Saturday, January 16, 2016

they will inherit the land (or, some rambling thoughts)

Speaking of black bodies: Fighting Environmental Racism in North Carolina

I clicked on this article because I was curious about the term environmental racism, and also because my sister lives in North Carolina. In my few short visits there (to only one part of the state - close to the area spoken about in this piece), what I've seen has made me curious about race, segregation, and how history has shaped what is now. This story provides a glimpse of a kind of modern-day racism that is more systemic and perhaps for that reason, more silent. It is yet another way we sacrifice black bodies for the comfort of the Dream. (See Between the World and Me for more...)

What I loved most is how the story ends. A local activist and son of the area's first black police chief, who was involved in the beginnings of this particular fight for justice, says, "I don't feel anybody should fight as long as we've been fighting for something that's God-given." He's speaking of the promises made to residents more than 40 years ago that are only now being fulfilled by local authorities, after years of trying to prove discrimination. Never mind that people had made promises - he recognizes that justice is of God's own heart and is given at his hand, even while it can be blocked by people with other (evil?) intentions. And he's right, it shouldn't take that long. But, as he says, "you fight until it's done."

The story brings new light to a psalm I've been meditating on, especially with the imagery of land:

Do not fret because of evildoers, 
    do not be envious of wrongdoers,
For they will soon fade like the grass 
    and wither like the green herb.
Trust in the Lord, and do good, 
    dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
For those blessed by the Lord 
    will inherit the land.
For the Lord loves justice; 
    he will not forsake his saints.
                                                                               - (Psalm 37)


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