The aftermath of #blacklivesmatter

As a community, Biola must seek racial reconciliation now, more than ever.

Jake Nagy, Writer

Aaron Fooks/THE CHIMES [file photo]

Trayvon Martin. Michael Brown. Eric Garner. Tamir Rice. Each one of these individuals was violently killed, while unarmed. One was a father. Two were teens. One was 12 years old. They were all black. Their lives matter, and their lives were taken.

In the days following the grand jury verdicts to not indict the officers who killed both Michael Brown and Eric Garner, a few students and faculty from Biola’s MEPD program created a prayer vigil near the Bell Tower. A cross, with the pictures of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice nailed to it, along with candles and posters reading “#blacklivesmatter,” “I Can’t Breathe” and “#Evangelicals4Justice” were placed nearby. On three separate occasions, the prayer vigil was tampered with, and the posters and paraphernalia were stolen.

While many students may not agree with the theft and destruction done to the prayer vigil, almost nothing has been spoken of it. In fact, very little has been spoken about this issue of justice for black lives here on campus at all. In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in his piece “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” —

“I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice … who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom.”

I fear deeply that these words spoken by Dr. King almost 52 years ago are still very true today. I fear that a vast majority of Biola students are afraid to speak about racial equality, justice and diversity because it will make them uncomfortable, disrupt “order” or cause them to question views their parents have taught them their entire life.

While I myself am white, my adopted little brother is black. As he grows up, my heart breaks at the reality that he may have to fear for his safety because of the color of his skin. I weep at the thought of the injustice he has and will face.

Brothers and sisters. Black. Lives. Matter. For their sake, and for the kingdom of God, may we not remain silent! God passionately intends for diversity in His church — that those from every people, tribe, language and nation would gather before Him. He demands that we stand up for the afflicted- Isaiah 1:17, Proverbs 31:8-9- and love our neighbors with selfless sacrifice- John 15:12-14- as he first loved us.

Biola’s SCORR Conference, held Feb. 20-21, 2015, exists to create conversation about racial reconciliation, diversity and justice. These issues are vital to the life of those seeking to follow Jesus.  All students are invited and welcomed. Please join with me in the cause for justice, equality and reconciliation for our brothers and sisters of color, who are made in the image of God.


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