March is almost done can you believe it! I don’t know about you but this month has had its ups and downs on my end. Globally we are going through the crisis in Ukraine where not only did we see evil in the form of bombs but also we saw the evil of racism on fully display when African students and works were unable to have access to the same means to escape the country as white Ukrainians. It was a reminder for me that the fight for racial justice is global and it is necessary to fight it in times of peace so that it will not be an impediment on our society in times of war. Viva Ukraine and every day I’m praying peace will come and the Russian attacks will stop.
In the states, last week was the hearings to confirm Judge Ketanji Jackson. I like so many people was so excited when she was nominated but I also knew that I wouldn’t be able to watch the hearings because of the racism I knew would come her way. But a beautiful moment came out of those hearings that I just keep replaying- Cory Booker’s speech during his time to question her. I loved how he used his time to uplift and encourage her and remind us all of the joy that exists in this moment and that nothing will take that away. The pride of seeing black women even be nominated is an amazing thing to behold.
Cory Booker’s words resonated with me deeply because I often felt that I could not have joy about great things while I attended middle school and high school. I will never forget when I was in 8th grade and it was the first election of President Obama and the pride and joy I felt about having a black President and how throughout the day when I would express that joy, it would get dismissed with comments like,
“It doesn’t matter that he won. My parents didn’t vote for him anyway.”
“Wow it’s kind of wrong for you to be so happy for him just because he’s Black.”
Those students (and teachers) who made this comments to me did not understand what it felt like to not have a president who looked like them, so I forgive them. But what I realized I have a hard time forgiving is the fact that they took my joy in the representation that President Obama brought to millions of black children like me.
One of the things harmful about going to any predominantly white school is that it steals the space for black joy. Even today I notice myself making my joy smaller when I’m in white spaces, even with family for fear that it might be dismissed. But I’m learning that joy is from God and that what God gives no man can take away.
So although there is so much evil going on in this world I’m choosing to cling to these verses:
“The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.” Proverbs 10:28 ESV
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 ESV
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13 ESV
“For YOU are our glory and joy.” 1 Thessalonians 2:20 ESV
May the joy of the Lord be YOUR strength today and always no matter where he chooses to give it to you. Today I’m choosing to rejoice in the fact that a black woman – who also is a fellow sister in Christ- is getting her time to shine.