Hey Dylann,

imageHey Dylann,

Its been a while. Its been a while since we last saw you out in full view. 1968 to be exact. You’ve been kind of hiding in corners and shadows since then…yeah, its been a while.

I wanted to let you know that since you were last here, there’ve been some changes. You see, the last time you stood in full view you really pissed us off and, well, things might play out a little differently than you may be expecting. There are a lot of people who look just like you who are downright sick over being associated with you. They look like the people you go to church with, the people in your family…the people you trust. But they aren’t you. They’ve woken up to the fact that there is no basis for hating because of the color of someone’s skin and at every turn they are determined to change what happens next. Sure, they struggle with hearing about everything you did in the past, genocide, slavery, rape…because like you, that is the history they are associated with. Unlike you, that history causes them agony; unlike you the only way forward they see is to write a new narrative. They are willing to look at all the ugly you represent and say loud and clear, “I am not that! I will not be that!” More importantly, they are willing to act on what they believe and frankly, they want to see you dead.

Another thing that has changed? All those folks who don’t look like you have now put themselves in positions of power so that when you’re looking up at a jury or a judge, there’s a good chance you will be looking in the eyes of someone who looks like the 9 innocent people you killed this week…or the people you set dogs and hoses on in 1965 or the men you lynched and castrated before that or the immigrants you abused to death at the turn of the century or the Native People you burned and raped when you arrived on their land. In fact, the highest attorney in our country is now someone who, 165 years ago, you might have taken to the woods and used. What a shame that you didn’t realize that every time she gave birth to one of your bastard children and every time you excluded those children from your family/club because of a silly “one drop” mentality, they went off and became part of an army of people who now hold your very existence in their hands.

Yes, Dylann, its been a long time since we’ve seen you in plain view. We knew you were there, just as you had been there for all those years before. But you know what, this time, we’re ready for you…we’re all ready for you and that, my friend, means there’s no escape.

– The People

Update: the following is a link to a Huff Post article that claims to have a “manifesto” from Dylann Roof : READ HERE

Praying Aloud

IMG_0262Last night I attended a vigil for the victims of the shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC and I was reminded of the power in praying aloud.  After passionate testimony from some of the clergy gathered, Rev. Leslie White of Bethel AME Church in San Diego, instructed the crowd of more than 100 to join together in small prayer circles and lift up our voices in prayer.  He indicated that it would be a song of overlapping voices and that it would be beautiful, but I had no idea how right he would be.

There were people gathered there who were of many faiths and many racial backgrounds including many from First UU San Diego; certainly there were poor and well off in the room, those of differing abilities, LGBT folks, people of all ages…it was a moment of solidarity that I have not experienced before.  And we all prayed.  We prayed to Jesus, Allah, spirit of life, merciful God, the heavens, to each other, for the dead…everyone had a unique way of praying.  It was, yes, incredibly beautiful.

But it was a reminder to me of the drastic difference between silent and audible prayer.  Silent prayer is beautiful as well.  It helps us access our inner life and journey and helps us to feel whole and directed.  But praying aloud, particularly with others, is  a public declaration and it is one way that we are able to drown out the sounds of evil in the world.

Sounds like:

“he is suffering from mental illness”

“he has no previous offenses”

“he almost didn’t do it”

“access to guns is to blame”

“the pastor not being armed is the problem”

We are all being called at this moment in time to pray aloud…in whatever way we can.  We must pray so loud that there is no other sound heard but the sound of the overwhelming love into which we are born; a love that will not excuse, tolerate or listen to acts motivated by racial hatred. Pray aloud in the 400 year old face of victimization of black people by whites.  Pray aloud in the face of assumptions about race and racial identity. Pray aloud in the face of coopted, stolen and erased histories.  Pray aloud for those who have died, that they may live in our hearts and travel with us in our actions for justice and peace. Pray so loud that the only sound that can be heard is love.

Have you prayed aloud today?