with thanks to Juanita Brown, Greg John,
Maggie Potapchuk, Rafael Regan,
and Charles Tucker 

Charleston - Questions and Considerations for Reflections and Discussion

Dear Friends, 

An incident at a McKinney pool party, the death of Kalief Browder, the sham that is Rachel Dolezal, and now, the murder of nine people in Charleston. These stories have swept the news in the past two weeks and come on the heels of countless previous events. They serve to underscore the tension and violence we as a people are experiencing in terms of the Black|White paradigm. These events, combined with the media coverage that follows, make it clear that racism is alive and well in this country.
Is it possible to stand by when presented with the facts in each of these circumstances? Both heart and soul seem to demand individual and collective action. We must ask ourselves -

What can I do?
What must I do?
How will I go about it?
Traditional media coverage often flips the onus of these incidents back onto the communities of those most assaulted. Why, in the McKinney example, can't the Black community control their kids? Where are the parents? The leaders?  Or, in the Rachel Dolezal case, media asks how the Black community could be deceived by this woman for so long? And today, in the wake of the Charleston shootings, cable networks have posited the typical red herring of a question: What could this church have done to have prevented this shooting?

So, today, I am asking all of us to take responsibility, do our due diligence and please consider the following questions for self-reflection and dialogue. 

1. How would you respond if the act of domestic terrorism that occurred in Charleston happened in your own place of worship or community gathering?     

2. What would you need from the perpetrator and the community/nation at-large in order to restore your faith in humanity and achieve justice?

3. When it comes race, what are you most afraid of? Where did you first learn about those fears? How are they reinforced?

4. What can you do to confront and alleviate those fears?

5. On a societal level, why do White people seem to be so afraid of Black people and what compels them to resort to violence and oppression in response to those fears?

6. What must White leaders do to stem the tide of violence among White males? What is preventing those steps from occurring?

7. What do White parents need to do so their men and boys refuse to embrace violence and hatred? If the majority of mass murderers in this country are young white males, why isn't this treated as a national crisis?

8. What is our collective responsibility?

9. What is your personal responsibility? What are you going to do? 

These pointed questions, uncomfortable as they may be, get to the heart of the matter. As a White friend said to me last night, "A race war in the United States gets closer each day."  For me, I need to do whatever I can to stem the tide of this sentiment and work like mad toward ending racism within our lifetime, and building the beloved community that we all long for and deserve.
Please join me as best you can in a process of self-reflection and conversation. I can’t imagine any endeavor more pressing than this.


Elemental Partners cultivates healthy and prosperous organizations through clarity of purpose, alignment of principles, and integration of systems.

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To find out more about the stories cited above, please refer to the following links -

McKinney, TX
Kalief Browder
Rachel Dolezal
Charleston, SC

For resources on racial equity, go to racialequitytools.org and withinourlifetime.net

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