“We send our deepest condolences to the victims of the racially-motivated shooting targeting Black people in Buffalo, New York. This horrific rampage is another in the long line of distinctly American mass shootings that combine racism and gun violence. This is a deepening crisis for which we must be prepared to make all the necessary sacrifices to peacefully bring to an end the scourge of hate. We must all work together on this.”
This would have been a comforting and consoling message to receive from white evangelicals, schoolmates, and friends. Sadly, I haven’t heard from anyone. And I’m well known.
This is the cycle of deafening silence when white terror is inflicted upon people of color. A news station in Kansas City interviewed me and asked if I addressed the scourge of hate during my Sunday worship service. My quick and succinct answer was that it was not just another Sunday! Any great pastor must be able to exegete his congregation as much as he correctly interprets a biblical text. When I stepped on the platform and looked at them as they stared at me, I knew what a good pastor needed to do. I needed to lament with them.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr reminds us that we will long forget the words of our enemies. But we will always remember the silence of our friends. There seems to be a continued deafening silence from major influencers while hateful attacks are carried out by those who are seeking to gain influence.
There must be a direct call to action that reforms and transforms our nation. This is not political; it’s theological. This is not complicated; it’s a lesson in compassion. This is not encroaching on the Second Amendment; it’s an accurate interpretation of the Great Commandment.
What needs to happen now? The response and reaction are still the same. Nothing happens substantially until white allies know, feel, and embrace the struggle for decency and equity.
We need you! If that’s what you need to hear so that we can endure fewer hate speeches, modeling and messaging supremacy to children, and endorsing Great Replacement theories then let me say it again – we need your help!
I will close with these lyrics:
Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down a road and back again
Your heart is true, you’re a pal and a confidant
And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you knew
Well, you would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say – “Thank you for being a friend.”
The question is: Where are my friends?
Darron L. Edwards, Sr. is lead pastor of United Believers Community Church in Kansas City, Missouri.