Being James Ian Tyson @breeNewsome

I have been thinking deeply of Bree’s brave action taking down the Confederate Flag, a symbolic triumph over a symbol of what is all to often used as a sign of hate.

And the burning of the African-American Churches proves racism to be a real and prevalent problem, one which Bree has shown some light on.

In light of the Marriage equality and racial injustice discourse that have been a part of most of my adult life, and as a graduate of the very progressive Oberlin College, I am aware of my privileged “normalcy” as some might call it.

I am a white, Cis, hetereo, Protestant (a Presbyterian no less which is as close to the historic religion of the US as anything else), middle class, well-educated, reliably married woman (that last thing is the piece that I suffer the most from). From the small taste I’ve had of stereotyping and assumptions based on my gender are unpleasant enough for me to know that others suffer way more and, despite our hope to be the best nation in the world, systematic hatred still exists.

So here I am, my church will send some money to the African-American Churches and I will continue to listen carefully to my queer and African-American brothers and sisters as I have through #slatespeak #freebree and all of the many conversations about homelessness for LBQT, imprisonment of African-Americans, the safety of queers in bathrooms and the like, the threatening letters sent to women African-American Pastors in the South and so so much more. Listening because (altho I love to talk) it would be a little to “White Man’s Burden” of me to try to lead a movement that isn’t about me


Instead, I’d like to be like James Ian Tyson.

“”It was decided that this role should go to a black woman and that a white man should be the one to help her over the fence as a sign that our alliance transcended both racial and gender divides. We made this decision because for us, this is not simply about a flag, but rather it is about abolishing the spirit of hatred and oppression in all its forms. ”

I liked the symbolic roll he played helping with the equipping & supporting, holding the line when its needed, standing there, listening, witnessing…..walking with those who are troubled, saying your people are my people, your God is my God, doing my best to be present. I know its not enough, but its a good start

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Shannon A Thompson

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