By Jessica Quinn, Online Communications Specialist
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 2000s. 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 also 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.