We celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. this past week. Or did we?
That day comes and goes every year and each time I feel a twinge of guilt. I never really feel like I “celebrate” as I should because I don’t know what to celebrate. In fact, it reminds me of just how far I am from a deep understanding of African American history and a deep understanding of what it’s like to be a woman of color in our world today.
I would venture to guess that most of you reading my blog right now look a lot like me. No, it’s not the unruly, dyed blonde hair, grey-blue eyes, and furrowed brow (see past blog) that binds us; it’s the fact that most of us are of European descent, don’t know soul food from fillet of sole, and at one time or another, most likely in our teens, suffered from a severe sunburn that left us looking red as a lobster.
In short, our skin is white.
It seems unbelievable, but I went sixty-three years without knowing, let alone befriending, a black or brown skinned person. I didn’t purposely try to avoid it; the opportunity just never presented itself. Or maybe I never put myself in situations where the opportunity would present itself.
Three years ago, following the death of George Floyd, and the race issues that it raised in its wake, I felt God calling me to a new awareness.
I wanted to learn. I wanted to listen. I wanted God to present me with the opportunity to know women who didn’t look like me.
And He did.
I personally have been blessed and Firstfruits, collectively has been blessed, with two women of color that have come into my life and onto the board of Firstfruits two years ago. They have taught me, and personally shown me, how much work needs to be done before all of God’s children are one. They have pointed out that it’s really only by God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit that the unity we all desire can truly happen.
It won’t happen overnight. It takes the building of a foundation of trust. It takes a lot of honest talk. It takes a strong sense of humor. It takes a lot of love.
But it can be done. We just need to want it.
I want it. How about you?
Firstfruits is committed to the work of listening to and loving all our brothers and sisters. We are beginning to prayerfully discern just what that work looks like for the women of Firstfruits. If you would like to be part of this discernment process, contact Joan at