Schools, Racism, Justice Movements, Tennessee, and Systems

I know not everything is mine to weigh in on publicly. I have been thinking about this one a lot, going back and forth on it, and I can’t let go of what Tennessee just did without saying something. Since this is ultimately about a school shooting and a highly conservative and toxic system trying desperately to do nothing about it, so much so, they made an unapologetically blatantly racist move to get our minds off off the shooting. I am going to weigh in on this one. There is a reason it happened. I am studying systems and this fits the pattern.

Side note: Just when you think Oklahoma and Texas are the worst, Tennessee and Florida come and show us up. But what do these states all have in common? I will let you answer that for yourselves. Rhetorical question.

First, let me quote Adrienne Maree Brown who wrote the book “ We Will Not Cancel Us.” A book heavily influencing the formation of a Friendship Retreat that will take place one day. A retreat that is aiming to transform our systems into places of deep connection and uplift for everybody. Every. Body.

“I want us to adapt from systems of oppression and punishment to systems of uplifting and transforming.”

If you have been following me for even 5 minutes, you may know I have been saying public schools are not getting any presence from public officials to help solve the many forms of terror that have entered our public schools. And they are issues that can be addressed. They are not a “thoughts and prayers” sympathy and pity sentiments that require no presence or action from you. They need your presence—everybody’s presence.

These three Democratic representatives from Tennessee did exactly what I have been crying out for from our public officials. They became present in a meaningful way. They marched against gun violence. Hallelujah. Their names: Justin Jones, Justin Pearson, and Gloria Johnson. They are being called the Tennessee Three. Praise the Lord for these true guardians who are sparking hope for us all. Their actions will win the day over what the TN House just did to fail them, divide them, and systematically give the middle finger to their public and PRIVATE schools. If you do not think your vote or policy can be an act of violence, then you are participating in the worst form of lying of all: Lying to yourself.

Wouldn’t you know, the powers that be came in to destroy their righteous and holy work?! It was right on queue and did exactly what you would expect if you have been studying patterns as I have been. I know it was a shock to many, but it is not shocking. They knew they could divide the unity by racism. Adrienne Maree Brown addresses in her book how the state is watching justice movements. It knows where the weak spots are, and it will go in for the kill where it sees weakness. Let me do a quick sermon on that, because a preacher has gotta preach.

Knowing now the state intentionally looks for the weaknesses in justice movements, a verse came to me to turn what the state is doing upside down. Look at 2 Corinthians 9-10 (I recommend NRSV translation): Paul is boasting about his weakness. He is content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ—b/c whenever I am weak, then I am strong. Friends, when you read that as political defiance, and it is, that statement takes on a whole new meaning. Thank you, TN, for pointing out the weakness to all of us. Now that we are all looking at you and paying attention, let the healing begin and our strength grow stronger.

By the way, our legal system is the reason all of this can happen. The legal system enables the state, and it has no check on it. The legal system is not available to everyone, and is more of a trap than a help for the average person. The state wins. It is time to transform the legal system too. But this issue is not the point of the post, but is worthy of mentioning because it is the culprit. Our system is racist and sexist. Both/and. It is trying to control bodies, but not save them.

This is all I will say for now. I hope this helps people trying to figure out how we went from protesting school shootings to now seeing how racist the system is. That is because it is related. And this is why we do need to study CRT!

Someone needs to hire me in their justice department, I tell you. I can spot this from a mile away. I have been studying this for the past seven years.

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