taking the words of Jesus seriously

Yesterday, we laid to rest our dear brother George Floyd. His murder inspired me to contemporized this classic Franciscan prayer for this Kairos moment.

May God bless you with holy anger at white supremacy, police brutality, and racial oppression, so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people.

May God bless you with the gift of tears to shed with those who suffer from systemic racism, xenophobia, and anti-blackness, so that you may sacrificially reach out to them in love, learn how to stand in solidarity with them, and work alongside them to transform broken systems and structures.

May God bless us with enough foolishness to believe that we really CAN make a difference in this world, so that we are able, with God’s grace, to help the Church do what others claim cannot be done: truly become an interconnected Body, where when one part suffers, every part suffers with it.

In 1961, W.E.B. DuBois, wrote, “How shall Integrity face Oppression? What shall Honesty do in the face of Deception, Decency in the face of Insult, Self-Defense before Blows? How shall Desert and Accomplishment meet Despising, Detraction, and Lies? What shall Virtue do to meet Brute Force? There are so many answers and so contradictory; and such differences for those on the one hand who meet questions similar to this once a year or once a decade, and those who face them hourly and daily.”

READ: De-Creating Whiteness

Those of us who face these questions hourly are weary and our souls are downcast today. We join the psalmist in crying out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.” 

And, yet, we know, like Dr. King declared in 1968, there are two Americas. The other America are those whom DuBois said are confronted with these questions once a year or once a decade. Many people in this America are authentically searching for greater clarity and understanding. They are sincerely trying to understand what has led us to this moment as a nation. I curated this historic resource—of poetry, song, Scripture, books, & viewings—to help answer this question.

 Three historic pieces to remember in this time

  1. Dr. King on the cause of the 1967 Detroit Riots
  2. Black Wall Street
  3. The Case for Reparations 

Read

  1. The Color of Compromise (small group curriculum)
  2. Rethinking Incarceration: Advocating for Justice that Restores (free video-based small group curriculum for this book)
  3. Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases
  4. The Cross and the Lynching Tree 
  5. I Bring the Voices of My People
  6. The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race
  7. Stamped from the Beginning
  8. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
  9. Between the World and Me
  10. Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present

Watch

  1. Just Mercy which has been made free for the month of June (I also wrote this film discussion guide)
  2. When They See Us (Netflix)
  3. True Justice
  4. Slavery by Another Name
  5. I Am Not Your Negro
  6. 3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets
  7. Interview with James Cone
  8. Sermon from Otis Moss III
  9. Lecture by Willie Jennings
  10. Devotional from Efrem Smith

Listen

Racial Righteousness & Lament Playlist

Lamentations and Prayer

Poems

  1. The Kids Who Die
  2. Who but The Lord?
  3. Refugee in America
  4. I, Too
  5. Harlem
  6. Let America Be America Again
  7. Caged Bird
  8. We Wear the Mask
  9. Ballad Of Birmingham
  10. Afterimages

High Schoolers
Watch:
1. Just Mercy
2. Hidden Figures
3. Selma
4. The Great Debaters
5. Salute documentary (Amazon Prime)
6. The Secret Life of Bees
7. Betty & Coretta
8. 42
9. Pride
10. Four Little Girls Documentary (Spike Lee)
11. Something the Lord Made
* The final 4 recommendations might be best for Jr’s & Sr’s
12. When They See Us *some foul language
13. Malcolm X (starring Denzel Washington) *some foul language
14. BlacKkKlansman *some foul language
15. Watchmen (HBO) *some nudity & foul language

 

Read:
1. All American Boys by Justin Reynolds & Brendan Kiely
2, Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham
3. I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina
4. March (Trilogy Slipcase Set), by John Lewis
5. The Silence of Our Friends, by Mark Long, Jim Demonakos,
6. Calling My Name by Liara Tamani
7. The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds0
8. X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon
9. This Side of Home by Renée Watson
10. Monster by Walter Dean Myers
11. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
12. The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson
13. A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney
14. Dear Martin by Nic Stone
15. Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Middle schoolers
Watch:
1. Akeelah and the Bee
2. Ruby Bridges
3. 42
4. Dancing in the Light the Janet Collins story
5. Selma Lord Selma
6. Remember the Titans
7. Hidden Figures
8. Watsons Go to Birmingham
9. Glory Road
10. “The Breathtaking Courage of Harriet Tubman

Read:
1. Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
2. The Lions of Little Rock, by Kristin Levine
3. Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson
4. Through My Eyes, (1999) by Ruby Bridges
5. One Crazy Summer, by Rita Williams-Garcia
6. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred D. Taylor
7. We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March by Cynthia Levinson
8. The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963
9. Sugar, by Jewell Parker Rhodes
10. Glory Be, (2014), by Augusta Scattergood
11. The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
12. Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz
13. Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose
14. Breakthrough!: How Three People Saved “Blue Babies” and Changed Medicine Forever by Jim Murphy
15. Double Victory: How African American Women Broke Race and Gender Barriers to Help Win World War II by Cheryl Mullenbach

Elementary students
Watch:
1. Garrett’s Gift
2. Hair Love  (won Best Animated Short Film at the 2020 Academy Awards)
3. The Journey of Henry Box Brown
4. Our Friend Martin
5. Ruby Bridges
6. Duke Ellington… and more stories to celebrate great figures in African American history
7. Torchlighters: The Harriet Tubman Story
8. March On!… and More Stories About African American History

Read:
1. Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine
2. The Breaking News, by Sarah Lynne Reul
3. She Came to Slay: The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman by Erica Armstrong Dunbar
4. Love to Langston by Tony Medina
5. Howard Thurman’s Great Hope by Kai Jackson Issa and Arthur L. Dawson
6. Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race, by Margot Lee Shetterly
7. Mae Among the Stars, by Roda Ahmed (Author), Stasia Burrington (Illustrator)
8. Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History, by Vashti Harrison
9. Something happened in our town” by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins and Ann Hazzard.
10. I Love My Hair!, by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
11. Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13, by Helaine Becker
12. The Little Rock Nine and the Fight for Equal Education [graphic novel], by Gary Jeffrey
13. Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins, by Carole Boston Weatherford
14. I Am Enough, by Grace Byers
15. Little Melba and Her Big Trombone by Russell-Brown
16. Let the Children March, by Monica Clark-Robinson
17. Child of the Civil Rights Movement, by Paula Young Shelton (Author)
18. Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down, by Andrea Davis Pinkney
19. The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist, by Cynthia Levinson
20. We March, by Shane W. Evans

About The Author

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Dominique DuBois Gilliard is the author of the new book "Rethinking Incarceration: Advocating for Justice That Restores" and the director of racial righteousness and reconciliation for the Love Mercy Do Justice (LMDJ) initiative of the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC). He serves on the boards of directors for the Christian Community Development Association and Evangelicals for Justice. In 2015, he was selected as one of the ECC’s “40 Under 40” leaders to watch, and Huffington Post named him one of the “Black Christian Leaders Changing the World.” An ordained minister, he has served in pastoral ministry in Atlanta, Chicago, and Oakland.

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