On my father’s side, the family is from Mississippi. (both of my grandparents were born there) Yet, if asked, my father will tell you that he never set foot in the state of Mississippi until he was 40. Here’s why…
My grandmother had been planning to send her five oldest children to Mississippi to visit the relatives. She had been planning this for months. The plan was that my father and his four siblings would go for the week before school started the day after Labor Day. The trip never happened.
Why, you ask?
Because on August 28, 1955, Emmett Till was lynched in Money, Mississippi; just a couple of days before the Hampton children were supposed to go to Mississippi. As my father recalls it, my grandmother said upon hearing the news and cancelling the trip, “No. If anybody’s going to kill mine, it’s going to be me.” So neither my father nor any of his siblings ever visited Mississippi until they were grown.
Why tell this story?
On August 28,2017 (the 62nd anniversary of Emmett Till’s lynching) an 8-year-old black child was nearly lynched in Claremont, New Hampshire. (please, do not come at me that the child was biracial. while true, the child was not put in a noose and thrown off a table because they had a white parent; it happened because they had a black parent)
Claremont, New Hampshire. Pretty far away from Money, Mississippi. Yet the action was the same. The only difference is in Claremont, the victim is still alive.
I’m tired. I’m so tired.
Tired of writing about situations that should not happen and yet know that they will continue to happen because they happen to black people.
Tired of asking how liberal religion is speaking to the situation on the ground.
Tired of knowing that, for the majority of my co-religionists, things are going just skippy in their world. And they see no need for things to change.
Tired of seeing white tears but no white action.
Tired of being asked, through those same white tears, “What can I do?”, and knowing that I (and many others) have BEEN telling people who want to do the work what to do.
Yet I do have an ask.
The young man who was nearly lynched in Claremont is going to need YEARS of therapy. Not only that, the family is going to need therapy and support too.
UUs in northern New England (upper Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine) should give money to the GoFundMe account that has been set up to help this child and their family. Give. Give generously. (UUs from other areas can give too, but this is in northern New England’s backyard)
the ask–part 2
Every UU congregation within 50 miles of Claremont should get together and have a rally and a White Supremacy Teach-In for the broader community. It does not have to be in Claremont, but it should be close.
Most of you have probably seen this picture before. It hung outside the NAACP’s national headquarters in New York from 1920 thru 1938. That it still needs to hang 97 years from when it first appeared……
An 8-year-old black child was nearly lynched on August 28.
“When You Deny Black People Their Humanity, All Things Are Possible.”