Wendell Gibbs is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Toronto, a board member of Harvest Call Ministries and a volunteer police chaplain with the Toronto Police . He lives in West Rouge
By Wendell Gibbs
What is currently being played out in our global community regarding anti-black racism is nothing new, except that it is now in the spotlight. The lens of social media with the lights, cameras and actions are exposing the historical injustices of hate and violence perpetrated against blacks, specifically through some of America’s observed discriminatory police officers. Notably, America’s law enforcement is quite different from Canada’s and we can pride ourselves to a higher standard against our own subtle prejudices. However, the tension is unveiling emotions in all of us as to where we stand for justice and equality.
The organization and movement in Black Lives Matter (BLM) has become one of the leading (media) voices to help champion the cause for justice. However, may I suggest that the PRINCIPLE of black lives in the plight for equality is what MATTERS. The focus on BLM’s organization, with its global representations and mixed messages, lends to confusion and why many debate “All Lives Matter.” Unfortunately, such gaps only demonstrate the very fabric of racial divide, depending on one’s cultivated ethnicity or nationality. Perhaps the approach needs to be foremost about “humanity” with a common goal to eradicate systematic (black) racism.
Why systematic? Depending on whether you’re black or non-black will determine your reaction to this message. We’ve been raised and live in denial and complacency of this prejudice and inequality against people of colour and other minorities within a trained systematic culture. From the annals of history, blacks have been succumbed to over 400 years of slavery, with a glimmer of freedom since its abolition in 1836. Yet with further unjust murders and ongoing discrimination since the Civil Rights movement in the ’60s, we remain judged by the “colour of our skin and not the content of our character.” These words cost Martin Luther King Jr. his life (rip).
That the global world can watch the murder of fellow humans and most recently blacks by certain police officers without just cause is appalling and inhumane. May our principles of human dignity convict us to acknowledge and support measures to stamp out systematic racism. May we all “pose for the camera” and play our roles for justice and equality, because each of us are the main actors/actresses who can give this movie a happy ending. Particularly, if you’re non-black, you cannot walk in a “black” shoe, but you can walk beside it, to speak up, support, challenge and defend it against any attacks for its “colour.” Have you? Will you?
May we applaud the good of law enforcement who serve and protect with unbiased dignity and may we challenge and discipline those who do not uphold the same values and moral ethics. May God’s blessings of Peace, Protection and Provision be upon us in this season of pandemics.