My reaction to Zae Asa Illo’s article and the Friends-of-Color Epistle was one of sadness and frustration. How can we have a Friends-of-Color Epistle with a message that could have been written years ago? How can we have an article by an African-American Quaker, which is both personal and authentic yet not surprising?
I was in my last semester of grad school, sitting in a café, repressing a broken heart, and working on my thesis. After several hours of non-stop reading and writing, I started to feel a deep sense of despair. My head spun. My breath became heavier. I paused and took a step back from myself.
Dear Editor: Since I first went to sub-Saharan African in 1964, I have often had to respond to negative and derogatory comments about Black Africa. For example, I have twice complained to Quaker publications where, in the captions for pictures, they gave the names of the White Americans but not of the Black Africans in the same picture.
Dear Editor: From cover to cover, the September/October 2018 edition of Western Friend made plain the grievous suffering caused by racism. Our racism.
The “Editor’s Desk” listed seventeen countries with active armed conflicts this year. Every nation listed is made up of people of color who have been invaded, conquered, and colonized by white nation states.
In the five years I have lived in California, the deepest public worship experiences I have had, without a doubt, have been during my two visits to the Soledad Worship Group. This group is the “best-kept secret” in Pacific Yearly Meeting. There you find Friends with faith strong enough to humble you on the spot.