There is this thing called slide tackling in soccer. It is when a player slides to take the ball away from you. It looks vicious and is a move that will easily hurt someone if you don’t do it correctly. It has to be all ball (your slide can only touch the ball) to be legal; if not, it is a foul. Being taken out by the ankles is no joke.
I have not always been as political as I am now. I, too, like many of you was raised thinking caring about that was of this world and not the world I was working for. I also used to say Jesus was not political. Oh, how wrong I was. I will re-share the post I wrote last week to show how deeply confused (can’t really say wrong b/c I was taught this and you can’t just pick up a Bible and know what I wrote) I was.
2016 felt like a slide tackle that was all body and no ball taking me out. 2022 it was a slide tackle that was not only illegal but it deeply injured my family. It needed a red card.
In the words of Justin Pearson: Would you want to be spoken to (about) that way? For helping chidlren!!!
Both of us fighting for justice and treated like we were children who needed to be scolded. Acting as if they are the ones fighting for kids. Wrong! What the system allowed to happen to my family was unconscionable. What happened to Justin Pearson was unconscionable. Now is our moment to speak.
Friends, I need you to hear me with love. Otis Moss III says people who experience unthinkable injustice heal not by themselves; it is when they are in a community that gazes upon them with love. That determines if this story turns into a movement of hope for humanity’s healing, or if the person harmed turns into a villain. He gave a powerful example of how the legal system creates these scenarios. It picks and chooses who gets a chance and who are thugs to be thrown away.
I think what Justin asked is the question of our time.
After what my family went through—which was a huge mistake to target us b/c they targeted a family who knows what they are talking about and knows about these issues. I have done the work the last seven years to address this very thing, only to see the system turn on us. Now I know why on that end too. The state watches justice movements and makes a joke out of them by design. So, no, systems of oppression, you cannot target us. I have done the work and your response is atrocious. I wish people could have heard how we were treated. And over nothing. And the systems knows it. Every single person in each system knew it was bullshit but acted like there was nothing they can do about it.
That was so traumatic. We did not matter at all. Individually, yes. Systematically, no. I want both.
I am here today to talk to you as someone who believes I have learned something from this atrocious experience to make our humanity better. But I need you to listen to me, not pity me. Friends, I can name five teachers in Norman alone who have quit before the school year ended this year. One was right from the start. A Mustang teacher was also publicly humiliated by our State Board of Education. Do you remember that? This is not not normal. This is how oppressive systems make it. You think this is just how it is.
Here is where I need conservatives and progressives to hear from me. Please listen with love and lay down your defenses. Had I not gone through what I just did, I would not know to tell you this. Experience matters.
People who are more conservative will hear us and will show empathy. But when it comes to saying this is the system and we need their help, they are out. Systemic injustice is not in their vocabulary. Everything is about the individual. The individual sin problem in our evangelical churches. (That is something I am addressing in the friendship movement). Even if it is not our sin, we are viewed as an unfortunate incident that just happens in life. What can you do about it?
People on the progressive end have no problem seeing this as a Sin of the system, but most tend to not want to come along side you while you heal. They call it giving you space.
Let me stop right here to let you know I am not saying this in anger. I am saying this because I want to help people understand that when someone is in agony and it is your friend, your job is to show up. If they need space, let them tell you they need space. Don’t assume that from the start without asking. Grief and trauma are already extremely lonely and isolating—presence is the most important thing we can do in someone’s healing process. It is not about getting anything right. No one even knows what that is. Pain does not make one stronger. If it does not kill them physically, the desire to isolate and cut yourself off as a helper becomes a real temptation. The resilience is formed in the repair work.
In the progressive world, the individual is not valued as much as the whole.
So, I will end with this, and then I am going to stop for a while because I have said so much and Dr. Thema is right, see quote below. I am glad there seems to be some consequences happening for Trump and Ryan Walters. I am also aware the same systems that traumatize so many unnecessarily are also handling this. Trump and Walters are individuals in a much bigger picture. Getting rid of them is not going to solve the problem. Making individuals pay for a bigger problem does not work.
But, please God, lets remove them from office at least. The people need to be free of them and then we address why the system formed them.