The Right Reverend Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire, wrote “I Am Gay and I Am Black Lives Matter” for the Huffington Post’s interfaith #BlackLivesMatter series, reflecting on his visit to Ferguson, Missouri to pay respect to Michael Brown, killed by a police officer in August 2014, sparking widespread activism.
Walking up to the makeshift memorial, set up along the center line of the quiet street, I knew that I was on holy ground. Teddy bears, wilted flowers and notes on small scraps of paper told me that this was a place where tears were shed and hearts poured out. I felt quiet, respectful and a little like an intruder on this quiet Ferguson, Missouri street, surrounded by modest apartment houses. I was there to pay my respects to Michael Brown, the young, unarmed black man, killed by a cop who said that he feared that this 18-year-old threatened his life. This makeshift memorial, built on the spot where Michael’s body lay for several hours, seemed to pull me inextricably forward as my mind tried to grasp what had gone on there.
And then I saw it: a cardboard box, four feet long and about 9 inches square, standing on its end, like a lone pillar. The cardboard box had been painted black, and written on it in gold paint were the words: “They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.”
Robinson recognizes the division between his experience and that of the black communities in Ferguson and elsewhere:
What would I, a white, reasonably affluent, professional, gay man share in common?
Let me be clear: No one born white in this country can imagine the continuing price to be paid for having been an enslaved people.
At the same time, he writes of an understanding of what it is like to grow up in “rural poverty,” and to be bullied, threatened, neglected and discriminated against for being gay – and also to be resilient, to be a buried seed.
Read Bishop Robinson’s essay in its entirety here.
Photo credit: “Arboretum 9” by Franck CORDIER – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Posted by Cara Ellen Modisett