How can this be happening?

May 28, 2020 — 4 Comments

How can this be happening? It’s the question many of us are asking as another story surfaces of a black man being murdered by white aggressors.

Racism is alive and well. It wasn’t abolished alongside slavery or with the civil rights movement. It doesn’t stay on the fringes or in secret meetings. It lives and breathes in the everyday systems and structures of our country. For many in the white community, this time particularly feels like a wake up call. It’s a moment of utter shock. And it should be. But for those in minority (especially black) communities, this is not a new phenomenon. Ask the families of Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Sandra Brown, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Michael Brown, Alton Sterling (and many others). And now, in just the last few weeks we can add Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd to the list that no one wants to be on. The shock that we are feeling reveals that we have been unaware of realities that exist outside of our experience.

I don’t have the answers. I don’t know how we fix this. But I do know this – we have a responsibility to move beyond hashtags. We can’t just be shocked. We can’t just post our outrage. We must do more.

For me, that begins with educating ourselves. A number of years ago I realized I had a real gap in my knowledge when it came to issues of race. As a white man, race was an issue I had the luxury to ignore. The world I had known had always leaned in my direction. I was completely unaware of systemic racism. I had no idea about prisons for profit and mass incarceration and voter suppression. I didn’t know that bird watching was enough to make someone afraid enough to call the police. I didn’t know that black mothers and fathers have “the talk” with their children that has nothing to do with birds and bees, but rather with badges and batons.

But not knowing is not ok anymore. So let this moment move you. Let it anger you. Let it shock you. But please, let it change you. You and I have contributed to a system that allows this to happen. We are not innocent bystanders. We have been unaware long enough.

Below is a list of books I’ve read over the last few years. You don’t have to use my list, but please start to learn. Start to listen.


Jeremy Copeland

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4 responses to How can this be happening?

  1. Pastor Jeremy,

    Thank you first of all for raising your voice to address the pain, inhumanity, and injustices that African-Americans and people of color continue to experience here in America.

    I pray that others will raise their voices, and use their influence to bring about the changes needed to stop this madness. The time to make changes is now. This cannot be kicked down the road.

    The bible teaches us to do unto others what we would want them to do to you. Every human being regardless of their economic situation or race is deserving of God’s love, grace, and mercy. Love still overcomes evil.

    Again, Pastor Jeremy thanks for raising your voice, modeling the gospel and for being a great friend.

  2. Paula peoples May 31, 2020 at 10:11 pm

    I refuse to bury my head in the sand and not open my ears to those in our community crying out for justice, equal rights, and to live without fear. Instead I want to come together and help amplify the voice of those that have been unheard for far too long.

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