While Covid-19 fills the news and disrupts our lives, we are reminded, sadly, it is not the only illness running amuck. Racism remains an illness to the core of our nation. While Mike and I were out walking the other night a truck with Nebraska plates drove past down Main Street. In the window was a confederate flag—a blatant dog-whistle for white supremacy.
I asked Mike, “Why? Why would anyone think that’s okay?”
When we got home, I scrolled through my Facebook feed and first learned the name Ahmaud Arbrey. He’s the unarmed young black man who was shot and killed by white men, a father and son, while he was out running in his neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia in February. At first the case was swept under the rug by local officials, but now, after good investigative journalism by the New York Times and a video of the killing became public, the case will be taken to a grand jury. Time will tell if there will be justice for Ahmaud. But no matter what, Ahmaud’s mother will never get to hug her son again. And, every young black man in the nation wonders now if he’s safe when he goes out for a run.
I’ve been to Brunswick, Georgia on vacation. It’s a lovely seaside town. But, obviously under the surface seen by tourists, there’s an ugliness there. A confederate flag in the window of a truck in Antelope County, Nebraska makes me wonder what about us? How deep is the infection of racism here? What will we do to stop its spread?
The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Galatia saying, “There is no longer Jew nor Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female, for all are one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28 NRSV). Ahmaud Arbrey was one of us. He went out running and now he’s dead.