Philando Castile, Charleston 9, Southern Baptists and all the feels.

In Culture by Zakiya JacksonLeave a Comment

Zakiya Jackson

Zakiya Jackson

Zakiya is a lover of words—and creatively uses them by entertaining and compelling her friends and family or even strangers.Like a salmon swimming upstream, Zakiya recently returned to Washington D.C where she works in education advocacy and community development.Zakiya places high value on faith, racial justice, love, Anthony Hamilton and laughter.Fancy, woke and southern, she’s generally passionate about being alive.She prefers singing in the keys of E or D or whatever second sopranos sing. Message tees & Bryan Stevenson are everything.
Zakiya Jackson

There is extraordinary pain associated with being .

I wonder how Philando Castile’s daughter will play out grief over the course of her life.  

Father’s Day is painful for many.  Weird for some.  What is is like for a child that witnessed the cold blooded murder of her daddy, by a police officer?

Will she bottle up her feelings for years and years – will the pain fester like a sore, turn into an infection, and lead to all sorts of physical problems down the road?

Will she cry openly, beautifully, only to be told by Christian after Christian not to worry or be sad because it’s in God’s hands?

As if God’s hands lessens the level of love she has for daddy.  

Grief is a sign of life that sometimes lose the ability to have because we are so frequently assaulted with fresh violence.

Life.

The war on bodies is manifested day in and day out for us.

We are profiled the way Philando Castile was almost a year ago.  It just happened to my baby brother – a Marine, a veteran, a civil servant. A VETERAN.  A white person saw the police officer accosting my brother for driving while black and intervened. He’s still alive.  Every day my brothers are still alive is relief.  

Alive.

We are pimped in pulpits.  White supremacy renders us objects for the pleasure of whiteness.  We diversify committees.  We are evidence of progress…since can go to church with us now sometimes.  The violence is still there, however.  A denomination refusing to acknowledge the sins of white supremacy is violence unto us.  If it’s done a day later out of shame and guilt…where is the honor in being forced to acknowledge us as human.  

It’s also violent when, as happened at a former church of mine, a non-black leader is allowed to describe Black women as being hard to deal with, in front of 30 people, while speaking to me. This ministry leader was never held accountable. Even after I made attempt after attempt to have it addressed.  I followed Biblical protocol. But I wasn’t really human. I was treated like just another hard to deal with nigger.

Humans.  

Black blood is red.  And it bleeds all over the Church that seems to ignore the point of the bloodspill of Jesus.

Today is the anniversary of the race based murders of the Charleston 9.  The day after that tragedy, a white co-worker described the white killer as “just a boy.”  It pierced my soul.  Because 14 year black boys are tried and sentenced as adults without pause.  But white people are allowed to be innocent.  Asian cops are allowed to be innocent.  

There is no innocence for blackness.  When will we restore childhood to children.  When will my baby nephew be allowed to be a little boy.  When will my 15 year old neice be allowed to be a 15 year old girl? How long will my twin nieces be little? How will her parents protect them?  Will I fail as an auntie to protect all these beautiful children from the harshness and cruelty their melanin is subject to?  

I’m afraid I already have.  You see, I am not larger than America.  All the beautiful black love, joy and pride that we pour into them is not bigger than America.  

Childhood

I am heartbroken.  I ask again, who is crying with me tonight.  Who will rise and speak resistance AND healing together to this land?  Who will hold people accountable?  Who will hold themselves accountable? Who will forget about intentions and aesthetics and focus on outcomes and meaning?

Everyday I am living and I am dying.  I am dying faster than some others.  I know I am.  I am determined to live but I know it’s not all in my hands.  When I chose to fall in love with my people, our blackness, I knew I’d be exposed to heartache untold.

When I chose to fall in love with my people, our blackness, I didn’t know I’d be exposed to heartache untold.

I’m in over my head.  But the ancestors.  Oh the ancestors.  The mystical faith of my people.  

I wish this pain weren’t so large.  I know it’s a sign of my deep love. I am tired though.  We is tired, tho.

The mystical faith of my people is alive in me.

Ancestors

I pray daily to Black Baby Jesus.  I won’t shame my brothers when they scream or cry out, impolite or poor timing.  I won’t disdain my sisters when their hearts grow cold.  

I ask for forgiveness when I backtrack and forget their humanity.  

I pray daily to a God who seems to look away at times.  I lean into the mystical faith.

I decolonize my Christianity.

I evoke truth and let it wash over me, cleansing me from the assaults on my being. On Being.

I live.  I love. I Iive.  

I come home to my blackness.  It’s my respite.  It’s a glorious interwoven fabric of resistance, justice, jubilee, sojourning, anger, royalty…coiled in my DNA.

Royalty

Philando Castile was less than a year younger than me.

Happy Father’s Day sir.  Happy Father’s Day .  Hold black daddys close, if you can.

The Charleston 9 ranged from age 26 to 87.  God with us Mother Emmanuel.  God with us.

And Black Southern Baptists…there are more than you might think…some will be born into the denomination this summer and others must be over 90.  I was technically a Southern Baptist from 18 – 23…a youth leader in my (98%) Black and Southern Baptist Church.  Before then I went on Southern Baptist Missions.  I walked to Lifeway a couple blocks from my school and wondered where books with Black people might be.  To my Black brothers and sisters still there, may God guide you nearly and dearly. May atonement come – not the kind you already have in your salvation. The kind you deserve from your pastors/small group leaders/fellow congregants – many of whom have given you a distorted and oppressed understanding of love and the gospel.  

The war on black bodies.  God with us beloved, God with us.