taking the words of Jesus seriously

There is a cry in crisis. It’s the kind of tears that Harriet Tubman cried, the kind of tears Sojourner Truth cried. And when they cried, they didn’t go somewhere and fold up. They kept being more and more determined.

It’s that cry that my mama used to tell me about when she said, “Black women can cry and fight at the same time.” She said, “That cry, that cry, it makes you dangerous to the forces of injustice.” And this moment is going to take a movement of consciousness. Our families are crying, but through their tears, some of them are saying, if our loved ones have to die, their deaths can’t be in vain.

We’ve got to honor their death. We got to honor their death, and the [way] that we honor their death is that we’ve got to come out of this pandemic and . . . fight for change so that this never, ever happens again. We’ve got to cry like that, y’all.

I asked the question the other day, “Could this be the moment, all of this pain, when the death of our fellow Americans may just very well cause us to get up from our apathy . . . ”

Watch the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II’s full sermon, “Cries in Crisis Can Change Things,” here.

About The Author


The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II is Pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church and President of Repairers of the Breach. He has served as president of the North Carolina NAACP, the largest state conference in the South, since 2006 and sits on the National NAACP Board of Directors. A former Mel King Fellow at MIT, he is currently Visiting Professor of Public Theology and Activism at Union Theological Seminary and is a Senior Fellow at Auburn Seminary. Rev. Barber is author of the best-selling The Third Reconstruction: How A Moral Movement Is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear.

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