February Newsletter | Telling Our Story

Deaconess Community,

With intention, each February we celebrate and honor the rich and dynamic history of Black Americans. This history – the lived experiences of Black women, children, men, families, churches, and communities that have been cataloged in volumes lining library shelves, depicted in theaters on and off Broadway, illustrated in portraits and exhibits from coast to coast, and recounted from generation to generation in the privacy of homes across the globe – makes up the very soul of this country. It is our shared story, permanently imprinted in the soil of earth.

There are ongoing and renewed attempts to strip our stories, her stories, histories, their stories, any stories that truthfully recount Black American history in the United States. Across the country there are blatant efforts in state legislatures and local municipalities to erase Black American history from bookshelves and libraries and curricula and classrooms alike. The ultimate goal is to rewrite America’s racist past and absolve America of any responsibility for the harms inflicted on Black Americans – harms that are inextricably tied to the racial inequity and injustice that exists today.

This tactic is not novel.

Throughout history, marginalized populations have had their voices stifled. We have witnessed attempts to erase stories through revisionist history.

The power lies in our own storytelling. We mustn’t stop telling, penning, nor audio-recording our stories – the painful and the joyful.

Through brokenness, history’s survivors are validated when able to speak their truths and hold others accountable. The truth is not in the third party who did not live the experience but desires to dictate the narrative. Our tragedies need to be told and honored in our own words. Our joys need to be told and honored in our own words. Our full lives need to be told, documented, and honored unfiltered and unrevised.

Know that the effects of silencing our stories harm Black, brown and white communities, and we ALL pay financial, social and emotional costs.

In service to the will of the Spirit and the mission,

Bethany Johnson-Javois
President & CEO
Deaconess Foundation

To read the rest of our February newsletter click here.