Honoring Black Lives
Updated: Apr 4, 2020
Does it feel like it’s been a rough few weeks for the world? News of horrendous acts of violence. Lives suddenly ended. The terrible grief that is expressed when a loved one is taken away.
In my email to the Small Business Fund Coordinators this week, I asked for prayers for peace justice, understanding, and overwhelming love. Usually I offer prayers for Kenya, Malawi, and Uganda. Yesterday I felt I needed prayers for my country as well.
Many of you know that I regularly listen to the BBC’s Africa Today podcast. It helps me keep informed about what is happening in African countries. Rarely, it will discuss news from other continents. The day after Philando Castile was shot in Minnesota, the African correspondents reported the news. “This [profiling] is not just a problem for African-Americans. Black men – wherever they come from – are vulnerable,” says the reporter, quoting a Malian community leader in New York City. If our SIA partners were to come to the US, they would be vulnerable. I pray that the U.S. can become a nation where the life of each African and African-American is fully valued.
Honor their dignity
The subject of whose life has value is not just an issue in the US, it’s a matter of global justice as well. A core principle of Spirit in Action is seeing and honoring the potential and power within each person, particularly those living in Africa. We honor their ability to fulfill the life goals they have for themselves and their communities. We honor the resilience and strength and ingenuity that is within people with black skin.
Nancy, Dennis, and their son Timo live in Kenya. Nancy is working on her PhD and works for the county. Dennis has a degree in Business Administration, runs the Ukweli Training Centre for sustainable agriculture, and volunteers his time with Spirit in Action. They have a family prayer time together each evening.
Mary Phiri in Malawi has seen huge change in her life since she started her grocery shop. Her husband, Martin, was an alcoholic and there was a lot of fighting in the home. Now, their business has been successful and the husband is sitting for exams. They have been able to hire people to help with the farming and their daughter is in day-care.
Wambui is a local SIA Small Business Fund coordinator in Nairobi, Kenya. She also works for Alternatives to Violence Project promoting peace and healing from trauma. This month she is attending a peace conference in Switzerland.
Mbwenu stands proudly next to his solar panel charging station. This battery is charged with the solar energy and can power the lights and appliances in the evening. He put together the system on his own. (Malawi)
Ruth and her mother Catherine in Uganda. Ruth speaks English and Lugandan and acted as interpreter during our conference there. Catherine raises pigs and runs the family compound.