Which ancestors would you like to have?
In 1776, the Declaration of Independenceence was signed in response to Britain’s “history of repeated violations and usurpations” which violated the moral imperative “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights”.
Freedom to pursue inalienable rights did not come that day. Rather, the signatories stated their intent to advance a just community, despite opposition from systems that wished to remain the same.
As I reflected on this time of revolution, I began to wonder how we choose to engage voices that participate in the evolution of belief and culture. So I turned to the legacies of ancestors from faith traditions and society.
Moses met opposition when he denounced the abuse of power that enslaved people and raised his voice to set them free.
Jesus confronted the religious institutions that had abandoned God’s command in favor of human traditions and the Roman Empire that exercised its power over man.
Throughout the ages, Galileo has been remembered for his scientific discovery of the sun as the center of the rotating earth. His discovery led to his being accused and convicted of heresy by the Roman Inquisition.
History credits Martin Luther with igniting a period known as the Reformation when his 95 theses challenged church practices. Despite his faithful contributions to change, his statements contributed to his ex-communication from the Catholic Church.
More recently, the resilient voices of Sojourner Truth and Ida B. Wells, countercultural as abolitionist suffragettes, are echoing.
You may be familiar with the legacy of journalist and community organizer Anne McCarty Braden, who was arrested for opposing racist real estate practices.
And although a national holiday honors Martin Luther King, he has been among many persecuted for their commitment to promoting civil rights.
These are some ancestors who participated in the evolution of belief and culture. Today, amidst voices opposing change and calling out heresy, they are revered for their contribution in advancing the fellowship.
We are still reaching out for the moral imperative that lies before us to fulfill self-evident, inalienable rights Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all people.
The Dallas City Council will consider passing the law this summer Racial Justice Plan (REP) developed in partnership with the community through the Office of Equity and Inclusion. The plan aims to bridge the gap of injustice perpetuated by systems institutionalized decades ago and promote justice for all so we can live to our best selves.
Voices that contribute to the REP challenge systems that repeatedly cause violations that interfere with the pursuit of unalienable rights and marginalize our city‘s neighbors.
As our ancestors defied the dominant systems of their time, I wonder which side of the ancestors will we be known for?
Will we choose to participate in the evolution of faith and culture, or carry the legacy of the ancestors who condemned and crucified those who spoke openly to the beloved community?
What Kind of Ancestor Should We Choose?
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