Sankofa is a West African word which means "looking backward to move forward". The Sankofa journey "seeks to assist disciples of Christ on their move toward a righteous response to the social ills related to racism." Over the course of a long weekend we traveled south stopping at historic sites of the civil rights movement and sites of oppression and inequality for people of color, providing opportunities to learn from the past in hopes of beginning to be a healing voice as we move forward on the road towards reconciliation.
The experience was made richer through sharing the journey with a partner of a different race. I could not have experienced so deeply without my dear sister, Ivory. Her openness and honesty along the way helped me to gain understanding. Her positive attitude, non-judgmental spirit, insightful questioning and ongoing grace were instrumental in making this journey life-changing.
From the moment we jumped aboard the bus, we were hard at work thinking and growing - challenging many of our prior misconceptions and inaccurate understandings. Each experience pushed me to personally evaluate and think critically about my own story and learn from humbly listening to the stories of my new friends. We traveled the road experiencing deeply as we made important stops along the way.
At the beginning of the trip we were forewarned that the journey may bring us to a place of chaos and uncertainty, and although some of that chaos still lingers, God is revealing to me places in my life where I can begin to use my voice a little more strongly to speak up against the injustice of racism - in my home, in my neighborhood, in my work with teachers and children, in my church and even in my art. I also desire to walk alongside and bring encouragement to my black friends, who may be angry, discouraged, sad or tired at the lack of progress our society has made in overcoming many racist practices. I pray that I will continue to follow God's leading with humility, knowing that seeking justice begins with seeking God.