In today’s service, Joetta tells a forgotten history of Northern Kentucky, including the lynching of African Americans in the front yard of a Universalist family. Lynching is murder, a hate crime, and even an act of terrorism. Not only does it take a life, it is designed to intimidate anyone with a different political view. It is difficult to acknowledge or to reconcile with any goodness or hope for humanity. I struggle with the story.
The very limited word of hope I can offer is this: We are all captives to the history we inherit and that inheritance brackets how much change we can advance in our lifetimes. That said, every good thing we do matters.
That the men of Northern Kentucky were murdered in the front yard of someone who deeply and actively affirmed their humanity had to make some difference. There was someone to bear witness; to say that this is not OK; to affirm the worth of the soul and to honor the life taken. When we cannot stop the terror, we can still be present, be vocal, and name the truth of our history.
It is not easy work, but it is soul-deep and important work – this willful not looking away, this deeper dive into the questions of who we are as individuals and as community.
Given the heartbreak and difficulty of acknowledging the deep racism that defines so much of our culture it is good that we can support one another. It is good to work together.