From Sandra Bland to Charleston to Baltimore to Ferguson, news of racism and violence, of protest and forgiveness, of hatred and injustice, have dominated the headlines and filled our newsfeeds. On the frontlines of these discussions is renowned reconciler the Reverend Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil.
Woman to woman—and mother to mother—“Dr. Brenda” (as she prefers to be called) has a few things to say about how Christian women today can make racial healing a priority. But not because she’s black. Or because she’s admired worldwide. Or because she has testified before Congress, or because she directs the Reconciliation Studies Minor at Seattle Pacific University, or even because racial hate and ethnic discord ripped the social fabric of our world this year in appalling, hurtful ways.
She’s speaking first today as a Christian—because she believes God calls her, and each of us, to the tough but critical work of racial reconciliation. She believes women of God can be powerful reconcilers in a world in desperate need of justice and healing.
Prioritize Diversity at Home
Dr. Brenda first challenges us to focus on children and what racial healing means for them, regardless of one’s race, politics, or even parenting status. “If I want to raise my children to be human beings who flourish and grow,” Dr. Brenda says, “preparing them well enough to live in a world that’s complex—to be guided by truths that will help them become all they can be—the first thing I have to be is a role model myself, to model what I want my children to become.”
But how can we model this? “It’s what we talk about over the dinner table. It’s the friends we ...1
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