I was not in my church this past Sunday to share my broken heart over what happened in Charleston so I want to offer something now. I thought of something I wrote years ago in my first book. I opened the book and read my own words. I want offer them to you as a way of expressing what really can’t be expressed:
“Colored” read the sign above the fountain whose
water I had drunk.
Would I be sick from drinking “colored” water?
For I was a “white only”
though but a child.
I asked a big person,
but my mistaken drink was washed away with
So I waited to see if I would turn ill,
or perhaps “colored”
for no one would say.
There was only laughter at my childish question
and the strange word “nigger” tossed about
like a toy-
some strange enjoyment I did not understand.
Now I am a “big person” with no signs to read above
And my children wonder when I tell them the
colored water story,
For they do not understand how water could
make people sick
The signs may be gone that read “colored…and white only” but it seems the sickness lingers. O God, shower us with healing water. May your son touch our eyes and make us truly color blind.
All I know is that I want us all to work harder to make sure that the water we all drink does not make our souls sick. Let us recommit ourselves to work for justice for all people.