By Bobbie Campbell
On Saturday I wrote a bad poem
about our journey with lots of words,
long words with many syllables,
Latinate my teacher says, good
for description, bad for feeling.
So it’s Monday and here’s the poem
I want to write, the one about how
fifty-five folk, half black, half white
journeyed to the Deep South on a bus,
how at first we were super polite,
not sure what it would be like
but as days wore on, as we visited
sites where horrific things took place,
submitted to simulated enactments
of counter sit-ins, slaves selected
to live or die on ships to the New World,
we began to talk, to laugh, to cry,
to try to comfort. Here’s what I couldn’t say
then. My DNA contains both
Bull Connor and Rosa Parks.
I might not have aimed a fire hose
but I’m capable of turning a blind eye,
of justifying my nice house, neighborhood,
schools, of having no clue that white
privilege is the reason why.
But no more. This trip has changed
how I see. And the grace of forgiveness
from my new friends, their warmth,
their faith, their hard-won
resilience and resistance have filled
me with the courage to keep on
seeing, speaking up, working
for the next right thing. I’m not alone
on this path where there’s no turning back.
The Awakening Series seeks to engage the intersections of culture and faith, particularly around areas of injustice and moral responsibility. Through faith formation opportunities that address issues of our daily lives, we are working to create shalom (wholeness, equity, justice, and peace) for all.