Here is our chance to put our words into action and bring goodness and positivity into the conversation of race and ongoing discrimination in our country. After the recent years of conflict and racial tension, we – meaning “people who believe they are white,” as writer Ta-Nehisi Coates calls us in his book, “Between the World and Me” – have a clear invitation in our own community to put some actions behind our words.
I am talking about those conversations we have had in school, at work, at the dinner table, with friends – the ones where we say that we just don’t understand what is going on in America with regard to race. We say that of course “Black Lives Matter” and actually “All Lives Matter.” We say that we are not prejudiced, and we truly believe that. We say that we “don’t see color” or that we truly want everyone to feel included.
We see ourselves as people who promote goodness, love and mutual acceptance whenever the duty calls. But do we actually answer the call?
On May 8, the news article “Church restoring historic windows” went into great detail about the historical significance and beauty of St. Paul A.M.E. Church in downtown Raleigh. St. Paul A.M.E. church and its 1,500 members have run out of funds to repair several stained glass windows in their worship space. The glass windows can no longer wait to be repaired. The estimated cost is $4 million.
This Gothic revival church is one of just three churches on the National Historic Register in Raleigh. It was formally established as a church for slaves who were members of an all-white church on Edenton Street back in 1848. Additionally, the building itself has already shown signs of its tenacity and resilience by enduring both a relocation by teams of horses as well as a major fire. We should not let this beautiful building in downtown Raleigh fall into disrepair.
Let’s bring joy to the members of our local A.M.E. church and counteract the evil done in the shootings at Charleston’s A.M.E. church in 2015. Let St. Paul A.M.E. parishioners feel our love. We can’t bring back those nine innocent victims ruthlessly gunned down during their Bible study in Charleston last summer. We can’t eradicate the heartache of the victims’ families and friends. But we can show our love. This is a chance to do some good in the world. Let’s take the grief and sorrow we professed for the people of Charleston after they were so violently and shamefully discriminated upon and spread love instead of hate.
As Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once preached, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Be the change you want in this world.
Donations can be made at gofundme.com/stpaulamewindows or by sending a check to St. Paul A.M.E. Church, 402 W. Edenton Street, Raleigh, NC 27603. The length limit was waived.