Though the pandemic has been unfolding and wreaking its havoc in varying degrees and timelines, we are all collectively emerging into a drastically different world than the pre-COVID-19 one we left behind a few months ago. Between the massive economic impacts and the more recent anti-racism protests and Confederate monuments being taken down, we are living through a time where change is happening right before our eyes. As we have watched the taken-for-granted structures of our world crumble, many have felt a renewed sense of shared human purpose and urgency to lean in and do our part individually to care for the whole and recreate a new normal that is more just and life-giving than the world we left behind.
From our respective perches in the US and in Kenya, we have each in similar yet different ways felt the sting of personal losses during this pandemic, between missed life milestones, events deleted from all of our calendars, and missed loved ones in the hospital or nearby but not close enough to hug. These losses have broken our hearts, yet, on a spiritual level, they have helped us grow in love and solidarity with all who suffer around the world. We hope you are finding solace and peace as you continue to make your way through this pandemic and weather your own set of personal losses in this still-uncertain and insecure time.
Like most natural and human disasters, this pandemic has brought into stark relief deeply entrenched injustices that reveal a status quo we do not want to return to. There is much tumult in the air today as uncomfortable truths are being exposed like the disproportionate number of Black and brown Americans who are infected and die of COVID-19. This is no accident but rather the fruit of the social disease of racism in our cultural fabric, which has its roots in our country’s history of slavery. Many have rightly been referring to deeply entrenched racism as a pandemic within the pandemic. That we are just now in the year 2020 taking down monuments to our slaveholding past shows us vividly how the past lives on in the present and how social change is not linear or automatic but rather comes in fits and starts and sometimes is accelerated by unfortunate realities.
The Girl Child & Her Long Walk to Freedom reading journey that we are relaunching this fall seeks to tap into the liminal space we are walking through now, which has allowed us to see and question the ways that this world we have built is harming our global human family. Our aim is to engage people of faith, in particular, to journey together with us as we ask ourselves: What “luggage” from our enslaving past are we still carrying around? How can it be bravely seen and felt and left in the past so we can advance as a human species? How can we take the next step in our long walk to truly live as a free people?