More often than not, we only see one side of a story- one side of a mugshot, one side of a homeless sign, one side of a march, one side of taking a knee. Whether it's in the history of our communities, our country, our world, or whether it's in our actual daily lives, we sometimes miss the voices of the ones who are not telling the story we hear or controlling the narrative- the voices of those who are in the margins.
Being able to know the whole story takes work. Effort. An open mind. Curiosity. Being able to really hear the voices of the people we've never heard before requires us to listen, to sit in that uncomfortable silence where hard truths produce beautiful beautiful healing and growth.
What story do you hear from day to day?
Whose voices are loudest in your life?
Do those people look a lot like you?
Do they live a lot like you, go to the same church as you, have similar incomes and interests and family histories?
What you watch on television, what you read, what you scroll through on social media- these are places where we can surround ourselves with the familiar and the comfortable easy narrative. These are places that can become echo chambers for our own experiences and ideas, stoking fears or stroking egos. They're also potential platforms for voices that tell a story that is different from our own, a story of different races, religions, cultures and lifestyles, of different trauma, pain, joy and dreams.
We're starting with Black History Month, and will be continuing to take 2019 as an opportunity to help ourselves grow and learn, and to help you connect with more voices that might be different than your own. There are SO MANY incredible leaders out there to help guide us on the way towards healing and hope and redemption, and we are choosing to sit at their feet and listen. We hope you'll join us.
Below you'll find a few of our most beloved voices to help get you started, and be sure to keep a lookout for our upcoming social media and blog posts featuring simple ways to add diversity to the narrative you hear.
Who to Read- Nonfiction
I'm Still Here: Black Dignity In A World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
"I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness is exactly for those of us who believe we’ve already arrived, that we don’t need to interrogate ourselves and the ways we might be impeding attempts to create racial justice in a world that is decidedly unjust, to people of color especially.
I’m Still Here clearly articulates that Christians are called to seek justice, and compellingly argues that systemic racism, white fragility, and the myth of “nice” white people means that true racial reconciliation has not been realized.
Reconciliation is hard. It requires structural change. It sets aside the hurt feelings of white folks and centers the experiences of those who are marginalized and powerless. Reading Brown’s excellent book is challenging because it points out my own blind spots, the places where my white fragility and my desire to be “nice” complicates my longing to be a justice warrior. For all my rhetoric about honoring the dignity of all people as image bearers of God, I have not always acted in ways that reflect that ideology. I’m Still Here is prophetic, calling us all to do better, bearing witness to the powerful persistence of Black voices who remind us, again and again, that their lives matter too."
Above review excerpts taken from here.
Visit Austins Website.
I'm Still Here on Amazon.
Who To Read- Fiction
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
Summary taken from here.
The Hate U Give on Amazon.
Powerful Review on GoodReads.
Who to Follow
Kaitlin Curtice is a Potawatomi author, speaker and worship leader. As an enrolled member of the Potawatomi Citizen Band and someone who has grown up in the Christian faith, Kaitlin writes on the intersection of Indigenous spirituality, mystic faith in everyday life, and the church’s responsibility to respect and listen to indigenous peoples.
She is an author with Paraclete Press and her recently released book is Glory Happening: Finding the Divine in Everyday Places. She is a contributor to Sojourners, Relevant Magazine, and you can also find her work on OnBeing.
Visit Kaitlyn's Website.
Layla F. Saad
Layla F Saad is a Writer, Speaker, Podcast Host & Racial Justice Advocate whose work explores the intersections of Race, Spirituality, Feminism & Leadership.
Visit Layla's Website.
Follow Layla on Instagram.
For The Young Ones
We have created a list of excellent books for Young Children here. These are books that we have and read to our own children.
We add to this list often, so if you're an Amazon person, be sure you click 'follow'.