Sometimes you run into the feelings you're trying to run away from. Last night, I hopped on the treadmill to process the day's events.
If you haven't seen the news, a racist incident against the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority occurred at American University yesterday. The day before, American University swore in its first black woman as president of Student Government. The next day, my last day of college classes actually, some students hung bananas on nooses in the trees with the words AKA.
I first heard of the incident over email. My immediate reaction was fear. For those who don't understand the significance of this crime, the bananas from trees can be interpreted as symbolizing black women alike to apes worthy of hanging. This incident was a death threat.
The incident was heartbreaking as it indicated that the racism from the last banana incident at American University is still very much alive on campus. The incident was personal. In targeting not only the student government president but also the AKAs, they threatened all black women at American University. The incident was scary. When I first found out, for a second, I thought, "I am not safe here anymore." And it's going to take time for me to feel safe on campus again knowing so much hate is hidden in the student body. For these reasons, this situation should not be taken lightly.
Truth We Need to Accept
- Racial reconciliation will not happen overnight. Even if the administration expels the students responsible, racism won't be eradicated at AU. Racial reconciliation is a community effort but in order to act as a community, first we must find unity.
- We have more prejudicial thoughts and bias than we think. I learned this lesson as a part of a racial reconciliation group this semester. God convicted me of so many terrible thoughts of prejudice, judgement and bias towards other cultures. I'm still processing that conviction and seeking healing for my prejudice. In this incident, it is not just the perpetrators who are racist. An entire community let them think it was ok to think and act that way. In order to stir racial reconciliation at AU, we need to examine ourselves. As a Christian, I see racial reconciliation as a heart matter. We need to find our implicit bias and put them aside. We need to ask God for conviction and healing so we can turn from that darkness and truly express the love of Christ in our community. (Ephesians 5:8-14)
- To my black sisters, don't let this act of hate make you forget who you are. You a beautifully made daughter of Christ, precious to Him. He holds you safe in his hands. He has the power to transforms hearts, to reconcile. He is fighting for you.
I'm writing this while walking on the treadmill. My Spotify playlist played the first song: Scars to Your Beautiful by Alessia Cara. In processing the incident, her lyrics and the scripture from Ephesians touched my spirit. The song goes:
My sisters, God is your light and hope in the darkness. You can run to Him in this time of fear. And he will accept you with open arms, so pray to Him. Find a friend to pray for you.
I pray the Lord encourages during this time. My sisters, together we mourn, together we fight, and together we stay strong.