Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Reflections on Solidarity with Ferguson

Yesterday, on Christian campuses across the country, students organized demonstrations of solidarity for the family of Mike Brown, the Ferguson community, and people of color across our country for whom the possibility of police violence is always a concern. I attended the event at Calvin College, and marched with staff colleagues, faculty, administrators, and most importantly, students. 

This was a valuable opportunity, especially because it created a space for people of color in our community to share with us their experience. It was so important to listen to these voices.

Notably, no white members of the Calvin community spoke during the event. On the one hand, I appreciated that the event did not need a white voice from Calvin to legitimate it. The stories and reflections of people of color are valid and bear truth. On the other hand, we will not see a better approximation of justice in our country unless white folks enter the conversation. I wondered what I would say, if I stepped forward.

A providential fluke of schedules allowed for my father and my youngest son to join me for the march. I reflected on the fact that my father never had a conversation with me about how I should act around the police, nor will I need to have that conversation with my son. I will not worry that either of my sons will be a victim of police brutality because of the color of their skin. This is a privilege that all parents should share, and I should not rest in my privilege while my peers of color cannot.

I also reflected on the idea that the lack of indictment last week legitimates in me, as a white person, any fears I may have of black men. It spoke to my subconscious, “Yes, black men are scary. You should be afraid of them. And if you act out of that fear in violence, you are right to do so. The law will take your side.” And that is not good for my soul or for the lives of young black men across our country.

I am so grateful for the students of “We Are Calvin, Too” who organized this event. I’m grateful to the strong showing from Calvin’s cabinet at the event, and for President LeRoy who encouraged them to attend. I’m grateful for each person who spoke and shared their story. I’m grateful for the Wheaton College alumnus who prompted these gatherings at CCCU schools.

Lastly, I’m grateful for this advent season, and the reminder that Jesus is the Light of the world, and that we have hope that one day his peace will reign.

Come Lord Jesus, come.

Posted by Noah Kruis, Interim Director/Associate Director