The shocking killings of unarmed African American men and women by the police continue to deeply distress and disturb Friends everywhere, though none more so than Friends of color—who may be feeling too unsafe and threatened to even go about their day-to-day lives.
The police brutality and the social unrest experienced in the wake of protests in response to these atrocities have created an atmosphere of fear in which many feel unsupported and alone.
These recent events have occurred during a global pandemic whose deadly outcomes and economic privations have dis-proportionally affected people of color and their communities.
Coping with Crises
Efforts to cope with the pandemic have brought Friends closer in many ways. Most meetings have gone online and Friends providing pastoral care are reaching out to all in their worshiping community, listening deeply to concerns and offering care and support where needed.
Yet, these are difficult times that seem to be getting harder for people of color as we consider the future of our country. The senseless murders of Black men and women, the curtailing of social life and the deaths due to Covid-19—with no memorials or in-person mourning—have become part of a personal and collective grief which feels staggering.
This grief is being experienced and expressed as anxiety, anger and an underlying sense of insecurity about our next move as a society. For some of us, it is creating a sense of futility and frustration. Some are concerned that a problem so entrenched as American racism can or will ever be redressed. They fear the killings cannot be stopped.
Waiting on Spirit
It is our belief as Friends that when we wait upon Spirit with an open-hearted and sincere intention, the light of truth will be revealed to us. Truth will open us to a new understanding of ourselves and others. It will lead us to a more effective way of addressing racism, and a capacity to see ourselves as empowered in the world.
It is this faith, in our experience of truth, that gives us the strength to face new and unthinkable situations with trust and hope. It is not always easy to see what is happening in ourselves and in our world or to know the impact of our insights and efforts—such work in the face of grief and loss takes courage.
The Quaker advice for adjusting our vision to a new reality is to “mind the oneness.” When we connect to the deeper part of our being, our basic goodness as God’s creation, we realize our connectedness with the world in all its beauty and struggle and experience a deeper unity with each other. We find hope.
When Friends take the time to rest in Spirit, we relax into the unknowing which the complexity of the world demands. The simple injunction to “mind the oneness” can reveal an innate wisdom, that of God, which transcends personal identities and connects us to humanity with compassion and in love.
It is this experience that has renewed Friends for generations, giving them the energy to fulfill their vision of a peaceable world. It can help us support the truth that Black Lives Matter and the struggle to create a community where caring and concern for one another is our first motion.
George Schaefer, Care & Aging Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
We offer these curated resources that we hope will be of assistance. If more are need please send an email to the above address:
- Death Dying and Grieving Among Friends During Covid-19
- Swarthmore College’s Provost and Dean of the Faculty – Sarah Willie-Lebreton on Black Lives-Matter
- Friends Journal article on Spiritual Practices for the Pandemic