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By Hazel Cherry
Lent is a time of reflection. As we delve inward, seeking transformation, we are strengthened by the hope and symbolism of resurrection, which signals the end of this season. I find this hope in Luke’s narrative about Jesus’ female disciples who proclaimed his resurrection.
Women are often marginalized in biblical narratives—sometimes considered disposable, according to the customs of their communities. Luke, however, recognizes the women who were present at the crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Mary Magdalene, Joana, and Mary the mother of Jesus are all named, but there were also many women and girls whom Luke does not name. They came to the burial site of Jesus to provide care of his body, only to discover it gone. Their astonishing discovery leaves me pondering the terror and shock they must have felt—and its relevance to missing black and brown girls today.
The plight of missing black and brown girls in Washington, D.C., has recently captured the attention of many people through social media. Like the women in the biblical narrative, these girls, too, have been marginalized and are considered disposable by society. I am left pondering the terror and shock the mothers of these girls must have felt upon discovering their daughters were missing.
Both the biblical narrative and this current situation raises the question of what it could mean to bring to the public center the voices and experiences of marginalized women and girls? Should there not be righteous anger and lament? Do we not share the frustration of their mothers about the lack of response by the Metropolitan Police Department and the media’s failure to bring their missing status to the awareness of the public? Are their faces not worthy to appear in Amber Alerts? Are they not worthy of being found?
Our society often decenters the lives of black and brown girls, especially if they are poor and have experienced hunger. The media rarely portrays them as precious or valuable. And despite the vibrant #BlackGirlMagic hashtag—which explores and celebrates black girls and women—they’re still considered disposable to mainstream society.
However, the biblical narrative of resurrection gives me hope. The season of Lent call us to repentance and to a permanent change of hopeful actions and new possibilities. We need to commit to centering the lives of black and brown girls. This includes calling upon public policy leaders and faith leaders to take more just care for those lives. This is our work, because this was Jesus’s work. We are called to act and to bring forth a moral revival. One that centers the lives of women and girls. One that forces us to acknowledge that Jesus died for black and brown girls, too.
Hazel Cherry is a church administrator at Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Our society often decenters the lives of black and brown girls, especially if they are poor and have experienced hunger.
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