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

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?

 

Repairing Community: From Talk to Action

For the title of this post, I modified the topic of my presentation that I gave in London the first week of July. It was entitled: Repairing Community: From Prayer to Action. However, we all know that too many people just talk about the issues without ever doing anything. So, this post is to encourage those already doing and to prompt those who are only talking. The last couple of months have been a whirlwind of activities where I have gained more information to further equip me to the task of being an advocate for diversity and reconciliation. I’ve gone to some local workshops and gatherings around race, some for my job and one overseas. All of these events provided me the following information that I felt I needed to share with you along with some personal reflections.

In reflection after one workshop, I developed the following:

Not the marches, singing, dogs and water hoses of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Not the ‘by any means necessary’ of Malcolm X.

But a combination – By extra means, it’s necessary

Political Force – voting, lobbying and holding politicians accountable

Monetary Force – leveraging resources, boycotting

Social Force – social media, community organizing

Intellectual Force – education, information sharing

Combined Force – other minorities, collaborating whites

No one will be safe; that is, no one who is perpetrating injustice, discrimination, exclusion, oppression, etc.

Snippets:

In the US in the 1930s, redlining maps were created to establish boundaries for being eligible for government backed home loans.

Green areas were 80% eligible

Blue areas were 60-80% eligible

Yellow areas were 15% eligible

Red areas were not eligible. African American neighborhoods were marked red, so home ownership was not possible.


Currently, there are 3-6 million KKK members, 537 known hate groups and 858 patriot groups

More than 1,000 black persons have been killed by police since January 2015


Rage is grief turned into aggression

Black progress – go from grief to aggression to mobilization

Moving white people from sympathy to solidarity so restructuring of society can occur

I would say – moving white people from complacency to sympathy to solidarity so restructuring of society can occur


We have heard lots of talk about reparations for Blacks in the US. However, in all the talks nothing has been said about psychological, physical, emotional and intellectual reparations. We have a lot of stress, anxiety, depression and other illnesses of the mind stemming from slavery, oppression and segregation. We also have a lot of medical issues that can also be traced to the systemic discrimination and oppression of Blacks in the US.

I wanted to share some of the information and history. Every time I hear something knew about our untold US history, the current situation of Blacks in America becomes clearer. I also feel the work of reconciliation and helping people to embrace ‘the other’ is definitely needed, especially given the chaos in the world today.

Action

Followers of Christ, it is way past time for us to come together; to be unified in our diversity and to care for the ‘least of these’ in our midst. There are several different options in Dallas. Below is just a few that I know of but I’m sure if you are interested and do a query, you will find others as well.

Dallas Faces Race

Faith in Texas

Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference

PICO (People Improving Communities through Organizing)

CEDD (Center for Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities

Dallas Dinner Table

All of us can and should be about our father’s business and help to bring peace, healing and justice to this broken world.

God bless.

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.

Offer Gifts of Sacrifice

For the past couple of weeks I’ve had some words running through my head. They are from a song by Heart of the City Worship Band, a local group in Minnesota that is very diverse – White, Native American, Black, Hispanic, Asian and others. The only words I can remember, which began running through my head over and over are: “We will not offer you that which cost us nothing… so we bring a gift of sacrifice… we bring a gift of sacrifice… to you O Ancient of Days.”

It reminds me that God wants the best from us and he deserves nothing less. If we think about it, we sacrifice for things all the time. We sacrifice for money and more money, power, authority, position, prestige, etc… However, when we put money in the offering plates, when we go about our ‘Christian service,’ when we share with others, often there is no sacrifice involved. We give our left overs.

Keep these song lyrics in your head and begin to change what you are offering up. Don’t offer up your left overs. Offer up that which has cost you something. It doesn’t always have to be big sacrifices, but there should be some cost involved. Just think about the costs you make when you seek after money, cars, houses, a partner, clothes, power, prestige, etc. This will get you headed in the right direction.

We Will Not Offer You by Heart of the City Worship Band

We will not offer you that which cost us nothing

We will not give to you the least of what we have

For you forgave us and healed us with your suffering

And you are worthy of the best that we can give

So we bring a gift of sacrifice – The way in which we live

We bring a gift of sacrifice – The offering that we give

We bring a gift of sacrifice – Even in the darkest days

We bring a gift of sacrifice – The sacrifice of praise

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