Last week, I had the privilege of attending a team retreat for an organization that I’m currently serving in. We spent four wonderful days in a beautiful vacation home in sunny Orlando, Florida. It was a welcome escape from the winter storms of Canada, let me tell you, lol. On our final day of programming, we took some time to pray for each initiative.
As we were officially wrapping up to head for dinner, one of the members felt a heavy burden that as BIPOC Women on the front line, we needed to get prayed for. What took place in that moment of prayer has transformed all of our lives forever.
Eight Black and Hispanic Women leaders -in a symbolic gesture of honour- were placed intentionally in front of twenty non-bipoc leaders who ‘had our back’ in intense prayer
It was in that Divine moment of strong intercession and being attuned to the tremendous burdens we were carrying, that a sacred moment of deep lament broke out in that place.
The Spirit of God filled that place. Every Woman of Colour present fell to their knees and lifted up a cry from the deepest places of their being. We cried for our people, we cried for centuries of pain and injustice, we cried for the horrors throughout history that our ancestors endured, we cried for the toll that hatred and racism has taken. We cried for ourselves who are left to navigate racial inequality and inequity.
And in the most beautiful Spirit of Lament, each and every one of our Caucasian Brothers and Sisters wept deeply for Us. They held our tears in the prayers they cried to God. They repented on behalf of those who have oppressed, brutalized and colonized in the past. They denounced racism in all its forms, and together in unison, we prayed for healing and unity in the days ahead.
It was heavy. It was hard. It was heartbreakingly beautiful. It was a gift for Us all.
They heard the sound…and they responded.
Deeply buried in the overwhelming busyness of life, deeply buried in the flurry of digital noise that is social media and the internet, there is a sound.
Initially that sound is very faint. Only slightly noticeable, in fact, to those who begin the work of attuning to it. That tuning in requires a turning away from our everyday distractions and divisions, intentionally looking outside of ourselves and being willing to sit in someone else’s Story.
We need empathy to hear the sound.
That sound is the sound of Women suffering across the globe. The sound of our Sister’s struggle is being lifted up. Can you hear it? You need empathy to hear it.
It’s the sound of oppression. It’s the sound of gender-based violence. It’s the cries for justice. It’s the sound of marginalization. It’s the sound of racism and hatred. It’s the sound of abject poverty. It’s the sound of inequality and inequity. It’s the sound of being silenced.
On this International Women’s Day, (this International Women’s Month) we are being asked to imagine a gender equal world.
A world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, inclusive and safe. A world where difference is valued and celebrated.
As we imagine, let us also move the needle forward with action and intention.
Our imagination drives us to respond. Far from dreams in our head, reality demands that we live them out in real life, joining a chorus of diverse voices who are desperately trying to live the dream.
Can You Hear It?
It takes empathy to hear it.
My prayer is that You hear it, friend.