By Jerri Lange
When a young white man entered a Black church in South Carolina and massacred nine people who were worshipping God, America was shaken to its core.
The people who for so long had held this country up to the world as a beacon of light found it steeped in darkness.
The only explanation uttered by the young killer was that “Black people are taking over.” I am sure millions of incarcerated Black men must have wondered what he was talking about.
Many of these men were taken off the street without evidence or proper legal assistance and sentenced to two- or 30 years detention. After serving most of that time in prison, some of them are released because of lack of evidence.
The young man also spoke about “Black men raping our women.” In a country where Black slaves produced brown, beige, and ‘high yellow’ people, one wonders how he missed that.
But as we all know, truth and evidence have never stopped people with power from acting on their beliefs.
So when it came down to the family members of the victims’ response to this horrible crime, each family offered “forgiveness”!
The people brought to America over 400 years ago had faced a killer with love. After all their hardships, enduring lynchings, inequality and second class citizenship, their struggle had led them to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour: “Amazing Grace, How Sweet The Sound.”
There are many lessons here, but the one that is probably the most obvious is: “And the last shall be first.”
Why? Because it was never about the money nor the power. It was always about the love and forgiveness. These people – “The salt of the earth” – were always the richest people in the world… and still are!
They probably prayed while they were whipped, hoping one day their tormenters would the light. Now the whole world sees it because God showed us the way – not in color – but in Black and White.
So what do we take from this?
It was never about the color of the skin, but the beauty of the heart and soul. They sang spirituals to tell the world what they were feeling, but no on appreciated the strength and faith in God it took to do this.
The battle before us now transcends people of color. This is an American problem, and we will have to fight it together as a community under attack – we must rescue ourselves.
It will be difficult, but this lesson should enable us to probe the inner workings of the great minds of the founding fathers, ideas that still await our action to make them reality and to read and understand them for the first time.
What I never understood was how could we hear these words spoken for almost 400 years and never understand their meaning. It is a mystery.
The reason so many immigrants come to this country is because of the power of the intent of our founding fathers to make this a more perfect world – to all work together for a greater good.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain Inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
Perhaps now we can face each other equally and try to bring about what the founding fathers had in their hearts and minds all the time: that all men and women, under God, are created equal.