The truth telling of ethnic, racial and societal genocide no longer can be avoided. Certainly human fallibility is an all but guaranteed reality of existence, yet institutional and social abandonment of the people’s needs is a deliberate choice.
This leads to a plethora of relevant questions:
- “Will the three evils of poverty, racism and militarism ever cease?”
- “How long will the politicization of science inhibit our action to care for creation and reimagine the manner in which we engage the earth? “
- ‘When will the martyrdom of Black bodies cease to be the currency of the American empire?”
- “Truly, are we not tired yet? Have we not exasperated the continual thread of ‘thoughts and prayers?’ Do we not deem it unfathomable that generations are being eradicated with our complicity?”
We live within the collusion of empire and power met with an amalgamation of lies that sustain a reality of restrictive and selective existence. Creating an era of unprecedented and unparalleled genocide, our present consciousness is deeply devoid of communal care and confrontation — leaving us susceptible to an apathetic state of affairs.
Consequently, the three evils of white hegemony, poverty and climate change pillage our existence and perspectives. From Tamir Rice to Sandra Bland to Breonna Taylor to Tyre Nichols to O’Shea Sibley to the Emanuel 9 to Buffalo and now the Jacksonville Three, how long will we have to wait for America’s indoctrinated culture of violence to be declared a sustained proliferation of death through imperialism?
“The three evils of white hegemony, poverty and climate change pillage our existence and perspectives.”
All the while, peril has become an acceptable normative state of existence amplifying America’s moral decline with a commitment to imperial performance resulting in the death of consciousness, moral fortitude and necessary prophetic resistance.
To be prophetic, within the African American faith tradition and culture, is to speak truth to power. This is the missional mandate to advocate for the oppressed, activate and engage communal resistance and destroy systems of injustice with relentless righteous indignation. A bold and daunting pursuit that often will leave one exiled (such as Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.) from the spaces and persons of conformity as one seeks to bring God’s kingdom to earth and eradicate all aspects, evidence and notions of suffering.
The areas and spaces of need are numerous yet require our persistent engagement with a communal commitment, lens and perspective that amplify the issues and engage a narrative change that constitutes transformative solutions.
Consider the facts of economic inequality and climate change.
The economic wealth gap continues to be evidence of America’s disenfranchisement of Black and brown people. Black Americans’ median wealth is less than 15% that of white families in the U.S., according to the Federal Reserve’s 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances. “White families had a median wealth of $188,200, compared to $24,100 for Black families. The median Black household wealth was forecast to hit zero by 2053 in a 2017 report by Prosperity Now and Institute for Policy Studies.”
Additionally, from environmental racism to the earth “boiling” to catastrophic wildfires to unfathomable natural disasters to scorching temperatures to sea levels rising at alarming rates, the earth we know will soon cease to exist.
The words of United Nations Secretary General António Guterres communicate the immediate dangers we find ourselves in at this juncture.
“Humanity is in the hot seat,” Guterres told a press conference recently. “For vast parts of North America, Asia, Africa and Europe, it is a cruel summer. For the entire planet, it is a disaster. And for scientists, it is unequivocal — humans are to blame. All this is entirely consistent with predictions and repeated warnings. The only surprise is the speed of the change. Climate change is here, it is terrifying, and it is just the beginning. The era of global warming has ended; the era of global boiling has arrived.”
“Undeniably, this is the time and hour for prophetic proclaimers to arise.”
Undeniably, this is the time and hour for prophetic proclaimers to arise amid a world of peril as white domestic terrorism, poverty and climate change continue in a matter eerily similar to the fringe act of imminent domain.
The truth is the vulnerable remain the disinherited of society despite centuries of change, governmental regimes and monetary models financing human existence. Still existent are the poor. The confined and oppressed are physically, economically, socially and politically constrained, amplifying the reality of trouble within our land and the need for a prophetic revolution.
James Baldwin wrote: “And a higher level of consciousness among the people is the only hope we have, now or in the future.”
Baldwin’s words possess poignant relevancy as we find ourselves at the crossroads of apathy, concern and war all influenced by a lack of intentional truth-telling and hope of what can be amid ongoing deconstruction. Therefore, we’re challenged to interrogate our levels and points of consciousness toward tangible solutions directly confronting our present world.
Leading us to take a page out of the prophet Jeremiah’s book as he declared, “They have treated the wound of my people carelessly (slightly], saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.”
Such is the mark of our current conditions thrusting us into an hour of opportunity for revolution extending beyond prescribed silos, preconceived notions and predictable responses. Instead, communal and collective holistic righteous indignation can ignite a flame that points toward an impenetrable revolution. A revolution that penetrates modalities of thoughts, methodologies of belief, premises of understanding and contrite ways of being.
This, in part, would heighten the consciousness of the people while creating pathways of accountability devolving ourselves of the need for illusions that disguise truth and trouble, replacing it with a clear understanding of empire’s death deals and our responsibility to eradicate systems of performative equity, justice and peace. A responsibility that will result in the death of our current existence for the sake of freedom.
Jamar A. Boyd II serves as senior pastor of Kenwood United Church of Christ Chicago and senior manager of organizational impact of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference. He earned a bachelor of science degree in sports management and business from Georgia Southern University and a master of divinity degree from The Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University.