by Dr. Sabrina Black
Leaders impact and influence change. In today’s climate of racial tension and protest of injustice, leaders who will put key items on the agenda are needed. Leaders in every sphere of our society, whether Christian or secular, are bringing the issues of race to the conference table.
It is unfortunate that even in predominantly white, Christian groups, minority people, are often not considered; or there is a blatant disregard. We have a voice, that needs to be heard.
Agenda Item #1 – Racial Reconciliation (The process of healing and transforming injustice)
When the agenda is set for any meeting or gathering, these key items: racial reconciliation, repentance and restitution, need to be a part of the old and new business. We need to look back and review what we have done well and where we have missed the mark.
The goal is not condemnation or to be guilt producing but to acknowledge our race line (our statistical baseline of racial distribution throughout the corporation). The reality in most organizations is that Black African Americans or People of Color (Minorities) have not had the same opportunities or even consideration as others in the company.
As we look at racial reconciliation, it is not sufficient for the majority to determine what the minority needs are and implement change.
It is necessary to have critical, often difficult listening conversations regarding challenges that minorities may have experienced over time.
You will need to listen as minorities process the pain of exclusion. These concerns need to also be addressed as part of the changes implemented.
Because disparity has existed for so long, we can not spend days, weeks, or months in committee meetings determining what to do. We need to begin the process of change immediately correcting what we can with the realization that more change is coming.
Delays can feel like more of the same old rhetoric and promises to look into it.
Agenda Item #2 – Repentance (To offer sincere regret or remorse)
In recent weeks, I have been invited to be a part of numerous discussions, conversations, forums, etc. on race. It is has become clear, if it was not already, that minorities are tired of and exhausted from trying to be heard.
The stories of their experiences with those of white privilege have left many bitter and discouraged. Others are outraged, enraged, and determined to protest discrimination, injustice and inequality.
I stand with those who desire righteousness for righteousness sake.
I have committed to do my part as an advocate for social justice and use the platforms to which I have access to be a voice for the voiceless and to give hope to the hopeless.
Black African Americans and People of Color are crying out about things that need to change for minorities to work more effectively together to advance the Kingdom. Not only do minorities want to be heard, but they want an acknowledgment that they have been wronged, slighted, discounted, disregarded, overlooked and or misjudged.
When I consider some of my personal experiences, it has been heartbreaking to witness the same lack of repentance in some Christian organizations that I have dealt with in secular circulars. Yet, it has also been refreshing to be a co-laborer with those who walk upright and desire to “let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream (Amos 5:24).
I have been a part of several symbolic requests for forgiveness and acts of repentance, where someone or some group has apologized on behalf of someone else, indicating that they wanted a chance to make it right.
Those moments were heartwarming and brought tears of joy.
Agenda Item #3 – Restitution (Recompense for injury of loss)
Given our country’s state, we need to be intentional about racial reconciliation, repentance, and restitution. People have asked what can be done to make things right to pay restitution?
“How can minorities be supported now and beyond?”
How can you make a difference?
In response to these questions, I offer the following suggestions as part of your meeting agenda for discussion and implementation:
- If there is a question of competency or credentials, then provided additional training and support.
- Create opportunities for fellowship and community so that people can get to know one another.
- Create space for conversations that demonstrate everyone adds value and different perspectives bring additional insight and credibility.
- Facilitate a Bible study on Romans 2:1-11 and 1 Corinthians 12:12-27
- Include minorities in the plans, processes, programs and the platforms.
- Ensure that minorities are represented as consumers, customers, clients, and constituents.
- Open doors and create opportunities for involvement, advancement and promotion.
- Share resources and access to information and contacts
- Invite minorities to participate at every level of the organization (and ensure candidacy)
- Co-author and co-edit projects as teams and groups
- Partner and collaborate with other organizations that are minority-led
- Sponsor, support, and mentor minorities
Although this meeting is adjourned, leaders of change are known for implementation and follow up.