I, too, sing America.

Besides,

They’ll see how beautiful I am

And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.

-Langston Hughes

We live in a time in which the world, yet again, is changing in a big way. Issues that have been smoldering beneath the surface for decades are once again in the forefront of our minds, hearts and prayers. We, as a body, are no longer willing to sit silently. We want to take a stand. We want to be allies and active participants in this fight.

Black Lives Matter: This statement not only embodies a movement — it also embodies the truth. When we say Black Lives Matter, we are recognizing the fact that Black people are constantly scrutinized by the systems of oppression some of us benefit from. When we say Black Lives Matter, we are making steps to work toward a world that no longer targets Black lives unfairly. When we say Black Lives Matter, we are acknowledging that in this moment and throughout our history as a nation, African Americans have been quantifiably disadvantaged. When we say Black Lives Matter, we are committing to strive for equity and a world in which we account for our history, oppression and privilege.

As Christians, we might not always agree. We may not interpret everything the same way. However, there is one thing that we all agree upon — we are all striving to be more loving and just. In striving to achieve this goal, we must push ourselves toward justice: “Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me — you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40). Any time we stand idle while oppression is happening around us, we ignore the very responsibility to peace and justice that we all proclaim to be committed to.

Post-election, we are even more committed to justice. However, we recognize that putting up a sign, while a first step, is not enough. As a campus ministry, we have attended speak-outs, protests and dialogues, but we could always do more. We challenge other campus ministries and organizations to take a proactive stand and challenge themselves along with us. To stand idle is to ignore a tension that is too uncomfortable to bear. To ignore that tension is to allow the divide to grow. Progress, justice, equity — they are not meant to be comfortable. They require a certain level of social distress.

Each and every day we are creating history and cultivating the path upon which future feet will travel. A passive voice ultimately proclaims that we value order more than we value justice. If the silver lining of this election is a sense of a call to action, it begins with grassroots efforts calling out the “order” that makes justice unattainable. All lives won’t matter until Black lives matter. Until our lives, as a white woman and a Black woman, are valued equally, we cannot submit to order.

In this moment in time, we are standing with Black people, not only in Ann Arbor and the United States, but also around the world. By putting up a sign on the Wesley Lawn, we and the rest of the students of the Wesley Foundation are striving to embody peace and justice.

Lukonde Mulenga is a first-year master’s student in the School of Public Health and Madeline Stagner is a junior in the Elementary Education Program. They are members of the Wesley Foundation at the University of Michigan.

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