We finished our first 21-Day Race Ideology Detox. People gathered each Wednesday for a month to primarily not talk about race, but to actually learn about race and view this socio-political construct through the lens of faith. Two churches from different denominations came together to host the weekly meetings. You can read more about the churches and why they hosted the detox, here.
During the very first meeting, I could feel the tension and discomfort in the room as participants ‘held their breath’ in anticipation of the much dreaded rigid dichotomous ‘race conversation.’ By the fourth and final session, I could sense the empowerment, unity and hope in the atmosphere. The heaviness and hopelessness was gone as participants had accepted the challenge to see race differently and become grace-filled spaces for healing and change.
Overall, participants were transformed by the process. One of the pastors wrote, “I was enlightened, challenged and encouraged.” As the facilitator, I observed the paradigm shift that occurred as participants replaced their perspectives once only fed by divisive politics, colorblindness, uninformed opinions and miseducation with a more ‘unity, freedom and justice’ centered approach to the race conversation.
One of the detox participants, Tiffany Trudewind, a wife and mom of four young children, chronicled her journey and transformation through her painting and a poem she wrote.
by Tiffany Trudewind (April 2016)
As I struggle each day for my identity
Am I simply a mother, wife, churchgoer, consumer?
Am I someone who really makes a difference
Or will my daily routine become all that I will amount to?
Then I woke to realize that I was fighting to identify
With a role in a society that judged me only by what I produced
That I was trying to blend in with something
That wanted to swallow me whole instead.
Then as the scales of perpetual blindness fell,
I realized who I really was,
I am a voice!
I am a whisper in my children’s ears of how special they are,
I am the encouraging word for my husband after a long day,
I am the prayer for a friend who is struggling,
I am a voice!!
I have the power of words to lift up the weak or grind them to the dirt
To spew hatred like knives or heal wounds as sweet water
Like shifting plates under the earth’s crust
My words can gain enough momentum to cause an earthquake
And as this new identity began to wash over me,
My eyes were opened to its full reaching magnitude.
I am a child of God so I am His voice too!!
And when I realized my power I understood the importance of my influence.
But I reflected and realized there were times I had shied away from this power.
I had chosen to stay silent when injustice had happened around me
I had chosen to fade into the backdrop because I believed my voice didn’t matter.
I had chosen for my voice to not exist therefore I did not exist.
And with a bubble of fire from a place that God had built deep in my belly I said
I will not be silent any more!
I cannot stand by and pretend it will go away on its own
I was made to be a voice of God’s love in the face of fear and hate
So if you ask me now who I am I will say
I am an advocate against injustice
I am God’s word spoken aloud
I am a voice that is no longer asleep
I woke up
Tiffany’s relentless pursuit of transformation is extremely motivating and encouraging. She has taken on the burden of seeking and finding the truth and in the process is becoming free—free to free her family, free to free her community. Our goal is to help set people free from the ignorance and fear that holds us captive and prohibits us from walking in the unity and oneness for which Jesus prayed.