Painful Reminders Of Injustice

Sheila Wise Rose has written a very insightful and penetrating book I have been reading this week called “Healing Racial Trauma.” At the very beginning of the book, she quotes Martin Luther King’s speech he made in 1968.

“In the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard.”

We have certainly seen Dr. King's quote play out this past week across the country. We have witnessed our own urban centers become protest sites in response to the deep-rooted and ongoing pain and trauma of racism. 

We grieve with our brothers and sisters in the Black community. In 10 days, viral videos have confronted our country again with racist realities. 

In some respect, they reveal nothing new. What we are seeing is the uncovering of deep wounds. They are painful reminders of the injustices that we are all too familiar with because they have been repeated throughout history. 

People who are peacefully protesting do so because they have been “unheard.”

Within that context, Sheila makes this profound statement in her book — 

“I believe that riots are also the language of the unhealed.”

How true that is. The frustration, anger and bitterness are symptomatic of a history of injustice and prejudice that we must confront while at the same time create venues of healing. Indeed it is complicated, but as followers of Jesus, we must embrace the hope that each of us can be healing agents that brings his creation together.  

That is the ministry that God has given every follower of Jesus. “He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” 1 Corinthians 5:19

Every opportunity to listen is a chance to heal. Every moment we lament with our brothers and sisters, we provide a platform of compassion that  can open the door to healing the wounds that are so deeply woven in the fabric of our culture. 

Every time we speak out against injustice, we decide to confront evil and overcome it with good. When we give people a voice, we empower them to no longer live as victims, but as God’s work of art-made to glorify our Creator.

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be un-lived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” (Maya Angelou)

Gino Grunberg