Ruth

My name is Ruth and I’ve been born and raised in L.A since 1986. I am half Black and half Filipino and I’m proud to be both. During this civil rights movement that we find ourselves in now in 2020, I have been active in advocating for #BLM. As someone who is bi racial I get the privilege of having multiple cultures. One isn’t more than another. I have been around all kinds of cultures since I can remember and I’ve learned to appreciate all ethnicity and diversity. In my immediate group of friends I’ve known since kindergarten/elementary and some since middle school we have Filipino’s, Korean’s, Chinese and Hispanics. My favorite roommate of all-time who I roomed with before she got married last year is all white and she’s from the mid west. It just saddens me that we’re in this position as a country and now what’s spread out world wide that we’re debating if black lives MATTER. It’s to the point that we’re now again protesting for it, we’re educating people on it, we’re sending emails to our mayors and governors that things need to change NOW. All we want is to be treated and seen and heard just like anyone else. The fact that this topic is controversial and that by having these conversation has made people feel uncomfortable is just the very reason why we have to do the work and keep going. Not everyone is woke to the realities of how people of color are treated. We really need to take this time seriously and we need everyone on board to make this change. I am a women of faith and I do pray that we open our mindsets, open our hearts to those of us who have been hurting and are in pain. Knowing that together we can make a difference in the world we live in and for generations to come. I pray that things start shifting in how we see people and really start to love our neighbor. Who’s our neighbor? Well... every. single. person. But usually how we love our neighbor is a reflection of how we love ourselves. So I say this: Love yourself well. Love yourself not how you see you but how God sees you. Kindness really does rule and your neighbor really does matter."

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Christa

2020 has been rough. It has revealed a lot to me. It has reopened thoughts of sadness, pain, heartache, and anger. What saddens me the most is that I found it hard to believe that we had gone so long without a major story of a black person being killed unjustly. And isn’t that such a sad space to be in? It’s almost like I was expecting it to be a regular thing, and the fact that it hadn’t happened yet left me in a weird space of hope and doubt all at the same time. I wanted to believe that maybe it wasn’t going to happen, and in that very same moment I was thinking it’s only a matter of time until it happens again. Well it happened again. Multiple times in less than a month. I think this pandemic forced me to sit in my pain and my anger. It forced me to say certain things and have certain conversations that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. It made me sit in a very emotional space and yet at the same moment it opened my eyes to the fact that I need to do my part. It awakened something in me. It caused me to go to God and cry out to Him! It opened my eyes to the compassionate and caring God I serve. How He sees the injustice, He sees the racism, He sees the ongoing pain black people have experienced for centuries. He lit a fire on the inside of me and gave me a passion and a drive to get up and do something! To not just sit back and be mad about the injustices in this world, but to carry the message forth even after all this dies down to still advocate for black men and women in any way I possibly can. I’m making a decision to stay hopeful. If I can facilitate one positive interaction, if I can empower one child, if I can make even one small change, I’m making a difference."

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Rachelle

I’m Rachelle Gardner. I’m a mother of 3. I’ve been married to the love of my life Daniel Gardner for 22 beautiful years!!! Our kids are Jeremiah Gardner 22, Micah Gardner 20 and, Brea Gardner 9. My family is my most precious gifts from God! He’s been so good to me and my family. 

 

Have we experienced racism. Of course!!!! We have had a family that didn’t want my son to date their daughter due to race, been followed in stores due to color, stopped by a police officer and were wrongfully accused of smoking pot and we had not, called niggers while we were running outside, not even acknowledged shopping in a store, and the list goes on. But, my family chooses to look at it like this..... 

 

Either you have Gods love in your heart or you don’t. God’s love is a real love for others that will chase those worries away. The thought of being punished is what makes us afraid. It shows we have not really learned to love. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God remains in us, and His love is perfected in us. When someone is unkind because of our skin color this has been our response. 

 

People that have treated us or others differently because of the color of our skin does not have God's love in their hearts! Period! 

 

We all have to check our hearts. It’s not one sided. If we are honest, we have all had experiences that make us form a way of thinking that is not in line with God's Love!! We have to renew our minds and constantly check our hearts to be in line with what his word says. Don’t be afraid to ask God to show you how to love others that are not like you. He knows how we truly feel anyway! 

 

What can we can all do for change? 

We can find ways to make a change in our everyday life. Every single day!!!! We can be the first!! 

 

  1. Ask yourself - Who am around?! Is this a diverse group of people who help me grow in life? If not, how can I diversify? 

  2. Who can I go help in or out of my community? 

  3. What gifts and talents do I have that I can share to help others In need? 

  4. Where can I go to serve? 

  5. How can I be kind to everyone around me no matter race, or ethnicity? 

  6. Who can I invite over for dinner, out of coffee, or lunch that does not look like me?! 

  7. What can I do right now to make a difference? 

 

I had a painting company come to my house this last week. I went outside and introduced myself, set cold water outside, let them know they could use my restroom inside my house, told the team they were doing a great job!! The painters were Hispanic. I could not wait to go out of my way to look for ways to let them know they are not here to just paint my house. I see them as a person and care!! This is a simple way! But, a way we can bridge that gap. 

 

I run frequently and I saw two ladies that I waved to earlier in the week. I saw an opportunity a few days later while they were walking and I introduced myself. It’s so simple but needed by us all to be the first. Get out of your head and do something! Not just talk about it on social media. Be about it! 

 

I have a sweet neighbor who is 76 years young. She is a Caucasian lady. The first day we moved in she came over and introduced herself, invited me into her house, gave me something to drink and eat! While my family was in her house the other neighbor called her and said, you have black people in your house! She said really?! Well, they are very nice people! A few weeks later after we got settled, I went over to the other neighbors house, introduced myself and offered her to come over to my house for dinner. She was shocked and surprised! She has since warmed up to us. We have lived here 2 yrs now and it’s just gotten better and better! My neighbor they welcomed us from day one is my friend. We talked about racism the other day and it was amazing. She was around when segregation was a thing everywhere. I listened to her stories and she listened to mine. We had a good, honest conversation! It made my day! She brought it up to me and started the conversation. 

 

I have a lot of Caucasian friends and they have all connected with me and my family. This is not new, we have always had open and honest conversations, had dinner in each other’s home, gone on family vacations and celebrated special holidays and birthdays together. We have had lots of good, meaningful conversations about racism! It’s been amazing to have these conversations with all of them. It’s bonded all of us together even more! 

 

This is God’s love! It’s real, see’s color but, see’s the heart more!! Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 

 

For you did not receive a spirit of slavery that returns you to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" Romans 8:15 

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