We are residents, members of local churches and community groups who came together a year ago, in common cause to—
• learn about the enslavement of African peoples and the impact on our society today
• raise our awareness of racial and social injustice
• share what we learn and
• through dialogue and inclusion, work toward building a “beloved community.”
We believe talking, listening, and truly knowing each other can begin to dispel the hate, fear, racism and despair felt by so many Americans.
In April (2019) we visited The National Memorial for Peace and Justice and The Legacy Museum, in Montgomery, Alabama, which document the terrorism and lynching of thousands of black people in the US over 80 years.
We were moved, by the hundreds of weathered steel columns—physical reminders, each bearing the name of a county and the people who were lynched there—many whose names are still “unknown”—lynched for
reasons like: “walking past a window where a white woman was
taking a bath;” or like Laura Nelson and her teenaged son who were lynched without trial in Oklahoma, in 1911, after a white man was found dead.
We came to understand how the system of slavery never really ended but, as a New York Times article noted, it “…evolved: from the family-shattering domestic slave trade to the decades of lynching terror, to the suffocating segregation of Jim Crow to the age of mass incarceration in which we now
And so, we committed to continue learning; to engaging in honest–if sometimes painful conversation; to hearing and recognizing the different experiences of America that we have had and continue to have, and to make a difference by building a beloved community dedicated to hearing all voices.
We know as Maya Angelou said–“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”
Dedicated to the memory of Rev. John H Burns 1947-2019.
Material taken from National Memorial Photo Journal and NYTimes article by Campbell Robertson, April 25, 2018 “A Lynching Memorial is Opening. The Country Has Never Seen Anything Like It.”