Part Four: Gebo, A Gift From Frederick Douglass*
Updated: Jul 3, 2020
Ann: Mr. Douglass, you have something to say to us today?
Frederick Douglass: Yes, I do, Ann. It is on behalf of those who have withstood persecution, whose children have suffered, not just as objects of hatred, but in systemic denial of their personhood such that they were not deemed worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven. It continues today, but it is not as strongly entrenched as it was in my day, thanks to the efforts of the pilgrims and martyrs among us.
Today we are approaching a systemic realization of what we have done and what we owe to our bothers and sisters in order to lift each one up to where we can look in the other’s eyes. Today we stand together as equally created children of God, each with a choice to make. Do we turn toward our Creator or away?
The persecuted among us have stronger voices now. and they have made themselves heard as never before. It is now for the rest of us to reclaim our system of education, of housing and civil rights so that those who have borne such burdens for so long can come to equal footing.
And yet the footing will never be equal, for those of us with dark skin have experienced darkness visited upon us from those who mistook and exploited our light within. We will hold that collective experience to our bosom in remembrance and inspiration so that others will be held accountable and never be allowed to gain sway again.
It is a tremendous fight, and victory is not assured. We are given choices, and in that choice is our gift, our Gebo, a gift of unparalleled value, the gift of self-determination.
We can choose wisely or not. Each of us bears responsibility for each choice that we made in the past and those thrust upon us now. The light is shining now, and no one will be able to deny the reality of the choice they make in this time and place.
Choose God, choose each other, chose the gifts that He provided for each and every one of us, and let them shine. If we can do this, darkness will have no chance against us, and the blinding light of our Creator will elevate the light long buried in the dark skinned among us and let us lead the way.
Rejoice and take up the mantel of Christ’s words, “Let the little children come unto me and forbid them not, for such is the Kingdom of Heaven.” We are all of us children who are already saved and lit from within if we can accept that gift and make that choice.
July 1, 2020
*Frederick Douglass was an American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. After escaping from slavery in Maryland, he became a national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York, gaining note for his oratory and incisive antislavery writings. Wikipedia.