Here in Charlottesville we have issued a call to clergy and faith leaders to join us in the struggle to dismantle white supremacy. On August 12th, white nationalists will descend upon our town in an attempt to galvanize their movement for white supremacy.
As we’ve begun to organize, we’ve often heard, “Just let them be. Don’t show up. They want attention. Let them have their rally.”
Let me be clear. White supremacy is a structure of evil. This overt display of white supremacy in our town does violence to black and brown and marginalized bodies. We will not remain silent and we will not be absent when white supremacy presents itself boldly and unabashedly. God calls for our presence.
I believe God calls us to use our bodies for justice.
I am fully convinced that Jesus would use his body to protect the most violated and most marginalized. I am convinced that Jesus would use his body to confront violence and oppression.
Because that’s what he did.
In story after story in the Gospels, Jesus shows up and puts his body next to, or in front of people who are despised, beaten down and violated.
And, in the ultimate form of non-violent resistance, Jesus used his body as reparative action. The state and religious powers hung his body from a tree. And because Jesus was lynched by the powers, he ignited a movement that proclaimed: We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains. Love will win.
Jesus used his body to absorb violence so that others did not have to.
Many of the justice movements today are led by young people who are not particularly religious, and who have no problem using curse words and using their bodies to combat white supremacy and state initiated violence.
Church people have backed away from these movements. Respectable church people think these movements are not “peaceful” and believe they are too divisive.
But, my friends, I am convinced this is exactly where we should be—alongside those who are engaged in the difficult work of justice making
But if we refuse to acknowledge and stand with justice mongers, because their language is too strong or their tactics hurt the feelings of white supremacists, I don’t believe we can call ourselves followers of the Way.
Jesus pissed people off, y’all. Jesus was a healer, yes, but Jesus was also divisive. That’s why they killed him.
I stand by the liberating theological claim that God has a preference for the poor, that Jesus stood with the marginalized at the displeasure of the rich and powerful.
Jesus refused to be complicit with the systems of injustice that we still grapple with today. He used his body to dismantle their power.
I hope to use my body to confront and counteract white supremacy. I hope others will join me. I pray that white folks will show up to dismantle white supremacy, because it is certainly our job to do so.
Brittany lives in Charlottesville, VA with her wife Lindsay and their skeptical dog Eliza. She enjoys dancing, deconstructing destructive dominions of dominance, and alliterations. Above all else, Brittany tries to keep it real.