This weekend, the Roanoke Times ran several commentaries that are worth passing along. “This can’t continue,” by Soul Sessions’ Bryan Hancock, is a testimony by the Roanoke leader and Virginia Tech outreach specialist. Bringing the national conversation sparked by the murder of George Floyd to the neighborhood, Hancock points to troubling occurrences and disparities facing our black residents.
As our community rallies to undertake anti-racist action, other commentary included Annette Lewis’ 15 things you can do to help (#3. Read literature that addresses systemic racism and its effects on our current day lives and share what you learn with friends and family) and “Racism must not be tolerated by anyone” by Eric Anspaugh and Jennie Waering. The latter includes an invitation for participation in the anti-racism activities coordinated by The Race Education Team of Central Church of the Brethern, a historic peace church.
One thing that localizing the conversation around the nation’s systemic racism seems to do is to land us more directly in the arena of action and what we can do locally with our neighbors and colleagues. (#13 from Ms. Lewis’ list: Develop real friendships with members of historically underrepresented groups.) Individual, political, and collective action is what this will take, and there’s a particular spirit that can help us do it.
“I still choose love,” says Hancock, “and to open my heart to connect with people where they are and love beyond my comfort zone.”
★ Read about the Roanoke protests in the Roanoke Tribune: “Thousands locally protest George Floyd’s death,” by Shawn Nowlin.
★ Watch the Virginia Tech Hip Hop Studies presentation: Black Communities and the Police
★ Catch up with the information from this winter’s Stamped from the Beginning Book Club, including a timeline of racism and a list of anti-racism reading and resources.