By Jessica Brodie
Annual Conference 2016 has come to a close, and as we prepare to go to press on this edition just one day later, I have to say it was a beautiful, funny, sometimes exhausting and altogether inspiring experience. This year marked my six-year “workiversary” as editor of the Advocate, and my love continues to grow stronger and deeper for this denomination and this conference and all the wonderful things we are doing to further God’s Kingdom on earth.
But I can’t seem to get off my mind one statement made during the final day’s proceedings. The statement, made by the Rev. Larry McCutcheon, came during a lengthy debate of the Responsibilities for Eradication of Racism Resolution that featured questions, points of order, amendments and amendments to amendments as the body worked hard to finesse language that submitters hoped would one day bring about an end to racism.
Standing before the body, McCutcheon said the time it was taking to vote on the resolution underscores the very need for such a resolution.
“Let’s not try to blackwash the issue or whitewash the issue—racism is alive and well,” McCutcheon said. “The fact that we’ve taken almost an hour to pass what I think is a simple amendment proves it is alive and well.”
The hard truth is that racism is still out there, and sometimes it smacks us right in the face. I wish it were not so, and I can’t pretend to know the magic answer. I do believe from the bottom of my heart that by talking about and writing about our stories, our pain and our awakenings, by building bridges and friendship and understanding, we are making dent in the problem. I hope that by the time my elementary-school children become my age, they’ll look back at some of the things said in 2016 and marvel at how bad things used to be—and be grateful at how far we’ve come.
And I believe that passing resolutions like this, where our conference takes yet another public step toward reconciliation and healing, helps in a big way.
I invite you to take a look at the Advocate’s South Carolina Stories of Racial Awakening Project on Page 5 (you can read previous narratives under the Views tab at www.advocatesc.org). Think about sharing your story.
And I pray we will all continue to accept the hard truths and do whatever it takes to build bridges of love in the name of our risen Savior.