gail song bantum

blog on identity, leadership, discipleship

advent, black lives, and 25 days of changing the narrative – day #24

today, i’m reminded of the reason why i started this whole advent journey. writing in protest, doing my small part in lifting up the narratives of beautiful and powerful black lives in the midst of such tragic and ill-formed narratives we’re continually exposed to, is largely due to this sister right here.

day 24 – december 23

ashley june moore

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i first met ashley just over 2 years ago when she relocated to seattle from st. louis, missouri. needless to say, born and raised in the heart of st. louis, the transition up to the pacific northwest has been a difficult one for her. as one of her pastors, we’ve had the chance to share stories, meals, life transitions, laments, and joys together over the past few years.

in the midst of so much tragedy, injustice, grief and pain displayed in ferguson and all around this country, reality struck a little too close to home for ashley. being hundreds of miles away from her family and close community in st. louis, i’ve had the privilege of journeying alongside her more intensely over the past several months. from the news of brown’s death, to the images of his body, to the televised memorial service, to reading and posting articles, to the announcement of wilson’s no indictment, to hearing about the subsequent and continuous brutality happening to black women, men, and children witnessed all around the country, to attending local vigils, to the announcement of garner’s no indictment, to watching videos of his death, to hearing his last words… – we’ve journeyed together through it all! whether through fb, twitter, angry texts, phone calls, joining me at work, coming over to the house, long hugs, tears, overwhelming sighs, silence, or just a forced laugh at dumb things to grab a moment of sanity…

upon news of wilson’s no indictment, when protests intensified and looting of property in the st. louis area broke loose, ashley shared with me that she feared it could further cause the image/narrative of black folks to be seen as violent and destructive. never mind the fact that it was all in response and in protest of the grave injustices that continue to befall black bodies –  the sheer anger and eruption of emotion that comes with facing injustice after injustice – the feeling that you and your people have been pressed up against the corner for far too long!!! but this truth was irrelevant in that moment, because what i heard in her voice was the reminder that certain narratives are rarely ever controlled by the people themselves but by those in power.  from that space, i could literally feel the tension and near despair in her voice…

THUS, the emergence of this advent series on my blog – my meager attempts to help control and re-frame the narrative. it’s been my voice of protest, my voice of solidarity, and my voice of declaring that not only do #blacklivesmatter, but many, many, many black lives have been integrally woven into my life and have profoundly shaped who i am today in beautiful, unimaginable and powerful ways! ashley is one of those lives. she is a passionate, driven, no-nonsense, creative, intellectual, and encouraging woman of god! she’s currently a full-time graduate student at fuller theological seminary and serves with intervarsity fellowship as well. she and her husband thomas, have been married for 2+ years and together make an incredible team and partnership in life! so much love for them and grateful for their presence in my life. #blacklivesmatter

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