Help! Our Babies Are Dying

by Michelle D. Williams | June 05, 2020

This is an SOS call. We are in a state of emergency. And I am desperately crying out to my white sisters for help. I am writing on behalf of every Black mother, sister, grandma, aunt, cousin, wife. I am crying out for the sake of our future. I am crying out for the sake of justice. I am crying out for the sake of the body of Christ for help. Help! Our babies are dying.

I need you to hear me. I need you to see me in your mind’s eye. Bent over, in anguish, screaming at the utter senselessness of it all. He just went out to get Skittles. He was just going out for a jog. She was in her own bed. He was in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Now I’m standing in front of a casket.

Every time this happens, I think, “It could have been my son or daughter, father or mother, brother or sister.” And this happens all too often at the hands of those who are supposed to protect us. How did we get here? Why does this keep happening? I cannot watch another innocent Black person die without losing a piece of my soul. So, I’m turning to you, my sister: Help us!

You who believe in equality. You who are called to preach the gospel. You who are mother, sister, daughter, wife. We need you to stand up and speak out. We need you to listen. We need you to hear. We need you to empathize. If you truly believe in equality for women and men, regardless of race, ethnicity, or class, then it is time for you to act in favor of your sisters and brothers of color. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, in his speech “Remaining Awake through a Great Revolution,” “we are tied in a single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.” Dr. King’s words may remind you of the apostle Paul’s words about the body of Christ: “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it” (1 Cor. 12:26, NIV).

We need you to act like these are your babies being killed. George Floyd cried out for his mama as he was being murdered. Mamas, we need to respond. We know that nothing can get in the way of a mother protecting her children. I need the mothers of Zion to protect all of our children. There is no force that can stop us when we our protecting those we’ve birthed. I don’t have biological children, yet I would lay down my life for the ones I consider my own. I know you would do the same for the ones you consider your own. History has proven this.

Historically, women have been called upon to pick up the pieces when men have been shipped to war and/or killed in battle. Mothers and wives concerned about the wellbeing of their sons and husbands have traditionally always stepped up to protest atrocities of war and violence. These conflicts often stem from historical ethnic and/or tribal hatred and the notion that one group is superior to the other.

I encourage you to google the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo or watch the documentary “Pray the Devil Back to Hell” for inspiration from two groups of mothers on opposite sides of the world who have effected significant change in the face of oppression. By marching, singing, praying, organizing, and protesting, these women were able to make a difference.

Today, women in many parts of the world are already intimately involved in reconciliation processes, processes often first initiated and implemented by women collectively. This work can be very practical, such as the summer camps the IDP Women’s Association of Georgia organizes to bring Georgian, Abkhazian, and Ossetian children together, or the Rwandan women’s groups whose inclusive leadership helped to rebuild a nation after genocide. Women have been pioneers and champions of reconciliation efforts for as long as conflict has existed.

I believe that women hold the rituals of the community and many times are the ones that pass down cultural values and virtues to the next generation. When a woman learns something, she is more apt to share and pass on what she has learned to others. Generally, the first thing we do when we find something we really like or receive an exciting revelation is share it. I believe this is the reason why Jesus insisted on going through Samaria (John 4). He knew that he had to meet that woman at the well so that she could start a mass revival based upon their interaction. Women, we need a mass revival of love and justice!

We women have an expansive capacity within us to receive love and regenerate that love in the form of children, dreams, homebuilding, nurturing, administration, and so much more. My sisters, I am asking that you expand that love towards the Black and brown sons and daughters that are dying. Ahmaud Arbery was someone’s baby. Breonna Taylor was someone’s baby. Tamir Rice was someone’s baby. They were all someone’s baby.

Black women have endured this burden for far too long. We are like “Rachel weeping for [our] children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more” (Matt. 2:18, NIV). We’ve buried too many of our babies. We’ve cried too many tears. After centuries of carrying this unbearable burden, we are DONE. We are TIRED. We need HELP. So I ask again: Help, our babies our dying! America needs its mothers to rise up!

I have listed a few you can take to help. Please, do the work to discover other ways.

  1. Educate yourself and others. There is so much out there right now regarding systemic racism, injustice, and the history of race relations in the US. A few of my favorites are: The 1619 Project, the And Campaign, and The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism.
  2. Vote for inclusive leadership at every level of our government!
  3. Pray against racist systems and policies. Pray for repentance and justice. Pray for and with your Black sisters. We are not okay!
  4. See our babies as your babies. When we suffer and hurt, you suffer and hurt, too.
  5. Demand equitable legislation from your government officials. Here is a current list of recommendations from the NAACP. Here is a list of eight policy changes to consider from Campaign Zero
  6. Stand with us! March, protest, write letters, make calls, give money, sign the petitions, call your Black neighbors and friends, bring us baked goods (homemade, please), sit with us, listen to us, cry with us.

Then do it all over and over again until we see changes, until Jesus returns. Resist the comfortability of silence or ignorance. We need you to fight the systems that divide and the enemy that seeks to kill, steal, and destroy. Thank you in advance for seeing us, hearing us, and standing with us!
 

Photo by Tubarones Photography from Pexels

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