all of life emanates.  And as such, we are one with it and we are one within it.  We don’t envision God creating life like widgets dropping from an assembly line so much as we envision God emanating life like beams shining from a star, like waves flowing from an ocean.

So, in a sense, you have no cause to struggle with your self-esteem because the value of you is inherent, and the value of you is high.  In a sense, a healthy self-esteem comes from the radical remembering of the truth of your nature.  Or, as I’ve said before, your value is not determined by you.

So, of course, all lives matter.  All lives matter because there is only the life of God emanating in its myriad and limitless creativity.  All lives matter because, as the saying goes, there is no place where God is not.

So, we have movements such as We, Too and Black Lives Matter and Pride Month.  We have movements which draw attention to trans people and poor people and female people and short people and old people and abused people and civil servants, not to assert that some lives matter more than others, but to remember that no lives matter less than others.

In other words, we have movements such as these because, from time to time, we’ve forgotten that all lives matter.  And we need to remember.

So, I look forward to the day that we, as a nation of souls, have so awakened to our marginalization of people of color, whether intentional or inadvertent – that we have so excavated any and all insidious remnants of racism from our own hearts – that we, at long last, are able to look squarely into the eyes of our brothers and sisters and to speak from the rising epiphany that, “Your presence is a gift and your contributions make a difference.”

I look forward to the day that we, at long last, are able to speak from the rising epiphany that, “Your presence is a gift and your contributions make a difference,” to Sojourner Truth who spoke for countless oppressed and silent women in an era long predating the likes of Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem; to Harriet Tubman whose vision, courage and tenacity led hundreds from enslavement to freedom; to Frederick Douglass whose speeches changed the very tide of a public opinion deeply rooted in the institution of slavery; to Ida Wells whose audacious truth-telling as a journalist poured its healing balm upon the festering wound that was lynching in a Jim Crow south.

I look forward to the day that we, at long last, are able to speak from the rising epiphany that, “Your presence is a gift and your contributions make a difference,” to W.E.B. Du Bois who rejected the Atlanta Compromise of 1909 for his vision of an uncompromising equality among human beings, giving rise to a future that would include the NAACP and the civil rights movement; to Hattie McDaniel - that singer-songwriter, actress and comedian whose immensity of talent earned her the first Oscar awarded to an African American for best supporting actress in Gone with the Wind; to Duke Ellington, to Louis Armstrong, to Count Basie, to Langston Hughes.

I look forward to the day that we, at long last, are able to speak every from the rising epiphany that, “Your presence is a gift and your contributions make a difference,” to Jesse Owens whose presence on that platform, with four Olympic gold medals dangling from his neck, stood in direct tension with a dark tide that had already begun to rise in 1936 Berlin. 

I look forward to the day that we, at long last, are able to speak from the rising epiphany that, “Your presence is a gift and your contributions make a difference,” to Rosa Parks whose singlehanded steadfastness would serve as the threshold into an entire movement of evolution; to Ella Fitzgerald, to Billie Holiday, to Miles Davis, to Chuck Berry, to Ray Charles.

I look forward to the day that we, at long last, are able to speak from the rising epiphany that, “Your presence is a gift and your contributions make a difference,” to Toni Morrison who encouraged her students, and I quote, “When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else.  If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.”

I look forward to the day that we, at long last, are able to speak from the rising epiphany that, “Your presence is a gift and your contributions make a difference,” to Muhammad Ali, whose talent in a ring was without question even if his talent with a pencil was not, and I quote:

Now Clay hits with a right, what a beautiful swing

And the punch raises the bear clear of the ring.

Liston is still rising, and the ref wears a frown

For he can't start counting till Sonny comes down.

The crowd’s looking up, some getting quite frantic

But radar found him – over the Atlantic.

Who would have thought when they came to the fight

That they'd witness the launching of a human satellite.

Yes, the crowd did not dream when they laid down their money

That they would see a total eclipse of the Sonny.

I look forward to the day that we, at long last, are able to speak from the rising epiphany that, “Your presence is a gift and your contributions make a difference,” to Emmett Till, to Walter White, to Ella Baker, to Dorothy Dandridge, to Richard Pryor, Bobby Seale, Duke Ellington, Will Smith, to Simone Biles.

I look forward to the day that we, at long last, are able to speak from the rising epiphany that, “Your presence is a gift and your contributions make a difference,” to Hank Aaron, to Alex Haley, to Lena Horne, to Mark Dean to Charles Drew; to Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Magic Johnson, Wilt Chamberlain, to Whitney Houston.

I look forward to the day that we, at long last, are able to speak every from the rising epiphany that, “Your presence is a gift and your contributions make a difference,” to Malcolm X, to Sammy Davis Jr, to Spike Lee, to Sydney Poitier, to Denzel Washington; to Oprah Winfrey, Booker T. Washington, Thurgood Marshall, Coretta King, Queen Latifah, to Martin Luther King.

I look forward to the day that we, at long last, are able to speak from the rising epiphany that, “Your presence is a gift and your contributions make a difference,” to Michael Jordan, to Tiger Woods, to Lorraine Hansberry, to Walter Mosley, to Roy Wilkins; to Morgan Freeman, Gregory Hines, Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson, Harry Bellefonte and to all others whose value deserves to be remembered.

I look forward to the day that we no longer need a Black History Month, for it’s all-too-often that our holidays become hollow shells of the noble ideas which they purport to represent.  It’s all-too-often that we overeat every November with no ongoing effort to cultivate hearts of gratitude.  It’s all-too-often that we attend Christmas Eve services every December with no ongoing effort to live in Christ-like ways.  And it’s all-too-often that we post MLK memes every February with no ongoing effort to remember the inherent and high value we share as members in the family of life; with no ongoing effort to bridge the chasms of habit and history which would separate and segregate.

It was Maya Angelou who said, and I quote:

Because we have forgotten our ancestors, our children no longer give us honor.

Because we have lost the path our ancestors cleared, kneeling in perilous undergrowth, our children cannot find their way.

Because we have banished the God of our ancestors, our children cannot pray.

Because the long wails of our ancestors have faded beyond our hearing, our children cannot hear us crying.

Because we have abandoned our wisdom of mothering and fathering, our befuddled children give birth to children they neither want nor understand.

Because we have forgotten how to love, the adversary is within our gates, and holds us up to the mirror of the world shouting, “Regard the loveless.”

Therefore We Pledge to bind ourselves again to one another, to embrace our lowliest, to keep company with our loneliest, to educate our illiterate, to feed our starving, to clothe our ragged, to do all good things, knowing that we are more than keepers of our brothers and sisters.

We ARE our Brothers and Sisters.