On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, Donald J. Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States of America. Since that time black communities around the world have experienced an unpredictable cluster of raw emotions such as anxiety, anger, bewilderment, sadness, despair, and helplessness.
Of course, these emotions are not unfounded. Because Mr. Trump has advocated policies such as “stop and frisk” which the courts have ruled an unconstitutional practice because it profiled black and brown people, we mourn. Because Mr. Trump describes our inner cities as war zones which implies that he believes that black and brown people, who are often concentrated in the inner cities, are criminals and violent offenders more prone to commit crimes than other races, we mourn. Because Mr. Trump intends to dismantle laws that have benefited black people such as the Affordable Care Act which, for one, mandated that insurance companies could not refuse to cover people because of a pre-existing condition, we mourn. Because Mr. Trump refused to condemn the Kl Klux Klan, has threatened to ban Muslims, called Mexicans “rapists,” disrespected women, and has mocked the disabled, we mourn.
But while this feels like a bad dream, it is imperative that we remain “woke” (in the modern vernacular) and not allow the advancements we have made as a people to be lost. We must mobilize, obstruct, oppose, protest, and resist policies that will return us to the past and demand that our representatives on all levels do the same. We must participate in coalitions and movements that monitor our interests and will hold America accountable to this truth written in the United States Constitution: “all men are created equal.” We must refuse to accept the racism that is entrenched in this nation and often rears its head in policies, procedures, regulations, bills executive orders and how policies are enforced.
In the same manner that A. Philip Randolph, leader of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, threatened to hold a March on Washington in 1941 to pressure President Franklin D. Roosevelt to ban discrimination in the defense industries and later in the armed services, we too must remain woke. In the same manner that Nat Turner, Denmark Vesey, Gabriel Prosser and others led rebellions to battle the demonic institution of slavery, we too must remain woke. In the same manner that black sanitation workers in Memphis, TN protested, picketed, marched and even recruited the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to help them secure the right to unionize, we too must remain woke. In the same manner that Jesus died on the cross to set the captives free, to liberate men and women trapped in a web that we now know as mass incarceration and to defeat the powers of evil, we too must remain woke.
While this feels like a bad dream, we must remain woke. We must remain woke because God often does God’s best work in desperate situations. We must remain woke because the same God who equipped us to battle Slavery, Jim Crow, Poll Taxes, fire hoses, dogs, and lynching’s is still on the throne. We must remain woke because, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.” We must remain woke because “harder yet may be the fight, right may often yield to might, wickedness awhile may reign, Satan’s cause may seem to gain. But there is a God that rules above, with hands of power and a heart of love. If I’m right, He’ll fight my battle, and I shall have peace someday (Charles Tindley, Beams of Heaven).” We must remain woke because Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection means that evil will never have the last word. Amen. Amen. Amen.