Thursday, February 25, 2021
“So what does Black Lives Matter mean?” my then 9-year-old asked; “Don’t all lives matter?”

It was a warm June evening, and we were solemnly walking through the streets of Sewanee with hundreds of other community members: University of the South faculty and students, priests and parishioners, seminary professors and seminarians, high schoolers, pre-schoolers, and everyone in between.

For most of us, it was the first time we had seen each other—or the tight-knit community as a whole—in almost three months. So why were we there, Eve wanted to know. Why were we out of our houses, all masked up, walking through the village six-feet-apart from each other?

“Well,” I said: “It’s like when Daddy is heading off to the grocery store, and I say ‘don’t forget the milk’ or ‘don’t forget the butter’ on his way out the door. Milk and butter are key ingredients in everything we bake, and our baking doesn’t work right without all the ingredients. But too often, milk and butter get forgotten at the store. Because every ingredient is important, we can’t forget about the milk and the butter, which aren’t more important but are essential. When we say ‘Black Lives Matter,’ it’s a reminder. Too often this country has forgotten that African-Americans are an important, essential part of our whole society—Black lives make our society whole. Justice and equality for Black lives make it work right.”

“Oh,” she said. “So it’s not ONLY Black Lives Matter. It’s Black Lives Matter, TOO.”

She got it.

Since then, we have had many conversations about how Black lives were not simply forgotten over time but have been—and still are—oppressed, manipulated, and hurt by policies and people (whether they mean to or not). We have read books about how living in a Black body is a different experience than living in a white body. We have read about Black heroes who have made a difference for all Americans.

I am hopeful that my children—that all children—will grow up thinking about race differently than I did. This hope is the premise for my Installation Ingathering project to spread books on justice throughout Coronado’s Little Free Libraries. Because when I was growing up, being “colorblind” was a thing—a “good” thing. But wow, in retrospect, how hurtful to decide to be blind to the cause of so many iniquities.

Collectively, we must invest the time and energy to heal, repair, and reconcile the multitude of wounds inflicted on our Black siblings. Healing relationships and creating equity and justice will actually benefit everyone. One place to start is to recognize that Black history is all of our history. It should not be only a month—it should be a movement of reclaiming the stories of all people in our great nation.

Once we understand our history, we begin to understand how this country benefitted from the slave labor that constructed federal buildings and universities and whose financial gains paid for so many things. And we begin to understand the generational disadvantage of Black families. How injustice and trauma inflicted just a few generations ago—not to mention ongoing, current inequity and injustice—can affect a family’s well-being right now.
An easy way that we all can work toward reconciliation and justice is to patronize Black-owned businesses. We vote our values with our money every day whether we have very little money or lots of money. We always have the opportunity to show support and create equity in the choices we make with our dollar.

Jesus dined with the last—the lowest in society—to underscore their value, their equality, and their deservedness. Jesus publicly demonstrated his love for the last and the lowest to affirm that God loves them TOO (not ONLY, but TOO). This is God’s justice.

And by our faith, we are charged with participating in God’s mission to build the kingdom. This work happens by joining in God’s justice through creating Beloved Community. So follow Jesus and dine and shop Black this month . . . and beyond.

Many blessings and much love,
Mtr. Regan+
Christ Episcopal Church
1114 Ninth Street, Coronado, CA 92118