Catina Blackmon Jackson T’13,’14

An Essay by the Associate Minister of First New Birth Baptist Church, Assistant Vice President, Information Technology at Chubb

A Clarion Call for Healing Racism in the Land

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Catina Blackmon Jackson (right) with her Grandma Susie (left) and three daughters.

June 17th marks the five-year anniversary of my grandmother-in-law’s execution at the hand of a white supremacist. This wasn’t just any murder. This killing took place in one of our most sacred spaces in the land, the church. Susie J. Jackson, affectionately called Grandma Susie, was the oldest member killed that horrific night at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. She died that night during Bible study after welcoming and embracing the stranger in prayer. She died that night with eight other saints who had to suffer and die at the hands of hatred.

A declared white supremacist carefully planned this horrible event and wrote his manifesto with the intent to start a race war. He was ultimately convicted and sits on death row. And, to this day, he has no regrets and lives with no remorse for any of his actions that cruel day. This white supremacist is an example of a person who has hardened his heart. He shot Grandma Susie 11 times; she was shot the most out of the nine victims involved. He never once acknowledged the presence of any families in the courtroom. He never once acknowledged the presence of any witness taking the witness stand. Every day during the trial he never looked at anyone except at the judge when the judge sentenced him for his multiple crimes. This is an example of what pure hatred for another human looks like in the world. This is the outcome of racism and bigotry and prejudice. White supremacy is the terroristic act of racism, bigotry and prejudice all rolled up into one. And, its root stems from generational sin that humankind allows to permeate the land.

White supremacy eats at the soul and causes pain and suffering for all humankind by choice and by force. The issue with white supremacy is that it is a cancer of the heart and mind that destroys the soul. For those who accept white supremacy as a way of life and thinking, then it is by choice. For those who suffer at the hands of the power of white supremacy, then it is by force. All humanity suffers from hatred. This racist virus has caused a pandemic that is pervasive across the globe. After experiencing the plight of COVID-19 and how this virus has disproportionately plagued America, Black America must continue to suffer the violence of the virus called racism too. The trauma continues to build and the hatred continues to mount. Domestic terrorism called white supremacy, police brutality, police misconduct, hate crimes and inadequate healthcare have propelled Black America to cry out “Black Lives Matter!” Change must come! And, we demand change this time!

Policies must be reformed, laws must change and leadership must truly care about all humankind to eradicate systemic racism. Leaders with moral courage who hold high positions in government, healthcare, education, law enforcement and private industries are the change we seek in the world now. Most importantly, if we want to see the eradication of systemic racism, then the clarion call of our country’s spiritual leaders must be heard. All spiritual leaders, spiritual coaches, ordained clergy, pastors and spiritual guides must heed the call to heal those who are suffering from this cancerous disease called white supremacy, racism and bigotry. I believe that spiritual and community leaders have the balm in Gilead that will heal hearts and correct minds. We must be the voice in the earth. We must be the salt in the earth. We must be the ones to correct wrong thinking and rebuke hateful hearts with our voices of love. We must stand for righteousness and preach that love hides a multitude of generational sins. We must declare that love conquers all and love was created for all humankind. We must remind all of humanity that we are all equal in the sight of God because we are all made in the image of a Holy God. We must be the ones to speak life to the hearts, minds, and souls of the people to start healing in this land.

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