Monthly Archives: April 2017

Walking Through, Not Away

We often talk about how much our work in building Beloved Community is based on relationship, and how a willingness to do anti-racism work requires a commitment to proximity, to “getting close” to problems, situations and people.

Many of us feel blessed by the bonds developed in the course of learning hard truths, sharing terrible burdens, and forging plans of action. But we also have encountered the challenges that are part of all human relationships, at times feeling as frustrated with our companions in this work as we do with the opposition to our efforts.

It is tempting to feel our movement is faltering, that we cannot waste time and effort in working through differences when there is so much work to be done in dealing with those who do not yet share our conviction to “undo” racism.

But we cannot tackle racism, one of the most intractable of human problems, without stirring up deeply-held feelings. Managing our frustration with one another and our despair with the steepness of the hill we are trying to climb is not a small part of our work.

All of us actively involved in CCGTX walked through the door with hearts already convinced of the moral wrongness of racism. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Six Steps of Nonviolent Social Change have been held up repeatedly as the road map we are following, and most of us have plunged into Steps One and Two of Dr. King’s Six Steps with some eagerness.

Now we are engaged with the tasks of Steps Three and Four, having come far enough into the process to have encountered the emotional toll and spiritual challenges that accompany this work. This is where we need to put our hearts and minds to considering the nuts and bolts of the task of living out the principles we espouse.

And we find that our work can be as much with ourselves and with each other as it is with those who oppose us.

Just repeating the steps on the road map will not suffice, and we find we need concrete instruction on walking through conflicts with our integrity and love remaining intact.

Perhaps the whites among us, unaccustomed to not getting our own way, struggle with this more than people of color as we have come to expect the world to yield to our wishes.

In any case, we all need help in learning HOW to do what we know we need to do.

To that end, our Core Group is exploring concrete steps we can take. A conflict-resolution model will be examined within the group and we look forward to reporting outcomes and lessons learned to our wider community.

Susan Wukasch
Chair, Cultural and Historical Accuracy Learning/Action Group

Toward the Beloved Community: Lessons from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

On April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made the ultimate sacrifice of giving his life for the cause of justice and freedom for all people in America and around the world.  He often described his aim as the creation of the “beloved community.”

Dr. King had traveled to Memphis, Tenn., to seek just wages for the garbage collectors of that city.  Although he had earned a PhD., the highest educational attainment one can achieve, and although his profession afforded him recognition in the middle socioeconomic class of America, Dr. King did not consider himself too high above his neighbors to walk alongside “the least of these.”

What lessons can we learn from this man of God?

First, we learn that his focus was justice for ALL people.

Second, we learn that his purpose was to do God’s will—to create the “beloved community.”

Third, we learn that he had a plan based on the “Six Principles of Nonviolence” and the “Six Steps for Nonviolent Social Change.”

Fourth, we learn from him the virtue of patience—he marched, he strategized. He was not satisfied with short-term achievements; he was looking for long-term creation of the  “beloved community.”

Fifth, we learn from his persistence. He kept coming back, even until his death. The evening before his assassination, he delivered the speech in which he stated, “I have been to the mountaintop and I have seen the promised land (the beloved community.)  I may not get there with you, but one day we as a people will get there!”

I pray that we who are committed to the Courageous Conversations movement will learn and apply these lessons from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

To God be the glory!

Ron Swain
Convener