YES and NO
FROM Lucy Duncun at AFSC on the D.C. March:
"Yes, you are late, but now you are here. Hope you come willing to open your heart and learn from all the veterans of this Lamb’s war that have been fighting for all of us for years, for decades, for centuries.
of this Lamb's War..."
I came late, too."
"Lucy serves as Director of Friends Relations for AFSC. She has been a storyteller for 20 years and has worked with Quaker meetings on telling stories for racial justice and of spiritual experience.
Before working for AFSC, she was Director of Communications at FGC, managed QuakerBooks of FGC, and owned and managed her own children's bookstore in Omaha, The Story Monkey. She is a member of Green Street Friends Meeting (PhYM) and is the proud mom of a 14 year-old son."
"Here are some tips as you enter this work.
"Listen, listen, listen, then follow: Center the voices of women/people of color: listen and do what is asked of you. We are socialized as white women to take charge, to think our ideas are best. Stand back, listen, follow. Here’s a terrific article that goes into how to listen to support justice."
"Learn: Read books by women/people of color, learn about the legacy of liberation struggles from the people leading them from indigenous resistance movements to #BlackLivesMatter."
"Read anti-racist white folks from whose experience you can learn as well. AFSC has a terrific Denormalizing Whiteness for Racial Justice curriculum with online readings..."
"Get involved: Seek out organizations led by people of color, form relationships with them, show up, and ask what you can do. Follow through."
"Offer #SanctuaryEverywhere: #SanctuaryEverywhere is the simple idea that everyday people can come together to keep each other safe. We’ve compiled many resources to assist you in skilling up to be there for those who will be most targeted in the coming months, and years."
"Show up for #BlackLivesMatter: AFSC has endorsed the Vision for Black Lives and suggests ways to get involved and resources to study.
"Disrupt Islamophobia: AFSC has pulled together this “Dos and Don’ts for Bystander Intervention” resource and 5 things your congregation can do to stop Islamophobia.
See you in the streets."
YES AND NO
MY short response to Lucy Duncan's thoughtful article:
Good morning Lucy,
Thanks for posting this thoughtful article on "inclusion and equality."
Secondly, Yes and No:-)
it's true as you write, "you have been positioned as perpetrator and an agent of harm by the accident of your birth—that we as white folks are born with the stain and the benefit of that legacy—
It was exhilarating to be among the 500,000 people...
grateful for the newly awakened, those joining...
to oppose the deeper levels of oppression...
Hope you come willing to open your heart and learn from...this Lamb’s war..."
the March in many ways wasn't "of this Lamb's war:-(
For instance, consider that one of the central leaders of the March kept shouting harsh, demeaning, dehumanizing obscenities over and over
(that CNN didn't cut!).
How in the world is hateful, dehumanizing speech such as that, "this Lamb's war"?
Another speaker was advocating superstition, completely contrary to "this Lamb's War."
Furthermore, there was in the March, like in so many political events of the past year, a lot of exclusion, distortion, and lack of compassion.
It seems we need to remember Bayard Rustin's and Martin Luther King's emphasis on reconciliation and the treatment of "enemies" as individuals to be loved, even when we stand up against their harmful wrong speech and behavior.
In the first paragraph I agreed with you that "we as white folk are born...an agent of harm by the accident..."
BUT that doesn't mean we ought to support Black Lives Matter as an organization.
Some BLM statements totally contradict everything that "this Lamb's War" stand for.:-(
Lastly, you and the AFSC wrote, that Islam isn't..."an inherently violent religion."
I strongly disagree.
Having, myself lived in Palestine-Israel, been involved with Muslims for 55 years, studied the Quran, Islamic history, and biographies of Muhammad, etc., I think there is almost overwhelming evidence that Islam itself is unjust and immoral.
We can welcome with loving arms at least 200,000 refugees (the number I think the U.S. ought to accept; and totally reject the hateful, self-centered shout of U.S. first, U.S. first, U.S. first.)
BUT, we do need to be aware of the injustice, inequality, harm, and evil the majority of Muslims from Muhammad to the present have caused and continue to cause
-- the oppression of women, recent killings around the world by Muslims,
that most Muslims support punishment of ex-Muslims,
that many American Muslims (except for small groups of liberal Muslims such as the Muslim Reform Movement) do believe in and support the horrific verses in the Quran, the very wrong doctrine of "qadar," Sharia Law, etc.
This last year I personally spoke with two Muslim leaders after their lecture at a local mosque. It was deeply troubling that the one Muslim leader, an American professor didn't believe in freedom of religion, and that both of them supported the verse in the Quran which orders a husband to hit his wife:-(((.
I've been involved with the Quaker Movement (to one extent or another), working for human rights, etc. since I was serving as a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War in 1967 in Philadelphia and attended a Quaker meeting there.
There has been the Yes and the No in various Friends' actions, speaking of truth to power, vigils, statements, social actions, and so forth.
Let us be careful to live "this Lamb's War," as compassionate, active listening witnesses, and not get caught down
in all of the wrangling, distorting, and dehumanizing of the current political debacle,
another historic instance of the "Ocean of Darkness."