By Rev. Dr. Angelique Walker-Smith
“From Lamentation to Liberation” is the December theme of the Pan African Devotional commemorating the Quad-centennial of the voyage of enslaved Angolans to Virginia in 1619. This month’s devotional was authored by Bishop Franklin Madison Reid III from the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Bishop Reid reminds us of the ongoing need for spiritual resistance, a struggle that traces back to resistance against the enslavement of African peoples and against racism. This legacy continues in the work to end hunger and poverty. Bishop Reid suggests that such advocacy helps answer the question of where we go after this Quad-Centennial year. He writes that racial equity—on both the personal and structural levels—is required for us to finally end hunger and poverty.
Bread for the World’s public policy agenda applies a racial equity lens to hunger and poverty to better understand their historic roots. This was demonstrated during Bread for the World’s Advocacy Summit and its related Pan African Consultation, which resulted in a call for $150 million for global nutrition. Seventy-five Pan African Women of Faith recently gathered and joined their voices to this advocacy effort. The Pan African Young Adult Network (PAYAN) followed suit during their spiritual pilgrimage to Fort Monroe in commemoration of the Quad-Centennial.
You, too, can join the resistance. Advent, Christmas, and the New Year are now upon us, eliciting personal resolutions. Bishop Reid asks, “Are you willing to make or renew your commitment to partner with peoples in Africa and the African diaspora? Are you ready to make a commitment to the struggle for Christ-like love, light, life, and liberation? Are you ready to be a blessing to those wounded in the battlefield of racism, economic inequality, and injustice?”
Bread for the World looks forward to being your partner. May Bishop Reid’s closing prayer in his devotional be an inspiration for all of us:
“Almighty God, we thank you for this Advent Adventure that calls us to remember the past, struggle in the present, and overcome in the future. Break the yoke of hunger and poverty that haunts our continent and people.
“Let the light of Jesus expose the policies and system that oppress African nations and her descendants. Show us the way to renew, restore, and rebuild broken nations and people. God of grace and God of glory, we hear your Divine voice asking, ‘Who shall we send? Who will go for us?’ Set us free to declare and decree, ‘Here I am Lord; send me!’ (Isaiah 6:8).
Rev. Dr. Angelique Walker-Smith is senior associate for Pan African and Orthodox Church Engagement at Bread for the World.