Photo credit: Marilyn Nieves
Northeastern Seminary students share reflections and thoughts on the life and ministry of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the 50th anniversary year of his assassination. This poem is part of a series featuring voices of students pursuing many different areas of theological study and ministry preparation. Their unique insight and response to the call to ministry provide thoughtful and moving window into the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. To read the complete series visit http://blog.nes.edu/.Grew up in white suburbia surrounded by white picket fences
Fences silently picketing things like welfare expenses,
Heard that complaint a lot, “Why can’t they just get off of welfare?”
Never stopping to wonder how it is they got there.
Racial tension was not an entity of which I was aware
In my neighborhood only whites could afford the fare
Not ‘til later in adulthood did I realize the unequal playing field
That substandard housing, education and opportunity would yield
Racism is a problem as widespread as it is deep
But it’s easy to ignore it and employ grace that is cheap
Pretend it doesn’t exist so I can live an advantaged existence
Don’t want to put the energy or sacrifice into controversial resistance
And what would I even do with this wrong needing right-ing,
Can it even begin to be accomplished in mere writing?
If I can’t fix all of it, I’m not going to try to do any
There are others whose “calling” it is out there, doing plenty
But in my honest, holy moments I know God prompts all who claim Christ
To embody all it means when we say we’re pro-life
Pro embryo, yes, but also pro immigrant and refugee
And pro those depicted as criminals on the local news story
One move, one step, to look behind what is seen
Will give you a vision beyond the distorting screen
We’re all one race, one family made in Almighty’s image
When encountering oppression, we should share our undeserved privilege.
*Lyric of Propaganda, spoken word artist.
Becky Beers is pursuing a Master of Arts in Theological Studies at Northeastern Seminary. She is active in many ministry contexts including her work in a local school district and her church home the Wesleyan Church of Hamburg.