A Concerted Movement

As we prepare to brace for impact and then move forward in the next several years, I pray we can begin to develop a more concerted movement.  A concerted movement as opposed to individual groups and organizations doing a variety of things is preferable and will have more impact.  The Oxford English Dictionary defines the adjective “concerted” as meaning “arranged by mutual agreement; agreed upon, pre-arranged; planned, contrived; done in concert.” Let’s meet, talk, plan and then do.

  • As suggestions, I believe we need at least:
  • An Active front
  • A Peaceful Protest front
  • A Political front
  • A Relationship Building front
  • An Education front

No one front is more valuable or necessary than the other but collectively will yield a truly transformed society not merely just outward changes.  A truly transformed society will benefit everyone and our country will thrive and grow.

If you’re not involved in any of these fronts, I suggest you:

  • Figure out what fits best with your personality, skills and status
  • Know it will be challenging no matter which one you choose
  • Get off the sidelines, quit just praying and do the work you feel called to perform

Figure out what fits – Pray about it.  Also,  you will want to consult with those who know you personally and professionally.  They can help you assess personality, skills and especially status.  We often undervalue our status in relation to our ability to influence others and connect with others.

Know it will be challenging – We are not just talking about making things better, we are talking about transformation.  Transformation is a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance. The processes for this to occur will necessarily be challenging and depending upon your previous experiences, the challenges will increase or decrease. You will want to surround yourself with a support system that will be encouraging, sympathetic, affirming and relentless in not allowing you to quit.

Get off the sidelines – Too many people (in particular religious people) hide behind their religious veil rather than being and doing. I am not saying that we don’t need people to be in prayer. We need more people earnestly praying now more than ever. However, your prayer needs to be coupled with work. Faith in action or as the title of a book suggests – Faith is a Verb[1] – is required. Pray about where you fit, who you fit with (which organization) and then start the work.

Visible Unity, Inc. (the organization I started) does relationship building and just a little bit of education.  Contact me if this is where you fit.  If you just want direction, support or anything else, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  I am trying to connect with other organizations in the Dallas area working on a variety of these fronts.  I am already connected with several but any names of organizations, groups or churches you know of would be great.

Blessings

Pam

[1]Stokes, Kenneth, 1989

What to Do?

I could spout out all kinds of words, scriptures, etc. today but I choose instead to quote from an older, white, Christian man who offers two suggestions on how we move forward.

“Where must we start as Christians and faithful churches after such a devastating election that brings the most dangerous man to the White House that we have seen in our lifetimes?

 First, we must reach out in solidarity and protection to those who feel and are most vulnerable — undocumented immigrants, young black and brown Americans, and Muslims.

 Second, we must make very public and very clear: Honest and prophetic truth-telling about race in America will be needed as never before in our time — especially from white Christians, who must call for the replacement of white identity politics with faith identity politics. Whiteness is an idol that has separated white Christians from God. Nothing less than biblical repentance from the white identity politics that dominated this election, and even most white churches, is now required from all of us white people in America who call ourselves Christian.

Solidarity must be very practical: Churches may need to open themselves up as sanctuaries taking in the undocumented immigrants whom Donald Trump has pledged to deport. Massive civil disobedience may be called for. And if the federal government and its agencies will not protect young people of color from the violence of racial profiling, religious communities, denominational leaders, local pastors, and congregations will have to. Meetings that insist on dialogue and accountability with local sheriffs and law enforcement officials will be necessary. And Christians in particular will have to defend and protect the religious liberty of Muslims in America.

All this will be risky and costly. Thus, it will be important that our first call is to go deeper into our faith, to find the courage to act, stand alongside our brothers and sisters under attack, and to confront the “principalities and powers.” Perhaps the most encouraging calls to me since the election results last night have come from young people of all ethnicities — many of whom I know well and have mentored. Several have independently said, “I just wanted you to know that I AM IN for whatever this will require of us.””

(Jim Wallis is president of Sojourners. His book, America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America, is available now. Follow Jim on Twitter @JimWallis.)

For his full article and a very quick and good read, click here.

If you’re not sure how to do this, contact me.  If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, contact me.  If you’re not sure you understand all the issues, contact me.  If you just want to complain and say you feel bad but don’t want to do anything, then don’t contact me.  I’ll pray for you.

Lord God, please bless all of the people in America.

Pam

A Problem and A Solution

A Problem

I was reading a Facebook post of an African American veteran explaining why he was protesting in Charlotte. There were things they were not allowed to do in the country we were at war with (shooting unarmed people) but those things were being done here in the US against US citizens.

It got me to thinking, there is a war. Racism is so imbedded in our structure as a country that it’s akin to white people being at war with black people.  That’s why with all the different “War on” – black people were targeted.  War on Crime, War on Drugs, War on Terrorism, etc.

A Solution

I was also just reading an article about the UN being concerned about the plight of African Americans here in the US. The UN committee visited the US and suggests some reparations are in order for African Americans.  They recommend this because of the history but also because the present escalation of police killings of African Americans is reminiscent of the history.

Suggestions include reparations to African-American descendants of slavery (better education, prison reform, better job opportunities and yes even, money), establish a national human rights commission and publicly acknowledge that the trans-Atlantic slave trade was a crime against humanity.

America, we have other countries looking at our atrocities.  Isn’t it time to do something about all of this.  Please feel free to contact me about joining a Unity Process group and work to begin getting to know diverse people, having healthy conversations about race, and joining in the fight.

Blessings

Pam

Excerpts from some Articles

By JESSE J. HOLLAND, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States should consider reparations to African-American descendants of slavery, establish a national human rights commission and publicly acknowledge that the trans-Atlantic slave trade was a crime against humanity, a United Nations working group said Friday.

The U.N. Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent released its preliminary recommendations after more than a week of meetings with black Americans and others from around the country, including Baltimore, Chicago, New York City, the District of Columbia and Jackson, Mississippi.

After finishing their fact-finding mission, the working group was “extremely concerned about the human rights situation of African-Americans,” chair Mireille Fanon Mendes-France of France said in the report. “The colonial history, the legacy of enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism and racial inequality in the U.S. remains a serious challenge as there has been no real commitment to reparations and to truth and reconciliation for people of African descent.”

For example, Mendes-France compared the recent deaths of unarmed black men like Michael Brown and Eric Garner at the hands of police to the lynchings of black men in the South from the post-Civil War days through the Civil Rights era. Those deaths, and others, have inspired protests around the country under the Black Lives Matter moniker.

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton Same Responses on Reparations

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders caused a stir when he stated he does not support reparations for slavery on the grounds that such a program would be “very divisive” and would never pass Congress. Hillary Clinton when asked never gave a straight answer instead suggest that money be invested in funding under privileged neighborhoods . However both have a history in reparations for a certain group. Holocaust survivors. Sanders-sponsored a bill but never came up for a vote. Clinton is also on the same page as Sanders. During her husband’s administration, she was given an award by the World Jewish Congress for helping obtain reparations from the Swiss and German governments.

“Contemporary police killings and the trauma it creates are reminiscent of the racial terror lynchings in the past,” she told reporters. “Impunity for state violence has resulted in the current human rights crisis and must be addressed as a matter of urgency.”

Some of the working group’s members, none of whom are from the United States, said they were shocked by some of the things they found and were told.

For example, “it’s very easy in the United States for African-Americans to be imprisoned, and that was very concerning,” said Sabelo Gumedze of South Africa.

Federal officials say 37 percent of the state and federal prison populations were black males in 2014. The working group suggests the U.S. implement several reforms, including reducing the use of mandatory minimum laws, ending racial profiling, ending excessive bail and banning solitary confinement.

“What stands out for me is the lack of acknowledgement of the slave trade,” said Ricardo A. Sunga III, who lives in the Philippines.

The working group suggests monuments, markers and memorials be erected in the United States to facilitate dialogue, and “past injustices and crimes against African-Americans need to be addressed with reparatory justice.”

The group will suggest several U.S. changes to improve human rights for African-Americans, which also include establishing a national human rights commission, ratifying international human rights treaties, asking Congress to study slavery and its aftereffects and considering reparations .

The Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent was established in 2002 by the then-Commission on Human Rights, following the World Conference against Racism in 2001.

It also visited the United States in 2010, where its final report found similar problems, including blacks facing disproportionately high unemployment, lower income levels, less access to education, “problematic access to quality health-care services and the high incidence of certain health conditions, electoral disenfranchisement and structural issues in the administration of justice (in particular incarceration rates).”

The current panel will give its final findings to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva in September.

U.N. Experts Recommend US Reparations For Slavery

After 14 years, and 20 days of speaking with U.S. officials, activists, and families of people killed by police in major American cities, a United Nations working group is getting into the fray on U.S. racial discrimination.The group has reached the conclusion the slave trade was a crime against humanity and the U.S. government should pay reparations. A French member of the working group of U.N. experts, Mireille Fanon-Mendes-France, said after their meetings in the U.S., “Contemporary police killings and the trauma it creates are reminiscent of the racial terror lynching in the past.” The U.N. experts traveled to major cities including: Washington D.C., Baltimore, Jackson, Mississippi, Chicago, and New York City. Several years ago, both the U.S. Senate and House, in separate bills apologized for slavery and Jim Crow legislation, but were divided over the issue of reparations. the bills were never passed as law.

 

What’s Going On

“What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye

Mother, mother There's too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother 
There's far too many of you dying 
You know we've got to find a way 
To bring some lovin' here today 

Father, father 
We don't need to escalate 
You see, war is not the answer 
For only love can conquer hate 
You know we've got to find a way 
To bring some lovin' here today 

Picket lines and picket signs 
Don't punish me with brutality 
Talk to me, so you can see 
What's going on

In the mean time, Right on, baby, Right on, Right on 

Mother, mother, everybody thinks we're wrong 
Oh, but who are they to judge us 
Simply because our hair is long 
Oh, you know we've got to find a way 
To bring some understanding here today 

Oh Picket lines and picket signs 
Don't punish me with brutality 
Talk to me 
So you can see 
What's going on 
Uh Right on baby, Right on baby

These lyrics ring true today.  All I can say is, if you are interested in talking to those different from you so you can see and understand better what’s going on, then The Unity Process is the place for you.  It brings diverse people together and helps them to have healthy conversations about race.  Contact me if you’re interested at pam@pamyfields.com.

Blessings

Comment on Today

I was asked to comment on the video below so I listened to it a couple of times so that I could get a good feel for what he was saying.  So, here are my thoughts:

  1. This is a wake-up call for white people who are really sincere in doing something about the race problem.  When you can hear frustration in the voices of educated clergy, just imagine how the masses of black people are feeling.
  2. It’s time for the pep rallies to be over.  We need to have talks and meetings with specific plans for moving forward.  Meeting and talking where we bring diverse people together to begin to have healthy conversations about race and engage people in diverse contexts so that we can begin to know one another and develop relationships and become more united and reconciled cross-culturally.  These must be sustained gatherings over 6 to 9 months.
  3. There is tragedy on all sides of the issues but when we overwhelmingly focus (or do not focus) on a group, when there is a track record of this favoritism, when the main issue becomes hijacked for more media exposure, then there are bound to be even more aggravations and disgruntled people and a heightened sense that something needs to be done now.
  4. Purposeless talking – NO                               Active Advocacy – YES

The conversations I mentioned are what Visible Unity’s ‘The Unity Process’ is about.  We seek to bring people together, develop cross-cultural relationships so that collectively we can address systemic racism and discrimination.  Reach out to me if you’re interested in participating in this process and in actively advocating for peace, healing and justice for all of humanity.

Blessings

Award

Epically Awesome

Ann Fields (https://annfields.com/) did a beautiful job of relating information about herself and then proceeded to nominate me for the Epically Awesome Award for Epic Awesomeness.  I hope I also do justice to the award in answering these questions:

What made you choose your current blogging platform?  Actually, it was suggested to me by Ann Fields and I respect her opinions.

Introduce yourself and tell us about your blog?  I’m a mother of 2 and grandmother of numerous little ones – some biological and some not.  I am also a student working on my doctorate in Global Leadership at Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, MN.  My studies and my passions coincide (of course) around the area of diversity and unity and in particular Christians modeling for the rest of the world how you can have and should have both diversity and unity.  Thus, my blog will have a wide spectrum of content but basically around diversity – educating all, expressing how people of color may feel, encouraging all, etc.

Are you a once-in-a-while blogger or a daily one?  I try to blog at least once a month but I’m not always successful given my school load, full time job and full time ministry (Visible Unity, Inc.)

Do you wish to publish and if so, what type of book?  Currently, I am not interested in publishing but if The Unity Process is successful in bringing people together, then I will want to share that information with others.

What is your favorite thing to do besides write?  I grew up reading and I continue to love reading, although most of my reading now is for school.  The next thing besides that is my grandbabies and their parents – playing, helping, interacting, etc.  We can learn so much from children.

Thank you again Ann Fields.  Unfortunately, I am not in the blog-o-sphere enough to recommend anyone.  All of my hopes for extra time in my life are centered around finishing school.

Blessings!

 

Inspiration

I wanted to share a couple of pieces that I wrote that really seem pertinent to my current work focus.
Multiculturalism
We rub
I on you
You on me
If we rub enough, we all will see what was hidden underneath
Exposed for those who choose to see
Oh the glory, the wonder, the riches unfold
For He is the one, our eyes will behold

 

Multicultural Trip
I had a whole week of class and I was very tired. I was angry with my teacher and my classmates and I was ready to go home.  When I got to the airport, I saw people from all over who talked to me and we laughed and we all valued our time together.  So I was very glad to catch my flight home to be with people who showed me respect and valued me and what I had to contribute.    Thank you God.  You knew just what I needed.

 

The first piece was from a trip I took to South Africa that really inspired in me the possibilities that we could truly and authentically be in relationships with people from different cultures.  Thus, the focus of my work on relationships and reconciliation.

 

The second piece was after class as a seminary student, where I did not feel included, valued or even welcomed by fellow Christians.  Thus, the focus of my work on Christians.

What is your work?  What has inspired you?

 

The High Road

I was having a text conversation with my son and wanted to encourage him, because we know life is not easy for black men, especially black men with a past and no college degree.  I told him that what he is doing is taking the high road and that a lot of guys are not taking the high road.

Later, it came to me that the high road is tougher because it’s less traveled so there are stumbles and obstacles.  It’s bumpy and hard.  But the view is beautiful and you can see more.  On the low road you see all the trash and what’s in the gutter.  I’d rather be on the high road.  How about you?

This can be applied to every aspect of our lives but in particular (for believers), how we live out Christ in our daily lives.  We have so many Christians who are on the low road.  Who choose to be complacent and complicit, blindfolded and in captivity to the system.  Do you not see that we who believe are all brothers and sisters?  Do you not see the pain of your brothers and sisters?  Do you not see the atrocities committed by people who look like you and say they are Christians?  Will you not speak up and do something?

Please join those of us on the high road and be blessed by God.  Join us and do the good work.  Join us and be enriched through your efforts.  The view is better, the other people on the high road will bless your life and you will be that much closer to God.

I’d rather be on the high road.  How about you?

2016 A Fruitful Year

It has been a while since I have been able to post anything. According to my site, it has been since July 2015.  So, let me start the New Year off like everyone else with news, changes and updates on things to look forward to in 2016.

News

I’m excited!!! My efforts in bringing diverse people together for reconciliation and unity have produced some seedlings.  On February 18, 2016 from 6:30pm-8:30pm at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center in Dallas, TX, I will be hosting the first Introductory Gathering for people to come and hear more about The Unity Process.  If you are interested in hearing about something you can personally do to help yourself and those in your sphere of influence become more aware and engaged with people different from you, I invite you to come.

Changes

Because things seem to be rolling out for the work I’ve been involved with, I am in the process of making my work a non-profit organization. Visible Unity, Inc. will be an organization focused on experiential activities, advocacy work, and community building endeavors all focused on bringing diverse people together through reconciliation for unity.  More information will be coming about this as we make progress in and through the 501(c)(3) process.

Updates

I have been busy preparing myself, learning and putting out feelers about The Unity Process. In July 2015, I presented a paper on The Unity Process at the Transatlantic Roundtable on Religion and Race in London, England.  In September 2015, I went to the Mission Leaders Conference in Orlando, Florida to learn more and network with other like-minded individuals.  In November 2015, I conducted a workshop on The Unity Process at the Overcoming Racism Conference in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Later this month, I will be going to a training on community organizing by PICO National Network in Nashville, Tennessee.

My best trip, however, was when my sister, brother and I took the grandbabies (ages 10, 4, 3, 2) on a road trip to New Orleans, Louisiana for a family reunion this past Thanksgiving!!!  They inspire me to make this world better so they won’t have to go through some of the same challenges that I had to endure.

I will endeavor to do better about posting regularly and I will keep you updated about The Unity Process and Visible Unity, Inc.   I anticipate 2016 being a very fruitful year for the work of unity.

Thank you all for your support.

Our God Purpose

“God had to remove Jacob from all that was of comfort to him in order to reveal Himself to Jacob. What began as a crisis that forced him to be removed from his family and friends led to an encounter with the living God and a fresh vision of God’s purposes for his life.

God had to bring Jacob to a place of separation from his old life and remove all his worldly possessions. He was alone with God at Bethel; nothing else could distract him from an encounter that would change his life.”

TGIF, Today God Is First – Volume 1 Daily Devotionals are a service of Marketplace Leaders Ministries

 A friend sent me this devotional from TGIF Today God is First because she knew of my time in Minnesota. My experience at Bethel in MN follows this same pattern as Jacob.

1. I was removed from all my family and friends and used up all my resources to do so. I felt a pull for me to move to Minnesota for studies at Bethel Seminary. Even with my mom being in the hospital, I just knew I had to go although I was somewhat reluctant. I didn’t know anyone in Minnesota but I knew that was what I was supposed to do.  My family and friends all contributed to help me move.

2. I had a health crisis (tumor in head) that lead to an encounter with the living God and a fresh vision of God’s purposes for my life. I moved to Minnesota in December of 2005 and they found the tumor in March of 2006 and operated in May of 2006. I immediately knew that’s why I was called to Minnesota and that if I had not gone, I would have eventually dropped dead. I immediately signed up for the state health insurance (Texas would not have had this option.) that covered most of my bill. My new roommate had a magazine listing doctors who other doctors and nurses would go to and my main surgeon was the top one listed. The other surgeon (Ear, Nose and Throat – he removed my right ear to make room for the tumor removal) did not even send me a bill. I signed up for the hospital program and they eliminated all my debt to the hospital that the insurance didn’t pay for. I have no monetary indebtedness for all of this – 18 hour surgery, 7 days in hospital.

3. From my time in Minnesota, I became acutely aware of what I was purposed to do for God with my life. Minnesota equipped me, made me over and gave me a passion for bringing people together, especially Christians, and a passion to challenge people, especially Christians, to reconcile with others, especially those different from them.

As I am rushing around now preparing for a presentation in London, this is a good reminder not to be too stressed, not to worry so much and to trust God because I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. The process that I will be presenting was all given to me by God while showering or sleeping. Those are the two main places where thoughts, dreams and ideas come to me and so I must immediately jot them down.

Thank you God for reminding me. I needed the reminder.

If you know your purpose, walk in it boldly.

If you don’t know your purpose, be in prayer and discernment about it. Talk with those who know you and who you trust. Schedule to talk with me.  I’m more than willing to join with you in prayer and discernment, listen as you share and ask questions to help you solidify your calling.

In all things, praise God. I know I am.

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