I am spending the week at the Sojourners Summit for Change in Washington DC. Jim Wallis is president and founder of Sojourners and also a New York Times bestselling author. His most recent book is America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and a Bridge to a New America.
It’s my second year at the Summit, a gathering of leaders who use faith as a means to work for justice. This year’s focus is the intersections and implications of race in our work. It’s an important conversation in our country, and one of the important voices in that dialog is Bryan Stevenson, Director of the Equal Justice Initiative.
Bryan spoke last night about our county’s historic trauma around issues of race. He says that we are a post-genocidal society that has never done the things we need to do to address the genocide that existed here.
He suggests a truth and reconciliation process that should have happened after our Civil Rights Movement. Truth and Reconciliation has been effective in South Africa after Apartheid. It has been used in Germany after the Second World War. It is at work in Rwanda.
The first step in the process of Truth and Reconciliation is hearing the stories of those who have been harmed. It’s also the first step used in bridge building for A Peace of My Mind.
So during this Summit, we are creating a series of portraits and stories from the people attending. The prompt is simple: “When did you first see constructs of race intersect with your personal experience?”
I’ll be sharing these stories over the next few days.
Bryan ended his talk with these words:
“I’ve only seen injustice end when people are willing to do uncomfortable things.”
The first step is to listen.