From Sandra to Nicki

28 07 2015

Given the racially charged climate in the United States today, something as small as black women’s words can aggravate ego and catalyze death. What is occurring when a black woman uses her words on behalf of herself?

When a black woman speaks, believe her. Inquire what lives in her words. Something is there behind them. A work is happening. Revelation is occurring: the question becomes whether we are interested in revelation outside of ourselves.

Here’s a piece I wrote for Marginalia on why black women’s words matter in every context, including within popular music and at traffic stops.

Thanks in advance for the support and constructive engagement!





Shooting en Sanctum

20 07 2015

EmanuelAME

I am convinced that death haunts spaces of retreat (click to see more of my piece at Mudroom).

Unfortunately too many people know that respite is a fleeting thing. Bullet holes serve as reminders of this.

In 2012 a hole was torn into my heart. And again in 2014. And again and again. The racial violence permeating national news was too much to handle; so my heart bled, wounded, hardly consolable and never fully given enough time to heal before the next black death. This summer, for my sake and everyone around me, I needed to take a break. I thought it best to do the two things that would move my heart towards healing: writing and retreating – together.

So I did. But day two into this healing adventure, I discovered anew that hearts with holes cannot not bleed, as death forced its way back in front me reiterating its permanent and painful presence. The horrific massacre at Emanuel AME reminds me that suffering will never stop speaking. She will advocate for her voice to be heard – and so I must listen and join in her wailing and telling, lamenting and speaking, supporting her and thus being thrust into the world of ecclesial, political, communal, familial and personal accountability.

Our hearts reminds us that its bleeding is that which keeps the church feeling, in tune with suffering – living. A bleeding heart is a heart attuned to life’s beauty and ills. No one wants it. It hurts too much, but it opens the church’s eyes to pain and the aching realities of its fractured body, its spilt blood.

The deaths of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Cynthia Hurd, Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., Sharonda Singleton, Myra Thompson, Tywanza Sanders, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Susie Jackson, and Ethel Lance sparked a necessary interruption in the church’s compliance and silence practices and will prayerfully be part of the legacy of racism’s defeat, especially within the church.

Their deaths are our interruption. We should never take them lightly; in fact, we must let them interrupt us daily. Let us continue to hear them speak. I’d love your thoughts and opinions of death’s haunting nature at the Mudroom blog.








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