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Jacqui El Torro

Jacqui El Torro

Chair’s Corner

June 2020

Grace & favor,

This is such a hard time for me emotionally, physically, mentally & spiritually. My prayer has been for God to speak to me to tell me what to do. Within the span of 24 hours, I was saying “you can stop now, I got it.” On my way to work one day, a Gospel radio station was on in the car, & the song “Open Your Mouth and Say Something” by Brent Jones started to play. I took note yet questioned what I could say to a white church body that would make a difference. Mind you, a good bit of my distress came March 6th on a drive from Atlanta to Mississippi; I shared the events of that day with the Women’s Council because it changed me. “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male & female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28 NIV) Scripture says we are all one in Christ, yet, I was viewed that day as less than equal; I will not go into the details of that day, I will only say “Sandra Bland, I speak your name.”

There are over 100 verses in Scripture on diversity, yet Sunday morning is the most segregated time in the world. Our church, the North American Lutheran Church, is segregated! Just walk around at Convocation; five or six persons of color out of 750 plus. (Inviting global workers or bishops from Africa really does not count in diversity efforts, that is simply diversion from the absence of people of color.)

In my days of being in the former church, I worked in cultural inclusion & cultural awareness. I use those terms because anti-racism is offensive to some. This is where God used another person to email me & remind me that I had a voice to speak of the unspeakable.

I want to start the conversation within the WNALC: where do we go from George Floyd & Breonna Taylor & Ahmaud Arbery & Elijah McClain? No longer can we put our heads in the sand & say America does not have a problem in dealing with race. This is no longer a black/white issue; it is a systemic issue that goes equally into class & race. Being African American, ie: Black, I cannot speak to what it is to have white privilege. I can, however, address internalized racial oppression. Going forward I will be recommending resources that will aid us in this journey of awareness together.

All light & love,

Jacqui

 

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