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The time has come for us to all get more comfortable being uncomfortable.

It’s uncomfortable for white people to hear how their actions/inactions contribute to racism, even without realizing it. It’s uncomfortable for many Black people to speak up and share their lived experiences in front of audiences with whom they’ve previously been cautious, particularly those in power . It’s uncomfortable for all, because this moment requires new vulnerability with each other, trust without much history of effectively working together to address centuries of racial inequity.

Last September, Good Shepherd took the first fledgling step in becoming an anti-racism agency when our Board unanimously approved our Commitment to Racial Equity Policy. On Friday, our Racial Equity Council hosted a virtual open forum for employees and board members to talk about the killing of George Floyd and its aftermath.  Over 30 people attended from throughout the agency.  It was difficult, emotional, cathartic. Perhaps what impressed me the most was that we lived out our commitment to solidarity. We listened to and supported one another. We prayed, cried, and grieved together over the brokenness of our society, as well as the suffering this brokenness has caused so many of our employees and their families.

Despite the painful moments, the discussion was a success. We’ve talked about the implications of racism for those we serve and stand with for many years, but we’ve never talked so frankly about how it affects us as individuals and how we as an agency should respond.  We’ve not talked about making the most of the new urgency we’re feeling—our fears, uncertainty, and anger.  We’ve not told each other our stories, and we’ve not prayed together for God to guide us as we work to live more fully His Word of justice, of love, and of peace. That all changed on Friday.

I look forward to the discomfort.

May God bless our journey.

Michael P. Meehan, Ph.D.