Apology, Repentance, Action

I must apologize.

I must apologize for the way in which I have perpetuated and benefited from the systems that are designed to leave people out, let people down, cast people aside. Systems that subjugate and neglect. Systems that block access and deny personhood.

This apology is not enough if it is qualified in any way in order to salvage my pride or prove my personal righteousness. This apology is not enough if it is only for the sake of placating those who have been crying out for action and equality.

If this apology is going to mean anything at all, it must be accompanied by repentance - a changing of my ways, a turning away from old patterns of behavior. This repentance must then lead to a commitment to speaking out and standing up against the systems that maintain privilege for a few. This repentance must then lead to action alongside those who are most deeply affected by the unjust systems.

For far too long, the cries of those who have felt the boot of the oppressor on their neck have been ignored. Or worse yet, those cries have been turned into self promotional pet projects and feel good social action by those of us who benefit from those very systems of power and privilege. These systems that are woven into the very fabric of national identity will not simply change. These systems must be dismantled. In order for these systems to be dismantled, the difficult work ahead must be done together. And there will be little movement without a stronger commitment from me and those like me to learn from those who have been in the trenches; those who have long suffered from the intended consequences of these unjust systems. This will require a willingness to put my own self at risk. There is no other way around it.

Love of others, love of all peoples, love of humanity compels such a response. Love does not demand it. Love does not coerce. Apology, repentance, and action are all garments of this compelling love.

It is past time to step up not because I should, but because I must.

My apology must lead to repentance. My repentance must lead to action.

I am sorry.

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