Black History Month: A Call for Protest and Testimony

by Micky ScottBey Jones

canfield drive

A #protestimony on Canfield Drive in Ferguson, MO near the site where unarmed teenager Mike Brown was gunned down by police officer Darren Wilson. | photo by Micky ScottBey Jones

Every February, some celebrate with a remembrance of past #BlackBrilliance while others find inspiration through a #BlackFutureMonth look at current and upcoming leaders and innovators. I share in the frustration caused by a reduction of Black people's contributions to one measly month despite a rich and robust history that cannot and should not continue to be subjugated under the histories of others and the dominant narrative of white Western exceptionalism. At the same time, I am encouraged by the growing conversation around Black lives—past, present and future—being drawn in from the margins to the center of political, theological and social conversation. We continue to rise.

We at Evangelicals for Social Action have decided to observe Black History Month 2016 by calling for and engaging in #PROTESTIMONY—a combination of protest and testimony: a specific type of lament that protests the continued oppression of Black bodies and souls and denies the very humanity that one is called to affirm in the protest cries of #BlackLivesMatter, and a specific type of praise that bears witness to and affirms the stories of Black people who have too often been defined by the people and systems determined to keep all of us in the chains of a racialized white dominant society.

Yes, at times it seems there is too much to lament—too much inequity, pain and oppression after many years of struggle and action and prayer. We could be out in the street protesting every day—voices raised, spirits angry and raw, disrupting the system. How long, Lord? How long?

Yet, there is also much to praise in the success, resistance, and bravery of Black people. We have a testimony of resilience, joy, and we-will-win attitude despite brutal and calculated dismissal and exploitation. We continue to rise.

So come along with us on the Evangelicals for Social Action blog for interviews, articles, book reviews, and creative expressions of #PROTESTIMONY during the month of February. We also invite you to engage in your own forms of #PROTESTIMONY on Twitter, Facebook, and blogs—use the hashtag, send us a link, and join us in the protest and testimony, lament and praise, the complicated conversation of Black History Month in America 2016.

Bonus: Search the #BlackBrilliance and #BlackFutureMonth hashtags on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to see a variety of ways people are celebrating and critiquing Black History Month this year, and use #PROTESTIMONY when you share your Black History Month reflections as we journey together.

Micky ScottBey Jones is a "contemplivist" leader and organizer who hosts & facilitates conferences, trainings and online conversations, writes & speaks on a variety of topics including burnout, race & justice, theology from the margins, and curates contemplative spaces/activities. Recently named one of the Black Christian leaders changing the world in Huffington Post, Micky trains & encourages missional practitioners and faith-rooted activists with TransFORM Network and is an Associate Fellow for Racial Justice at ESA.

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