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By Rev. Dr. Angelique Walker-Smith
“Learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” –Isaiah 1:17
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind …. And you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” –Matthew 22:36-40
In 1971, Marvin Gaye wrote “Save the Children.” The questions Gaye asked in this song are still relevant today.
Who really cares
To save a world in despair?
Who's willing to try to save a world
That's destined to die?
When I look at the world, it fills me with sorrow.
Live, live for life.
But let live everybody.
Live life for the children.
Black August gives us the opportunity to address the historic question of who really cares about the lives of Pan African peoples and ending police brutality. Care is an expression of love. When love is present, the will and goal of protecting Black lives against hunger, poverty, and other intersectional issues of structural racism and police brutality is possible.
Policies and practices matter, but so does the heart, especially when advocating together for related good and impactful policies and practices.
Matthew 22:36-40 tells us to love God, neighbor, and self. Isaiah 1:17 says that doing good for and with all includes those most vulnerable and marginalized in our communities. Doing good for and with all begins with a loving and caring spirit and heart for all people. Therefore people of faith cannot be content with only tolerance, goodwill, or respect regarding Black lives.
Love, care, and doing good for a privileged few deemed worthy of protection and guardianship did inform the beginnings of policing in the United States. But policing relative to people of African descent in the United States began with an attitude of hateful warriorship against them. This, despite the general acceptance of the Christian faith in the United States at that time and even now. Dr. Victor E. Kappeler from Eastern Kentucky University states the following:
“The birth and development of the American police can be traced to a multitude of historical, legal, and political-economic conditions. The institution of slavery and the control of minorities, however, were two of the more formidable historic features of American society shaping early policing.”
The proposal of reimagining policing, given this history and its consequences today, invites us to look more deeply at our hearts as well as our policies when it comes to doing good towards Pan African peoples.
Bread for the World Pan African Young Adult Network (PAYAN) invites you to two webinars related to this August column. Reflecting together can help renew our resolve to protect and guard Black lives at every level and energize new possibilities of love and care for one another.
Rev. Dr. Angelique Walker-Smith is senior associate for Pan African and Orthodox Church engagement at Bread for the World.
Doing good for and with all begins with a loving and caring spirit and heart for all people.
Afghanistan would be considered likely to have high rates of hunger because at least two of the major causes of global hunger affect it—armed conflict and fragile governmental institutions.
Malnutrition is responsible for nearly half of all preventable deaths among children under 5. Every year, the world loses hundreds of thousands of young children and babies to hunger-related causes.
Bread for the World is calling on the Biden-Harris administration and Congress to build a better 1,000-Days infrastructure in the United States.
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in faith.” These words from Colossians 2:6 remind us of the faith that is active in love for our neighbors.
The Bible on...
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is designed to respond to changes in need, making it well suited to respond to crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bread for the World and its partners are asking Congress to provide $200 million for global nutrition.
In 2017, 11.8 percent of households in the U.S.—40 million people—were food-insecure, meaning that they were unsure at some point during the year about how they would provide for their next meal.