On Sunday, I’m teaching the children’s sermon at my church. Anthony and I are both youth leaders, working on building a sustainable youth program. On Sundays, we take turns with several other church members teaching a short lesson to the wonderful kids in our church. This Sunday, our topic will be social justice, but more to the point – segregation and reintegration. I want the kids to be thinking about how Jesus would like us to react to this issue today. As I’m doing my research for this sermon topic, I came across an article* that caused me to catch my breath. In 2001, the fight to end segregation in schools was still happening in the south, brothers and sisters! The article states that “A study by Harvard’s Civil Rights Project finds that schools were more segregated in 2000 than in 1970 when busing for desegregation began.”
For us to be fighting this issue nearly 50 years later is an embarrassment to this great nation. How can we call America “God’s Country” if we are not doing His work?
Last night on the HMong for Life radio show** it was revealed that the Del Norte California school district has had money for a HMong teacher since 2009, but has not yet taken any steps toward hiring one. How is 5 years not enough time to locate and hire a qualified candidate? 10% of our local population is HMong, brothers and sisters. That is significant!
We are far past being able to stay silent about these issues. We must stand with our HMong brothers and sisters and fight for social justice.
I haven’t even begun to reintroduce the facts and sad (true) stories of the lives of Hispanic immigrants in the U.S. I’ll get to that later. For now, I’d just like us to consider this one point. Most asian immigrants can never “return home” and for many, the U.S.A is their home, as they were born here. This is their land just as much as it is yours and mine. Laotian blood was spilled for our freedom, brothers and sisters. If you’re not aware of the secret wars during Vietnam, please take some time and acquaint yourselves with it now. I’ll place some links below.
As I consider the deep impact of race wars in the United States, I’m reminded of a certain story from the Bible about the Good Samaritan.
Luke 10:25-37 Living Bible (TLB)
25 One day an expert on Moses’ laws came to test Jesus’ orthodoxy by asking him this question: “Teacher, what does a man need to do to live forever in heaven?”
26 Jesus replied, “What does Moses’ law say about it?”
27 “It says,” he replied, “that you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind. And you must love your neighbor just as much as you love yourself.”
28 “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you shall live!”
29 The man wanted to justify his lack of love for some kinds of people, so he asked, “Which neighbors?”
30 Jesus replied with an illustration: “A Jew going on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes and money, and beat him up and left him lying half dead beside the road.
31 “By chance a Jewish priest came along; and when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. 32 A Jewish Temple-assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but then went on.
33 “But a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw him, he felt deep pity.34 Kneeling beside him the Samaritan soothed his wounds with medicine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his donkey and walked along beside him till they came to an inn, where he nursed him through the night. 35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two twenty-dollar bills and told him to take care of the man. ‘If his bill runs higher than that,’ he said, ‘I’ll pay the difference the next time I am here.’
36 “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the bandits’ victim?”
37 The man replied, “The one who showed him some pity.”
Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”
It is not the oppressed, brothers and sisters, that are causing this great nation harm. It is the silent – those who see injustice but turn a blind eye to it. It is the oppressor – those who hate because of nationality and skin color. It is the bystander who watches, but can’t be bothered to help.
Martin Luther King Jr. said it best when he said “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
* BROWN V. BOARD: Timeline of School Integration in the U.S.: http://www.tolerance.org/magazine/number-25-spring-2004/feature/brown-v-board-timeline-school-integration-us
**HMong for Life radio broadcast is easily tuned into every Thursday evening from 5-7 pm Pacific Standard Time by visiting http://kfugradio.org
The Secret Wars
- Legacies of War: Secret War in Laos: http://legaciesofwar.org/about-laos/secret-war-laos/
- Laos is Still Under Attack from the Secret War: http://www.vice.com/read/laos-is-still-under-attack-from-its-secret-war
- A Desperate Life for Survivors of the Secret War in Laos: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/16/world/asia/16iht-laos.1.8763976.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
- Hmong Story 40 Laos and the Secret War (interactive map): http://www.hmongstory40.org/laos-the-secret-war/