Today is week 41 of #TWmemorymondays, and it features this amazing piece written by my dear friend Brit (@cooperobinson ). It puts to words so many feelings and thoughts that I couldn’t have articulated better. The past two weeks have been so heartbreaking and painful for so many of us. For me, the article not only applies to male church leaders, but to ALL men and also ALL people from a higher place (unjustifiably) of societal power in relation to all different forms of oppression. For exams, like what Brit wrote, white people being allies for POC. Silence can be so loud. Thank you, Brit, for writing this and letting me share it! Hear more of my thoughts through instastories. Original post is in the link in my bio!
By Brit Cooper Robinson:
An Open Letter to Male Church Leaders
Dear Male Pastors,
For two weeks, women in this country have been re-traumatized, humiliated, frightened, and utterly demoralized as we’ve watched the Supreme Court nomination process unfold. I have felt it myself. I’ve discussed it and cried about it almost daily with other women. Women I know, public figures, and women on social media have attested to the same. In some cases, the heaviness of this situation has manifested physically in us — headaches, sleeplessness, and panic attacks. In Chicago, while our city held its breath for the Van Dyke verdict, I realized this Supreme Court nomination is the closest I will come to understanding how African Americans feel every time a cop is let off after killing an innocent black man. I can only describe it as an almost suffocating feeling of oppression—the understanding that the system is so completely against my humanity. The exhaustion. The fear.
This week our government—in an almost fantastical fashion—confirmed women’s worst fears: we don’t matter. Our words, our injury, our trauma do not count. They value as nothing compared to a white man’s significance and career.
We’ve known this, as have the generations before us. But to see it on such full display (the President mocking Dr. Ford at a rally, the disparaging comments made by the masses on social media) has felt like a crushing weight.
For us, it is a message now reaffirmed far and wide; from playgrounds, prom nights, universities, corporations, and the highest court in our country: if you are a white man, you can get away with anything. Brock Turner was not an exception. Women and their words will not count. There’s no reason for men to listen, no reason to legislate, no reason to change. The old order stands. And so I will keep walking to my car at night with my keys between my fingers.
I was further hurt last week when nothing was said about it during church. I understand the complications of addressing issues related to politics from the pulpit but this has reached beyond politics. The politics are only symptomatic. This is about humanity and personhood. Women are hurting. Our faith does not exempt us from these stastitics: 1 in 5 women will be raped at some point in their lives. 1 in 3 women will experience some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime. The statistics for Native women and women of color are worse. All women are intimately acquainted with the dehumanization of misogyny. I don’t need my pastor to address a partisan Supreme Court nomination hearing, but there is immense value in a male pastor affirming the worth of women. The cultural devaluing of women is so loud, so daily felt by all of us, I don’t believe church leadership can remain silent.
One congregate I spoke to was frustrated with her husband’s response to the events of the last two weeks. We both agreed this experience is different for men. Culture has only recently demanded that this generation of white males even consider the other side. As with racial issues, this is something many of them are just now starting to try to understand.
But we need more. We need action.
Just like white people need to be allies and wield their privilege to help minorities, men must step up for women and make practical change. I’m more and more convinced that change will begin with the power of words.
Male Pastors, speak about this issue on Sunday. Not the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, but about the message it sends to women — the very women sitting in the room where you speak. Listen to us and hear our pain. Affirm the church’s value and esteem for women. Acknowledge this is not a momentary experience for us. Give us your support and say it out loud. We need to hear it.
#TWmemorymondays: A painting inspired by a memory every Monday of 2018. Connecting abstract art to real life. Week 41/53. 'A Letter' / 8x8 in / mixed media on paper