hat can I do? What can I do about the injustice I am more awakened to each day? What can I do to learn and grow so I can be a better neighbor and friend? What is my role in the conversation of race?
These are difficult, tough and uncomfortable questions. No matter where you find yourself on the spectrum of politics, religion or your particular life stage, these questions face all of us.
If you are having a difficult time answering these questions on your own, you are not alone. Anyone who has tried to order a copy of “White Fragility,” “Me and White Supremacy,” “The Color of Law,” or any other book on race, knows many were out of print and back-ordered for months. Our country’s relationship with race has been messy at best. At worst, our relationship has been blood-soaked, terrorizing and traumatizing.
Though I believe there is a way forward together. I am on the board of Project Unity in Dallas. Project Unity was created by my dear friend, the Rev. Richie Butler in the wake of the police shootings that took place in July 2016. Project Unity was launched to bring people of different upbringings, backgrounds and races together for intentional conversations about race while sharing a meal. Together We Dine events have taken place throughout Dallas since 2016 as thousands of people have learned that conversations on race can be difficult and yet life-giving and powerful.
Last week, Project Unity held a press conference to announce a new Together We Can initiative. Together We Can provides individuals, corporations and groups the tools to educate, enable and empower a lifestyle of mindfulness and action against racism. Find ways to be involved and committed to this initiative at their website.
Mother Theresa diagnosed all the world’s problems this way: “We have simply forgotten that we belong to one another.” Friends, we need to remember that we belong to one another; we are not just neighbors; we are not just Dallasites; we belong to one another, in mind, body and spirit. The invitation is for us to renew our mindfulness to this reality and create a lifestyle of belonging in our great city as we all take action against racism.
Yes, this journey will be messy. Yes, there will be bumps along the way that may be uncomfortable. But I believe it will be holy, for this journey will return us to one another.
With great hope,
Rev. Matthew Ruffner is the Senior Pastor at Ruffner at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church. He is a husband to Sarah Ruffner and a father of two. You can follow Matthew on Instagram at @thisismatthewruffner; visit PHPC.org to watch the church’s live stream and listen to sermons.