taking the words of Jesus seriously

When the world was stopped in its tracks by this pandemic, COVID-19 exposed who really matters to our society.  As I lamented yet another link in the historical chain of disproportionate suffering for the Black community, an image came to mind and troubled me for days.  So much so that I had to put it on paper.  It turned into what feels like the most sacred piece of art I’ve created.

The art is a piece called Sacred Resilience; there is a glimpse of it in this video.  In the background of the art, I wanted to put a giant oak tree to represent the ancestors who lost their lives in the struggle for freedom and who stand as our great cloud of witnesses as we continue that struggle.  I began to draw that oak tree into the background from a photo I found online.

I did not realize until days later that the very tree I had drawn into this piece was not unlike one of the oldest living things in the nation:  The Angel Oak Tree in Charleston, South Carolina, estimated at 600 years old.  Charleston was the largest slave port in the United States during the Transatlantic Slave Trade; through which nearly every enslaved African entered U.S. soil.

The realization of what I had just unknowingly put onto paper brought me to my knees for days.  There is no human still alive to bear witness to the horrors endured during the slave trade (though countless endure the generational trauma).  Yet there is one living creature that was there for it all.  This is a tribute to the enduring struggle of intergenerational racial trauma and the extraordinary resilience that has accompanied it.

About The Author


By integrating theology, sociology, and psychology, Gigi has devoted her life to healing, equipping, and mobilizing people to seek racial justice. She is the Founder/Director of Jesus and Justice, where she is a writer, artist, activist, and speaker and can be found at www.GigiOnline.org. She received her M.Div. with an emphasis in Intercultural Ministry and her B.A.in Sociology and African & African American Studies.. After growing up in E. Oakland and 30 years in the US as a Latina woman of color activist, Gigi relocated to Soweto, South Africa for ten years, the most racially polarized country in the world, where she was considered WHITE. It was the greatest identity crisis of her life and became the most important training ground. While in South Africa she fostered and adopted two very precious little boys whom she named Jericho and Judah.

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