Black Lives Matter.

Although we ought not to change our former resolutions in time of desolation, it is very profitable to make vigorous changes in ourselves against the desolation, for example, by insisting on more prayer, meditation, earnest self-examination, and some suitable way of doing penance. – St. Ignatius Loyola, SE 319

Ignatius urges us not to make decisions in times of desolation, however, he also reminds us that these times of desolation are not to be times of complacency.

Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. George Floyd.

“They didn’t have to die” is something I have heard over the past week and it has brought me great pain and clarity. Often when hearing about someone being killed, there is back and forth about context, circumstances, and legality. I have been a part of these conversations in the past, I remember vividly “waiting to gather all the facts” when hearing about the death of Trayvon Martin. What I often don’t hear in these conversations is the specific, searing, and compounding pain these conversations and this waiting is inflicting on Black lives.

I was reminded this weekend reading the following from Roxane Gay,

Racism is litigated over and over again when another video depicting another atrocity comes to light. Black people share the truth of their lives, and white people treat those truths as intellectual exercises.

When I take time to do what Ignatius described, “earnest self-examination” I realize there’s something much deeper at work, something sinister that needs to be faced – racism.

Why am I waiting in the first place?

What am I waiting to do? Grieve? Pray? Advocate?

Would I wait if the life lost was a member of my family?

“Waiting to gather all the facts” is a hurtful false cover to hide behind, failing to open myself up to the painful truth that the real fact – there is suffering, and the real question – am I willing to do something about it?

Acting is difficult because it requires a great deal of ownership and deprogramming. This can happen by listening – not as an intellectual exercise, but with my heart as well. This can happen by learning – not just figuring out what to say or do or not to say or do, but how to be helpful, not hurtful. This can happen by praying and working – not just for peace, but for reconciliation for there is no peace without reconciliation, no peace without justice.

I need to advocate and fight – showing the love I know God has for me and putting it in action. Changing my way of proceeding from avoiding being racist to being antiracist, as Dr. Ibram X. Kendi calls us to be, standing with those who are being oppressed, victimized, and even killed, is a conversion Pedro Arrupe, S.J. spoke to when he wrote,

To be just, it is not enough to refrain from injustice. One must go further and refuse to play its game, substituting love for self-interest as the driving force of society.

Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. George Floyd.

“They didn’t have to die.”

The death and hurt caused by racism and police brutality have brought me pain and clarity – there is only one way of proceeding, they are members of my family, and they didn’t have to die for me to be reminded of this.

So, what now?

For me, today, it is taking these words from Fr. Bryan N. Massingale to heart:

For all of my white friends, today: please consider this article and the one above, with your hearts.

For all my white friends, tomorrow and in the future: let’s do what is necessary, and whatever it takes to end racism.

Black Lives Matter.

One thought on “Black Lives Matter.

  1. Brendan
    I have been unable to stop crying over this for days. My heart is shattered I feel helpless I can’t wrap my brain around how others feel. Thanks for sharing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.