Racial Stigma - Sadly, One I Haven't Thought Much About

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a conference in Birmingham, AL called "There IS a Balm in Gilead." It was to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing. 

Growing up in Birmingham, I have seen both sides of racial discrimination. It's still hard to believe how long segregation persisted in this southern city. I have met many black people who weren't able to get the job they wanted due to their race.

But on the flip side, my dad was also directly impacted by discrimination, being passed over for a big promotion in the Birmingham Fire Department by an unqualified black man.

A little over two years ago, I had the great privilege of interviewing Barbara Cross, one of the children of Reverend John Cross, the pastor of Sixteenth Street Baptist. She lived through the bombing and was able to forgive those who did it.

You can read the article I wrote on the Alabama Baptist newspaper's website at  https://thealabamabaptist.org/her-most-devastating-day-pointed-her-to-the-love-that-forgives/. 

When I found out about the conference, I thought of Barbara and wondered how she was doing. I was able to talk to her briefly which resulted in an update of the original article, found here: https://thealabamabaptist.org/60-years-later-pastors-daughter-recalls-16th-street-baptist-church-bombing/.

Due to some scheduling issues, I wasn't able to attend many sessions at the conference but what I learned resulted in a deep shame. 

Over the past few years, I have written about many stigmas related to many different groups - those with mental or physical health issues, those with religious biases, those with stereotypes concerning weight, as well as some others.

Not once did I write about racial stigmas and stereotypes. It's still hard to believe that it never occurred to me to write about one of the most impactful issues of our generation.

Anyway, I'm hoping to write about the other workshops I was able to attend at some point in the future, but I was able to write and submit an article featuring the main keynote who spoke at the last session at the conference - Dr. Tony Evans.

 It was published today. It's well worth the read - not because I wrote it and I'm amazing, but because he had some excellent points, some I had never thought about.

You can find it at https://thealabamabaptist.org/tony-evans-speaks-at-anniversary-event-there-is-a-balm-in-gilead/. 

Look for more posts from this conference in the weeks to come.


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