A few weeks ago my family and I decided to attend a Black Lives Matter rally in Oakland that was geared toward children. It was our first time ever attending a protest and we didn’t know what to expect. The event itself was very meaningful and impactful. We went with friends who are daily affected by racial injustice and being able to be there to support them and others in the black community was wonderful. The children drew pictures and wrote letters to the police asking for justice and equality. There was a memorial for those who had been killed because they were people of color. And there were stations for the children to go to that gave age appropriate information on social justice, racism and how to get involved. We then marched around the the block to the police station and back again. The event was peaceful and transformative.
Before attending the rally, we were questioned by friends on why we were going. Weren’t we worried about our children’s safety? What would going achieve? And is it really a cause we wanted to support? They were tough questions, especially coming from friends. Navigating those conversations while keeping the friendship intact and being true to ourselves, was hard. But silence and not speaking up for those that are oppressed, marginalized and mistreated would have spoke louder and been harder on those who live that reality daily.
As a white, heterosexual couple with a good paying job and living in an affluent neighborhood, we don’t deal with the same struggles as those in marginalized and oppressed communities. And because of that, it is even more imperative to stand for what is right and to give back the voices to those that are marginalized. Because if we do nothing, if we are not a part of the solution, then we are part of the problem. We must acknowledge the brokenness and injustice and be a part of the process of restoration and reconciliation.
Walking in the way of Jesus calls for us to be peacemakers rather then peacekeepers. To actively pursue peace and justice on behalf of our neighbor. And demonstrating this to our children is critical to us. We are firm believers in leading by example and we don’t expect our children to do things that we are not willing to do ourselves. It is our job to show them compassion, empathy and how to treat people how they want to be treated. We want to teach our children how to be leaders, peacemakers and healers of broken systems. And it starts with our example.
Going to the rally we were able to connect with other people’s stories, to see their humanity and to raise our voices for equality together as one voice. We had to answer some hard questions and face some even harder realities. Us going to the rally didn’t have a huge impact on our judicial system but, its the start of something so much bigger and brighter. And I can only hope that our continued involvement in social justice and racial equality will help mold our children to be the leaders I know they can be.