Someone from my church, Fellowship Monrovia, approached me a few weeks ago and asked if I would be interested in joining a small group of adults on a Civil Rights tour. I had heard about this trip from the two previous years when she took teenage students. I prayed and prayed and worked hard not to obsess about finding a way to insert myself. My husband told me not to frighten the students. And suddenly, just like that, I had been invited!!
I cannot express how surprised, honored, humbled, excited, honored, honored, and honored I feel to have been invited to be a part of this. What’s even more humbling is that the intention of the church with this trip is to invest in leadership that will spearhead the development of a racial reconciliation program/ministry (not sure what the right word will be until we create it).
The week before, I had approached the head of my son’s mostly white school to talk about their diversity efforts. From what I have observed in several different top private schools in the greater LA area, Chandler has been slower, but more effective in their efforts to increase diversity. When we interviewed at other schools, we asked, “How are we going to make sure our son will feel comfortable here since he is a dark skinned black child and the school is predominantly white?” The replies that came back were varied:
- “We have affinity groups. Here is how it works…”
- “There will be other black children in the class. Right now we have 2 black children and we put them in the same classroom.”
- “I don’t see why that should be an issue.”
- “The students have ‘buddies’ and we will make sure Luc has an African American buddy. But what do you think we should do?” This came from the head of Chandler. And I was immediately in love.
When touring schools, I found that the schools that my African American friends loved and sent their kids to made me nervous. I saw things at those schools that made me unwilling to send my son there. One of them even assumed that my son would be a trouble maker!!
Anyway, Chandler has been remarkably receptive to my requests for conversations. But! The next issue is that I have no idea what needs to change. If everyone in the U.S. summoned the courage to face the brutal truth, we would realize that none of us knows what to do next. Something needs to change in our society, but what is the root? And how do we change it? Nobody really knows yet. And we won’t know for sure until we are in the “promised land” looking back and examining the past.
Enter the FM Civil Rights Tour of 2015. Since receiving the invitation, I have watched every documentary, iTunes University, video, You Tube, etc I could get my hands on. And I’m learning. I’m learning.