What are we working for and building up in Equity Kingdom? Our mission is to grow equity and racial justice everywhere, and to be the love and justice of God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. In communities that reflect God’s kingdom here on earth.
Racism pervades nearly every feature of life in the U.S. and other countries too. Our goal is to transform these unjust, racist aspects of life and to dismantle systemic racism and the pain, loss, trauma, and death it causes. Our focus is especially on truly safe neighborhoods for all, affordable health and healthcare for all, and free education for all at all levels. Our educational mission is to work toward free public education that supports all students at all levels for success in their programs/chosen fields, and eliminates racist disparities in access, affordability, school resources and quality, and graduation rates.
But how to make changes in education as we know it and bring about these antiracist educational goals? Of course, whether we’re students, parents, teachers, or staff, we need to be involved at the schools we are part of and try to organize for change. We must truly listen to each other, share our own points of view, and start to acknowledge and validate one another’s perspectives. For me, I know there is much unlearning to do along with the learning so important to understanding each other better. Only after unlearning what is unjust, racist, and wrong in our thinking can we begin to bring wholly new ideas, discussion, and curricula to the table, to talk about equity, justice, antiracism, biases and stereotypes in ways that will be helpful in community building and community decision-making.
To begin, shouldn’t we also deeply listen to our young people and all people? To really understand what’s in their hearts and on their minds? We all—people of all races, genders, ages, cultures, and backgrounds—are made in God’s image and deserve to be honored, treasured, uplifted, and treated with respect. We all need to be supported and encouraged to develop our human potential and follow our dreams and goals. And education in many different aspects and forms has a key role in fulfilling this mission.
Many cities across the U.S. are beginning to look at their budgets to reassess and reallocate monies that have been going to law enforcement; they are starting to ask how these funds could better serve the community. Let’s think especially about education. We want to advocate for and put in place policy changes that provide resources, programs, and funding to bring free quality education to everyone who wants it (including at the preschool and post-secondary levels) and provide every kind of helpful supplemental program to assist people in graduating from high school, college, or other programs they want to pursue.
One of the greatest teachers ever was Jesus. His disciples called him Teacher, and so did the multitudes of his day, as well as billions of people after his death and resurrection, continuing throughout the generations and millennia since then until now. Jesus taught us so very much about life and how to live it. But, first and foremost, he taught about love. He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
What about how we treat our neighbors and other community folk? Jesus taught, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31) He also said, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. (Mark 10:14) Let’s never forget that the kingdom of God belongs not only to us today but to all the children, grandchildren, and people of the future. I pray that our actions and decisions we take today and in the days to come will be acceptable in God’s sight and will stand the test of time.
A question to keep asking in our country and communities is Why in the world do we continue viewing and treating people of different races differently?!? Why in our world are some privileged over others? Why do white people receive more of the good things of life and get special benefits, perks, and decent treatment, while black and brown sisters and brothers are denied material blessings, even life’s necessities, and cast aside, often brutalized and killed? So many times in our nation (and our schools), we place multiple obstacles in people’s paths, limitations on what we believe they should aspire to and accomplish, and what students can imagine and achieve, We’ve pinned on others stereotyped messages of inferiority, low expectations, and failure. When will we stand up and recognize their God-given talents, strong minds, kind hearts? When will we truly encourage self-esteem and confidence in all our children and every person?
These things are, after all, the birthright of all people the world over, as children of the most high God. In Equity Kingdom, we look to and work toward the day when “creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God.” (Romans 8:19)
In all our work, and especially our mission of education—of learning and unlearning—we employ traditional tools of civic engagement, community involvement and organizing, marches and protests, as well as voting. But we also bring the nontraditional self-expressive experiences of the visual arts, writing, drama, dance/movement, play, as well as artistic/creative parades, processions and protests. (In this spirit, I want to encourage anyone who’s so inclined to print out the line drawings on our site and in blog posts, and “become like children,” color or paint them in any way you’re moved to. Or better yet, make your own drawings and paintings. We would love to see what you come up with! You can send them to me, Artista Anni, at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can hardly wait to check them out!)
In Equity Kingdom, we try to keep in mind the old saying, “Each one teach one.” Also Jesus, the good shepherd, who left 99 sheep who were safe and secure and went to bring back into the fold one sheep who was in danger. We find that the transformational activities we engage in, in our workshops, connections with each other, and other community events can open everyone’s hearts and imaginations to new visions, dreams, and goals. We find that insight, wisdom, courage, and commitment are often awakened and encouraged too.
This picture and its biblical text remind us of the importance of Jesus’ teachings and all that he has said to us. (John 14:26) We are reminded too of the gift of the Holy Spirit, who comforts us, teaches us and connects us with each other. In thinking on equity, keep in mind: “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.” (Romans 8:14). And “the kingdom of God is … righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17)
Be well! And stay tuned for new posts coming soon about the Holy Spirit and how it can help us love and honor one another, and together build an equitable world.