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A Note From Gail

Reflections on Black History Month

What we now know as Black History month began in 1926 as, “Negro History Week.”  Founded by Carter G. Woodson, the goal then and now is to recognize and celebrate the contributions African Americans have made to our country and reflect on the continued struggle for racial justice. African Americans have always been key contributors to our country, but unlike the contributions of others, African Americans were not recognized for their contributions. Even today, the struggle for racial justice and the acknowledgments of the contributions of African Americans still exist, which is why there is still a need to pause, reflect and celebrate the contributions of African Americans.

I pray for the day there will be no need for special days or months to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of African Americans. I pray for the day when all men and women will truly be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. I pray for the day when people of color will have an equal seat at the table and not feel the need to create their own table just to be heard. Because on that day I would have seen manifested what I have prayed for years, “God, let Your Kingdom come, let Your will be done, concerning racial justice, on earth as it is in heaven.”  Until then I pause and publicly celebrate those African Americans that have gone before me and paved the way so that I can sit in rooms and at tables that they only dreamt about. I celebrate those like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Park, and Fannie Lou Hamer that organized and marched so that I can enjoy freedoms that came as a birthright for others. I pay tribute to those like John Lewis who got in “necessary trouble” so I can now walk the halls and hold leadership positions in the highest office in the land, all because of their contributions.

Furthermore, I celebrate those African Americans who are currently making history and contributing to our country in great ways. Those like Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, a key scientist behind the COVID-19 vaccine, and Amanda Gorman, a poet whose work focuses on issues of oppression, feminism, race, and marginalization. It gives me hope that my grandchildren, Carter, Isaiah, and those yet unborn can one day accomplish things I never dreamt possible like those who went before me.  I have hope because God, is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).  I have hope because in Jesus Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, we are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28). My hope is not in what I see nor what I experience. My hope is in Jesus Christ alone!




Gail Burks-Stansell
Pastor of Teaching and Discipleship