Posted: July 30, 2008 in advocacy, authentically black, grace, missional, poverty, race relations

You may have noticed in the news today that the U.S. House of Representatives issued an unprecedented apology to black Americans for the wrongs committed against us and our ancestors  who were oppressed and enslaved under slavery and the Jim Crow. Interestingly, the resolution was introduced by Steve Cohen, the only white representative from a predominantly black congressional district.

I have to admit, I think the apology is long overdue, and the House was nicely able to side-step reparations while issuing the apology. To the U.S. House, I say: “Apology accepted!” But the apology should also look forward.

Just today a report entitled, “Left Behind! Black America: A Neglected Priority in the Global AIDS Epidemic,” chronicles the fact that while America rightfully provides AIDS  and HIV relief and education around the world, our efforts among blacks in the U.S. falls woefully short. For other countries, the U.S. mandates a national AIDS plan, while America has no such plan. If blacks in the U.S. were their own country, we would rank as the 16th nation in the world concerning the AIDS epidemic. Plus, AIDS is the leading cause of death among black women ages 35-44. I don’t want to say more than I mean, but I wonder if our response — or lack thereof — would be the same if it where another race of young women dying?

We must be honest, AIDS is a behavioral disease (something we can’t do much about). At the same time, though, it is a disease borne of ignorance and lack of both education and opportunity (something we can do something about). But as a person who wants to give his life for the sake of the lives of others. And as someone who desires to serve and forgive those who don’t deserve it as Jesus does, I think it might be within our grasp to care for people suffering people right here at home. And for the times we don’t, I apologize.

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