Living in the Light

Racial Reconciliation: A Series on the Journey of Experience and Understanding

*This blog series is a written through the lens of several writers’ experiences and is thus each writer’s own story. The voices and experiences of each writer are honored and valued, but are not subjected to the experiences or the voice of the UGA Wesley Foundation as a whole. Thank you for taking the time to read about some of our interns’ and students’ experience with racial injustice and what each one believes God is leading them to do next.
As a Black student navigating a space like UGA where most people don’t look like me, I am always aware of the fact that I will be one of few Black people in most places I go. Whether it’s in my 8 am or in Bolton or even in Tate Grand Hall at Wesley on Wednesday, I can almost always count the number of people who look like me in the room on one hand. There are so many instances I can remember feeling singled out. I remember being watched as I walk around a local boutique, and also getting weird stares from white people as I was taking a stroll in their neighborhood. These are all things that happen more than I'd like to admit. What these scenarios have in common is their ability to make me feel out of place and un-belonging for the simple fact that I am Black. It always leaves me thinking, how is this fair? How is it that I am just existing, yet made to feel as if I don’t belong?

I’m lucky to have some great friends from all walks of life, and we often talk about our upbringings. During one conversation, a friend mentioned that she was raised in a community where there weren't many minorities. So, she didn’t learn about having an inclusive perspective until she came to college. This is a truth that many people possess, and sometimes, people never change their perspectives. This concept has stuck with me and allowed me to call many things into question about race and how we navigate the world with a limited human perspective.

When I think of racial reconciliation, as Christians, I think it is simply the matter of following God’s principal commands. "Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble" ( 1 John 2:9-10). He calls us to love Him first and to love our brothers and sisters as well. These are seemingly simple tasks, but some people live in worlds where all their brothers and sisters look like them and people of other races don’t exist. What God has revealed to me, especially in the current height of racial tension, is simple. As children of God, the multiple worlds that we live in on this earth, isn’t what He had in mind for us. As followers of Christ, we live in the kingdom of God; One kingdom with many people.  And His rule for us is to simply love Him and love others.

I’m not sure when true racial justice will be achieved. I’m not sure when Black students will see other people who look like them in their classrooms. I’m not sure when Black people will be able to exist in peace. But God has never stopped telling us what he expects of us. That light that’s described in 1 John 2:9-10. It makes me think of what people should see and the love they would possess in their hearts if they stepped outside of their own worlds. And that is what I believe God wants for us.  

Author | Autumn Pressley





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