My life has been shaped by movements for black lives since childhood. Movement language was infused in my spirit during Sunday worship services at Christian Tabernacle Baptist Church in the sixties and Trinity United Church of Christ on the South Side of Chicago in the mid-eighties until the early 2000’s. My spiritual formation, biblical interpretation, and theological and human identity have been steeped in African-centered pedagogical faith practices and education.
When one’s life is shaped by movements for racial equity, liberation, freedom, and justice, the result is a life-long commitment to the God of creation whose creative endeavor has never wavered from equity, freedom of movement across the earth, and sacred kinship with all peoples.
I was taught and teach others that movements evolve out of struggles and strategies for civil and human rights, freedom from oppression and oppressors, access to public spaces, historical and contemporary cultural education, employment with living wages, fair housing practices, dismantling racial terrorism, unhindered access to healthcare and medical practitioners, ending violence against women and girls, and seriously advocating for justice, equity, and inclusion of our non-binary and LGBTQAI+, Hispanic, Latin, Asian and Pacific Islanders, Caribbean, and Native and Indigenous siblings.
However, ongoing dehumanizing efforts persist. As of November 8, 2022, a news release indicates, “Children of African descent are not considered children at all, say UN experts.”
In a report presented to the General Assembly by the Working Group on people of African descent, they highlighted discrimination against children of African descent in areas including the administration of justice, law enforcement, education, and health.
“Due to racial discrimination, racial stereotypes, systemic racial discrimination and xenophobia, children of African descent are not considered as children at all,” Working Group Chair Catherine Namakula said when presenting the report.
“Throughout the diaspora, children of African descent face heavier policing, including more arrests, police surveillance, racial profiling, strip searches and excessive use of force. Law enforcement is in conflict with children of African descent,” the experts’ report said.
The report details how false racial stereotypes of criminality, culpability, and dangerousness influence decision-making in relation to children and youth of African descent, including by legal system personnel, such as police officers, prosecutors, lawyers, and judges globally.
In 2022, God’s children of African descent globally are not seen as children. This is outrageous! The persistent false narratives are a result of imperial colonialism. Church doctrines sanctioned domination and genocide, and Supreme Court laws, policies, and practices continue to limit human flourishing and further a global agenda to control women’s bodies.
Brian Stevenson states in the documentary True Justice that in the United States, “We have a constitution that talks about equality, liberty, and justice for all and for decades, for centuries we tolerated enslavement of other human beings. We tolerated abuse and violence against people. We tolerated bigotry and discrimination . . . I think there is a kind of smog in the air that’s created the history of slavery and lynching and segregation, and I don’t think we’re going to get healthy; I don’t think we can be free . . . until we address this problem. But to get there we’re going to have to be willing to tell the truth.”
We can no longer stand idly by and allow governments and instrumentalities swayed by false narratives to dehumanize black children in the U.S. and around the world. It’s time the Christian Church stands in solidarity with African descended people and disrupt, eradicate, correct, protest, legislate, and demand government bodies, and representatives of the United Nations retract their statements regarding our children. Children of African descent are precious, beautiful, creative, intelligent, brilliant, sacred, and beloved of God. Children created in God’s image and likeness, valuable, and in need of our care and protection.
“Our children are our future. Dehumanizing, traumatizing, maiming, and killing African descendant children denies their humanity and negates their future, as well as the future of African descendant people globally. The violation of the human rights of African descendant children is at pandemic levels, a process that is causing injury to Black children globally. The voices of the nations need to rise calling for change that will ensure the childhood and livelihood of all children.” – Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia A. Thompson
Call to Action: Advocate and Protect African Descended Children
Now is the time to dismantle systems of hierarchy, beliefs in superiority, and ideologies of dominance.
Now is the time to embrace, celebrate, and learn about the historical and contemporary value of God’s beloved people of African descent.
No more excuses. No more waiting. No more hiding. No more performing. No more empty prayers. No more ignorance. No more silence.
Get involved in the International Decade for People of African Descent. As proclaimed by the General Assembly, the theme for the International Decade is “People of African descent: recognition, justice and development.”
Resources are available to engage globally. Contact Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia Thompson, (she, her), Associate General Minister for Wider Church Ministries and Co-Executive for Global Ministries United Church of Christ, National Ministries ThompsonK@ucc.org for more information.
Sign up for news and resources through The Children’s Defense Fund.
JOIN THE MOVEMENT TOWARD RACIAL JUSTICE! and protect God’s African descended children. Protect all God’s precious children!