In Honor of Black History Month – A Poem and a Lament of White Privilege

Diverse Friends

Diverse Friends

I have decided to take the risk of offending you

To gently ask that you join me too
To wake up and make a move
Towards what we know is true
I have decided to open my eyes wide
To notice the turning of the tide
To pay attention to those in pain
And stand with them side by side
I have decided to open my ears
To no longer be controlled by my fears
To grow and to learn something new
Though I am late and full of years

I have decided to take the risk of offending you

To gently ask that you join me too
To wake up and make a move
Towards what we know is true
There is work to do and it’s not too late
We are needed to advocate
(Though we are white and somewhat fragile)
To move a mountain of ignorance and hate
Our first work is to lament
Centuries of damage, discord and blood spent
There is far too much history
To rush in like a savior sent

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Oh God, have mercy on us and hear our prayers

We have enjoyed our privilege and not listened to the cries of the oppressed
Instead we listened to voices minimizing or denying this oppression

We have turned our backs on their suffering, segregating ourselves
In neighborhoods and schools

For this we ask forgiveness

We have not fully acknowledged our history
Of white supremacy, injustice, violence, genocide and slavery

We have hid behind our shame and fear instead

We have not listened to voices of our brothers and sisters of color
Asking us to take another look at our history.

For this we ask forgiveness

Help us to grieve and to mourn the past and the present racial injustice
Help us to open our ears, our eyes, and especially our hearts
Soften our hearts where they have grown indifferent and cold

O God, have mercy on us and forgive us

Help us turn from the injustice
That is still systemic in our nation
Help us to understand what needs to be done
To undo and untangle racial injustice from our systems of
Justice, Education, Housing, Medicine, and Employment

For this we ask for your help and strength
O God, have mercy on us and hear our prayers
Amen

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