History is Here Today

February 27, 2015 2 Comments

When the injustice done to Mike Brown and Eric Garner unfolded before our very eyes we witnessed the racial fault lines in this country as they made themselves painfully obvious. I witnessed anger, misunderstanding and resentment. I saw an oppressed community blamed, questioned and invalidated when we chose to protest and scream at injustice.

This is what happens when people don’t understand history. It is what happens when people don’t co-exist in community, in the context of authentic relationship.

It is what happens when we don’t understand that structural oppression is manifested across generations.

Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror, the horrific report released by the Equal Justice Initiative, and reported by the New York Times, is a painful but helpful way to give historical context to people’s rage.

The report names 4,000 lynchings between 1877 and 1950. 1950 was not too long ago; do you know anyone over 65?

It is good to claim our nation’s contribution to the idea of freedom and democracy. And it is also impossible to skip over the darker parts of our history. All of history is with us today.

“That was a long time ago” simply isn’t good enough.

Let us have the courage to face where we come from and let us have the dignity to right our wrongs.



  • Cynthia Silva Parker says:

    Thanks for this Gibrán! And, I learned recently that in 2011 and 2012 there were two possible lynchings (though some are arguing they were suicides). All of this reminds me of a quote by William Faulkner. “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

  • Charlie Jones says:

    Gibrán… tragically timely post as LAPD murdered a homeless man over the weekend.

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