5 Things to Know About #BlackLivesMatter

Check out the Encounter to learn more about the #BlackLivesMatter movement, their work and mission.


The #BlackLivesMatter movement has been active across the United States, protesting the deaths of African American women and men at the hands of law enforcement. While most are familiar with the hashtag or the protests, there’s probably some confusion around this movement. Here’s 5 things you should know about #BlackLivesMatter.
 

  1. Began on social media: The #BlackLivesMatter movement started as a hashtag on social media in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the killing of Trayvon Martin. As the hashtag gained momentum, so did demonstrations and protests that occurred in response to other deaths, like Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, and Eric Garner in New York City.
     
  2. Working against police brutality: The main focus of the #BlackLivesMatter movement is to fight police brutality against African Americans in the U.S. But, according to their website, #BlackLivesMatter is also focused on resisting “all of the ways in which Black people are intentionally left powerless at the hands of the state,” including poverty and mass incarceration.
     
  3. Worldwide movement: While most of the #BlackLivesMatter chapters are in the U.S., there is also one in Canada (Toronto) and one in Ghana. #BlackLivesMatter demonstrations have been held all over the world.
     
  4. Not affiliated with a political party: On August 9, 2015, #BlackLivesMatter sent out a press release that said they do not endorse any presidential candidate in the 2016 election. Further, they also made it clear that they are not affiliated with any political party. They work for “ideological and political intervention,” trying to hold the political world accountable.
     
  5. Reforming police departments: Although the movement does not promote the importance of policing, they are not trying to abolish police departments. Rather, they are trying to reform them because there is overwhelming evidence that the black community is disproportionately victimized by the police system.
     

Whether or not you agree with everything the #BlackLivesMatter movement does or claims, it is important to educate yourself about this significant grassroots movement happening in the U.S. and around the world. Check out their website here.

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Scripture as Prayer: Praying the Psalms

Reflect on the issues of racial injustice by praying the Psalms, a book of the bible that explores the full range of human emotions.


Extra wide bookofpsalms

Contributed by Beth Richardson

 

Psalms has been called the prayer book of the Bible in both Jewish and Christian traditions. It is a collection of sung prayers that has been used in worship from the time of ancient Israel up to the present. Because the psalms range so widely in emotional expression, from the heights of adoration and praise to the depths of vengeful curses against the enemy, they have special relevance to our prayer life. They teach us to hide nothing from God, but to bring all that is real into the only relationship that can bless the best and heal the worst in us.

No matter what we are feeling — distress, trust, anger or delight, we find the words of the psalms accompany us into God’s presence. … In the psalms we find words to express every conceivable human condition and feeling. These prayers give us words to glorify, confess, hope, ask, and even curse. In so doing, they give us permission to share our whole being with God.

Pick a topic that speaks to you today. Pray these psalms or portions of psalms as prayers to God, expressing honestly your deepest feelings:

ANXIOUS/AFRAID
• Psalm 70

ENVIOUS
• Psalm 73

DESPAIRING
• Psalm 77

SICK AND TIRED
• Psalm 6

GRATEFUL
• Psalm 9

CONTENTED
• Psalm 23

WRONGLY ACCUSED
• Psalm 17

AWED BY GOD
• Psalm 29

 

Beth Richardson is the managing editor of Weavings Journal and Alive Now magazine at The Upper Room and serves as a deacon at Edgehill United Methodist Church in Nashville, TN. This post was originally published here. Beth is the author of the forthcoming book (Spring 2016), Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me: Celtic Blessings. 

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Take Action


Give to Prison Chaplains Ministry

This action gives you the opportunity to fund spiritual work done by prison chaplains all over the U.S.


One of the most significant ways racism still affects our society is in the prison system. An overwhelming percentage of incarcerated persons are people of color. When they are in the system, rarely do these people have the opportunity to learn or grow as human beings. They are viewed as a number rather than a person.
 

A way to address this issue is through the Upper Room Prison Chaplains Ministry, a ministry that provides books and magazines for spiritual formation. If this issue is important to you, consider donating to these efforts to allow incarcerated people to gain back some of their human dignity stripped away by the prison system.

 

Upper Room Prisons Chaplain Ministry

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