Lest We Forget: Transgenerational Perspectives
Rev. Tamara Kersey, Contributing Writer
But take care and watch yourselves closely, so as neither to forget the things that your eyes have seen nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children’s children— (Deuteronomy 4:9 NRSV).
Many of us have heard the buzz words or have seen the documentaries that remind us of the hyper-segregation and Jim Crow tactics that continue to plaque our nation, communities, and school systems: War on Drugs, School-to-Prison Pipeline, New Jim Crow, Mass Incarceration, Racial Profiling, and Voter Suppression. Zero-tolerance policies in our school systems will criminalize minor behavior issues or infractions instead of offering rehabilitative practices such as In-School suspension or disciplinary actions which allow the child to remain in school instead of sending them home to no supervision or educational instruction. There is something about these systemic tactics that have created within us the inability to recognize these devices in a way that compel us with compassion to embrace our millennial generation versus reject them.
There was a recent social media post that called the young people of a predominantly African-American community “thugs,” “criminals,” and the like, with no regard to the systems and tactics designed to keep us bound in Egypt (Ex 14).
The 2017 Founder’s Day for the Second Episcopal District was held in Greensboro, North Carolina. As I looked across the space that served as worship, there was a beautiful array of persons who showed up to worship and commemorate the founder of the AME Church; however, what was most noticeable was the lack of attendance by Generation X, Ys, and Millennial. An abundance of those in attendance were Baby Boomers.
Baby Boomers and Traditionalists have forged through discrimination, segregation, inequality, and strategies designed to keep them in second-class status. Their generation is well aware of the bonds of Egypt. In teaching, embracing, and nurturing the younger generation—the generation who wields Joshua’s bravery, courage, and even the strength needed to forge through their own Egypt situations—the AME Church is positioned to instill the fortitude needed to prevent a generation from forgetting their ancestor’s sacrifices as well as successes.
The Social Action Commission of Maxwell Chapel AME Church has developed Freedom TalXs. These series are being held to discuss tangible social actions our community can take to help us remember the former and future generations, our identity, our possibilities, and our strength as one people.
The Rev. Tamara O. Kersey is the pastor of Maxwell Chapel, AMEC, Graham, North Carolina.