Ann Harris –

Since 2016, something has really changed for me in the way that I feel when I am out in public spaces or traveling around the state or country. Up until then, I had rarely felt uncomfortable being in all-white spaces. Maybe I had been naïve. Maybe people who held racist beliefs had been around me all that time, but they had not shown it. After the 2016 election, I have become aware, and sometimes hyper-aware, that I may not always be as welcome as I had thought or that people may be judging me by the color of my skin and not seeing me as an individual.

The thing that has been most hopeful for me during this summer of 2020 has been the awakening of white people and of ALL of us, to learn what has gotten us to this place. The history… true history of this country and of our state. How specific racist policies have been in place since the very beginning. How many of them were not dismantled until fairly recently.

Some wonder why there are so few black people in Oregon. It is linked to the history that legislation in 1843 excluded blacks from being here. If we did not leave, we were subject to lashing. Oregon was the only free state admitted to the Union with an exclusion clause in its constitution. This law was not repealed until 1926. Other racist language in the Oregon constitution was not removed until 2002!

MLK QuoteA news story yesterday, hit me very hard… I learned that our administration has banned trainings on Diversity Equity and Inclusion for government employees, claiming that these trainings are divisive and anti-American.

We come to this vigil because we are about building the dream of Dr. King. The dream of the Beloved Community… He said that in the Beloved Community, there will be no more poverty, hunger, homelessness, or war. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry, and prejudice will be replaced by a spirit of sister and brotherhood.

We building the Beloved Community by becoming educated so that we dismantle the untruths and learn the real truth… so that we can truly see each other as individuals and fully understand when Dr. King meant when he said, “All of us are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

What this says to me is that we can’t build the Beloved Community by ourselves… we have to do it together… We have to continue to learn, to push each other, and to reject any attempts to stop that learning. The learning has to take place at all levels… from our schools, to our churches, to our workplaces. Because it is hard… probably impossible … to act to dismantle racism … when we do not fully understand its origins and policies.

In our world, there are forces at work that are steering us towards ignorance and deep division. But my hope is rekindled every week when I see you all and we come together. I feel seen, I feel heard, I feel known.

Thank you all and let’s continue together down this path and let’s speak out against any attempts to shut down our learning and the progress we are making to build the Beloved Community.

Justice Resources

Books, Articles, Documentaries, Movies, TV Shows

Check out our recommended racial and social justice resources

More From the Justice Blog

An Invitation to Share Your Story

An Invitation to Share Your Story

We're looking for local people to write about their experiences of growing toward anti-racism. Do you have a story to tell? Did you know that racism...

Addicted to Racism

Addicted to Racism

Andy Wade - Hello, my name is Andy Wade, and I’m addicted to racism What if we began our responses as White Americans with this statement? Listening...

Disturbed, Destabilized, but Determined

Disturbed, Destabilized, but Determined

Andy Wade - I am disturbed by what I’m seeing and hearing. I’m disturbed not only by what I’m seeing and hearing but by what's revealed about myself...

This… Must… Change…

This… Must… Change…

Molly Davis -- There is this logging road we hike once or twice a week. Over the course of 1.7 miles we gain 1000’ in elevation while hiking through...

We Know Better Now

We Know Better Now

Andy Wade - We know better now. Don’t we?' Way back then in times of “savages” and slaves, perhaps they didn’t know better. Still, as ones formed in...

Black Suffragists

Black Suffragists

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper In the nineteenth century, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper was an influential abolitionist, suffragist, and reformer who...

Maybe

Maybe

John Combs July 10 Maybe The poverty of my privilege has robbed me Of experiences and beauty that should beguile me. Blinded by my history’s...

My Journey Toward Anti-Racism

My Journey Toward Anti-Racism

For many years, I have resisted uncomfortable conversations about race and white privilege. My sister has for many years challenged our family to engage in discussions about race and I have resisted, asking her explicitly to stop bringing those topics to the dinner table. I did not want to engage in dialogues about racism because I felt that I did not know enough and if I said something it would show my ignorance. I often felt if I did not say anything offensive or negative to someone of color, then no one could prove I was racist.

My Journey Toward Justice Education

My Journey Toward Justice Education

Evelyn Charity - My name is Evelyn Charity and I am one of five daughters whose mother was born to sharecropper parents in Arkansas in 1918. She and...

Share This

Share this post with your friends!